Living Life on the Edge of a Cliff

Ireland keeps one-upping itself.

Just when I think, “THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE PLACE EVER,” I go to another place, and I have to say the phrase again.

This weekend, I went to two of {seriously} my two new favorite places ever— Howth Cliffs and Cliffs of Moher. You could say that I was living life on the edge.

Thursday— Irish Sports

Before I get into the cliffs, I need to tell you about how we played Gaelic sports on Thursday morning. Instead of 2.5 hours of sitting in class, our contemporary Irish society class headed to the “pitches” for some traditional Irish sports (praaaaaise).

Sport #1: Gaelic football. I would describe this as a cross between soccer, American football, and rugby, played with a volleyball. I was pretty bad, but it was fun to try.

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Sport #2: Handball. The drills for this were a pain in the ass, but playing the actual game was fun! I liked this one the most. It’s basically squash without a racquet and with a softer, smaller ball.

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Sport #3: Hurling. Sounds horrendous already, doesn’t it? Well I played horrendously too. It’s like lacrosse + field hockey + baseball + do whatever the feck (← apparently an acceptable curse substitution here, even on daytime TV) you want. Just kidding, there are rules, but there are too many rules to remember for a rookie.

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I learned afterwards that our young instructor for the day was one of the best Irish sport athletes in the country, so… good. He saw me miss the ball about 10 times.

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that chin sweat.

Despite my skill deficiency, I had such a blast learning about the history of the sports and how to play them! Irish moves and grooves, I dig it 🙂

Friday— Howth

Howth is pronounced with a long ‘o’ sound. So like “oath” with an ‘h’ in front. Just FYI, because I wouldn’t have known.

My mom got back from her two-week tour around Ireland, and her sister was also in town! I met up with them on Friday morning for breakfast at Restaurant 104. I opted for a big, late breakfast including a goat cheese, spinach, and red pepper omelette. Then mom and I split a scone with butter, jam, and CREAM (← game changer).

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We had no plans for the day, but my aunt asked us, “Have you ever been to Howth?” I had not been, but Rachel told me I had to go, so Friday was the day! We took a fairly short rail ride out to the beautiful fishing village, and just did our tourist thing. Lots of looking around and photographing!

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The highlight of Howth is the cliff walk, so I took off on one of the paths while my mom and aunt stayed back at the beach. I wish they came along to see the beauty of the cliffs, but it was a blessing in disguise to do a solo hike.

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As I walked up the initial road, I saw some gorgeous properties along the coast. I told myself about 100 times during the whole cliff walk, “I want to live here.”

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wild blackberries!

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help, no one here to take photos with me

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I cannot explain how at peace and in awe I felt throughout the 1.5-hour walk around the cliffs. The wind was strong, the ocean was mystifying, and the solitude was rejuvenating. God exists, man.

On the walk down, I passed by some more cute houses and an abbey.

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I would have done the longer hike path, but I didn’t want to keep Madre and my aunt waiting too long. Plus, I was so parched. I ran out of water early on in my walk, so I needed hydration ASAP.

I met up with the ladies at Starbucks for some water and snacks, and then we popped into a lovely tea house for afternoon tea and cake. My aunt and I shared a pot of wonderful spearmint tea, and then we all shared a scrumptious slice of carrot cake.

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some of the best carrot cake we’ve ever tasted!! SO moist, and I’m not sorry for using that word.

Our eating schedule was weird with our late breakfast and dessert-lunch, so we ate dinner about an hour later at a restaurant called Deep. All the seafood restaurants looked fantastic, since we were in a fishing village after all.

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literally right from the boat to the market to the restaurant

We share calamari to start, and then I ate a decadent “open fish pie” for my entree.

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It looks like it’s just mashed potatoes in a dish, but there was so much fish underneath! Cod, salmon, and some others that I could not identify. Comfort food at best. Mom also shared a big piece of her fish + chips with me. The crust was perfect!

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My meal also came with a dessert (“my preciousss”), so I ordered the apple crumble. It was hot and the perfect sweet ending to a pretty sweet day.

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Thank you so much, Madre and Auntie Xay for an incredible day in Howth! And happy birthday to Auntie Xay as well 🙂

Saturday— Dublin

I had some work to do, so I laid low with Madre in my dorm room. She basically filmed a documentary of my life to show Pop, which I thought was hilarious. I did some homework, laundry, and a nice dorm workout in the morning/early afternoon. For my workout, I did a slowish 12 minute workout, followed by the first day workout in the free CodyApp KaisaFit challenge! I ♥︎ Kaisa.

After a shower and finishing up laundry (mom spoiled me and folded it all for me while I worked!), we walked to a late lunch at the Lovely Food Co.

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I ordered the superfood salad for some veggie power in my life. It was everything I could have wanted and more. I think it had roasted veggies, broccoli, seeds, homemade croutons, and halloumi cheese, among other things.

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Mom had the smoked salmon and crab sandwich per my recommendation. She shared a quarter of it with me + some of her tomato soup.

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And since Lovely Food Co. has some of the best desserts, we had to order one to share. She chose the spiced pear cake, which was another score. Moist, perfectly spiced, and just sweet enough.

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We went grocery shopping for my week ahead, and then an hour or two later, we walked to Mass with my friends Megan and Cristen. Then it was already dinner time at Dall’Italiano! My aunt also met up with us after her day of touring Dublin city centre.

We all craved pasta, and we left satisfied.

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I got the fettuccine with beef fillet, onions, and mushrooms in a red wine sauce. Molto bene! I have 1/3 of it in my fridge for leftovers 🙂

Then it was time to say farewell to my mother for three months (and my aunt for even longer probably!). So sad, but it was great to spend so much time with her in my first month in Ireland! She had a lot of fun on her tour too.

That night I FaceTimed with two of my favorite people too— Rachel and Joe! I’m not that homesick, but I do miss my friends dearly.

Sunday— Cliffs of Moher

FaceTiming Rachel until late at night made the 5:50 wakeup call a little rough. But a nice 45 minute walk to the bus stop was enough to wake me up! Plus overnight oats.

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ugliest breakfast ever, but one of the most delicious

Megan, Cristen and I took a Paddywagon Tour, which was informative, entertaining, and eventful. One person needed to pee really badly (not me this time! although I very much empathized with her), one person got bus sick on the side of the road, a couple people almost got left behind, and the tour guide was great but also passive aggressive.

I’d recommend the tour though!

We brought our lunches, which we ate at 10:30am on the bus due to our early breakfast.

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red pesto, cheddar, hummus, basil, and rocket sandwich (threw whatever I had in the fridge into this thing and it was so tasty!!)

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Our first stop was a revisit of Dunguaire Castle, where Megan and I experienced a medieval banquet last weekend. It was just a quick photo stop this time, but it was extra pretty with this cool cloud effect going on.

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Our second major pit stop was the Burrens and the Mini Cliffs. The views were stellar even there.

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The wind was straight-up concerning though. Cristen is a very petite lady, and we all agreed that she should not come close to the edges of the mini cliffs, because there was a legitimate possibility of her blowing off.

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can you see what I mean?

Our bus driver then rushed us over to lunch in Doolin, where we all had dessert, since we had already eaten our lunches. I bought this huge slice of sweet and rich berry bakewell gateaux.

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holy moly way too much sugar for one person

Then it was time for the CLIFFS. OF. MOHER.

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They really are as phenomenal as people say they are. It was too magnificent to be true, especially since we lucked out with the weather!

So Rachel came to the Cliffs over the summer and took a jumping photo with them, so I obviously had to take one as well. Take one: too narrow of a pathway and way too windy for comfort.

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Megan: “Alison I don’t think you should jump.”

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Me: “Yeah you’re right. Safety first.”

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Compromise.

But then later, we found a less windy and broader spot for the photo.

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Then Rachel posted this photo to her social media:

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mirror image, I say 😉

It was a nice steep climb to the highest point of the cliffs, but man was it worth going up there [twice].

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Megan: “Gets to the peak. Drops on knees in prayer.”

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As always, photos can never do these kinds of places justice. If you ever get the opportunity to go to Ireland, go experience the Cliffs of Moher for yourself.

We stopped by Bunratty Castle before our 2.5-hour trip back to Dublin.

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Manmade things are just “meh” now and forevermore.

I wanted all the movement and all the veggies and protein for dinner at around 9pm. Before I ate, I did a quick 10 minute HIIT in my room to get the blood flowing and to spend some extra pent-up energy.

I finished up my big bag of rocket (arugula) with a can of salmon + hummus, tomatoes, and some unpictured carrots.

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I ended the night with blogging and FaceTiming two more friends from Boston— PJ and Louis. YAY!

Monday— WorkWorkWorkWorkWorkWork

So many things to do now, so little time!!

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But this weekend was more than worth it.

Hope you all have a marvelous week!! Go outside and feel the wind in your hair if ya can.

So tell me:

Have you ever played a foreign sport before?

Have you ever taken a solo hike?

Have you ever been to the Cliffs of Moher?

What is the most beautiful natural phenomenon you’ve ever witnessed?

Two things you did this weekend!

Beauty.

I think it’s that time of year when I need to start carrying around an emergency frisbee, because hallelujah, the weather is gorgeous.

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Seriously— God is SO good! We are in the season of Easter and finally the season of beautiful spring weather! I’ve literally been bouncing around like a spring lamb because I’m so freaking happy that the sun is out and warm.

I am currently typing this outside in shorts and a T-shirt, overlooking the Charles River. Although, I should probably leave soon because I haven’t gotten used to putting on sunscreen yet. #sunscreensafetyfirst

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promise I’m not trying to be inspirational with the chapter title

Besides the beauty of the sunshine and warmth, I have encountered a heck of a lot of beauty these past few days. Some not-as-serious things to start…

Dancing.

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{courtesy of my girl Alejandra<— must say it with flare or else you’re not saying it right}

Here you see my friends and I off to a funk dance party, hence Albert’s fro. If a funk dance party doesn’t scream MOVES AND GROOVESI have no idea what does. Some of my moves and grooves may not have been beautiful, but dancing with some of my favorite people under disco lights on a Friday night was definitely beautiful in my opinion.

Seeing my brother and dad.

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My dad came up for my brother’s induction into a civil engineering honor society on Sunday, so we got to spend the morning together at the ceremony, Mass, and lunch! Much love to these men in my life.

Eating with friends.

Rachel and I adore our frozen bananas.

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I also adore this Teddie peanut butter ($3.99 at Whole Foods!!), which is evidenced by the fact that only half the jar is left. I bought it on Friday. Judge me, I’m used to it.

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Also (I wish I took a picture of it), when I was having dinner with my friends Albert, PJ, and Rachel in the dining hall, they asked me to “make a salad for the table.” IN THE DINING HALL. So I filled a bowl to the brim with veggies, got chicken from another station, cut up the chicken, shook everything together with the two-bowl method, and voila— a salad for the table. I should get minimum wage.

Morning outdoor workouts.

So many people are out movin’ and groovin’, which makes me elated! Jesus has risen from the grave and humans have risen from hibernation.

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Inspiring women who show me what beauty is.

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{courtesy of Sarah!}

The women of the Catholic Center met for a group talk about body image and the media on Sunday night (as we chowed down on pizza and cookies, heck yeah). Having struggled with negative body image and disordered eating myself, this group talk really struck a chord in me.

Some major takeaways from the evening about beauty:

  • In order to instill the fact in our society that truly everyone is beautiful, we need community, support, and solidarity.
  • Our words about our own bodies can have such a large impact on how others perceive their own bodies as well.
  • It often takes more humility to accept a compliment (just saying “thank you”) than to turn the compliment against yourself (“oh, but look at how bad my arms look”).
  • You are beautiful in the fact that you are a living, breathing human being. (<— Distinctly remember my friend Christina saying this!)

Beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is what you are and that is fact. End o’ story.

Go on and have a beautiful Tuesday. Put on your sunscreen and make sure you have an emergency frisbee.

So tell me:

Two beautiful things about your weekend.

Favorite thing to do outside when the weather is nice?

How many days will it take me to finish that jar of peanut butter?

Simple Phrases That Make All the Difference

Greetings from New York!

I had to refrain from making that greeting ALL CAPS because I’m beyond excited right now! As soon as my eyes fluttered open this morning, I noticed that:

a) I wasn’t in my dorm and I felt a little discombobulated.

b) I smelled something delicious cooking (Madre at work ♥ )

c) It’s snowing!!!

I ran downstairs like an excited 5-year-old on Christmas to say good morning to my mom. I am now watching The Price is Right while eating overnight oats. The finer things in life.

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It looks like there is a blizzard outside, but that’s only because I had to lighten this picture, like, 10 times.

We arrived home from Boston via car at around 1:30 AM this morning (hence me sleeping in and this post going up super late). The Thanksgiving traffic coming out of Boston added a hefty two hours to our commute, so we were drained and ready for bed by the time we got home.

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But being me, I was hungry and I wanted a snack, so I reached for something I had missed dearly

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Almond butter!

And then I made sure to prepare the overnight oats that I am currently eating because it has been way too long since I had my fave. I was literally quasi-yelling, “Oh my gosh YAAAAASSS,” while  was making them. Thankful to be home indeed.

Simple Phrases That Make All the Difference

Speaking of being thankful, tomorrow is the day for such thankfulness for us Americans, huh? I was reflecting on how I wanted to bring together my thoughts of thanksgiving in a blog post, but I was stuck for a while because I didn’t really want to start the inexhaustible list of things for which I am grateful.

Instead, I noticed that one thing I’ve been hearing and saying more often than ever recently is, “You’re beautiful,” or, “You’re awesome,” or, “You’re wonderful.”

Many times I’ll be passing by a friend on the sidewalk and saying hello with a warm hug, and then we would exchange at least one of these simple phrases. They don’t deserve a prize for unique compliment of the year by any means, but when you think about what beautiful, awesome, and wonderful mean, you can’t help but smile.

via my friend Rachel’s Instagram

If I want to be sappy and honest, hearing and saying these words so often has made me more thankful for the companionships in my life. I get that some people might say, “You’re awesome,” as a quick, colloquial compliment when you don’t know what else to say, and maybe that’s the case for other people and I’m just being a mushy blob of feels right now. But my friends at Boston University definitely give me a sense of genuineness every time they say one of those phrases. I certainly mean it if I say them to you!

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Breakfast date with my freshmen friends. That would be a wheat waffle with pb, banana, and honey. Mhmm.

Words are powerful. I guess that’s why I like to blog (even though my words are a bunch of crazy foodie talk half the time). We can throw words out there without thinking about what we are actually saying, or we can use our gift of language and communication to tell others how much we love them. We do both of these things at the appropriate times (hopefully), but when it comes to the latter, there is something so special about a simple, friendly phrase.

When I hear or say, “You’re beautiful,” I don’t think about aesthetic beauty (although, I have some good-lookin’ friends, don’t get me wrong). I think of how beautiful their spirits are— how they are humble, faithful, and charitable.

When I hear or say, “You’re awesome,” I think about how strong and resilient people are. Everyone has their trials that we may or may not be able to see, but people still have the ability to smile, do well, and help others.

When I hear or say, “You’re wonderful,” I think about how we are all children of God. That’s wonderful enough in and of itself.

So I tell you now in this season of Thanksgiving: You’re beautiful. You’re awesome. You’re wonderful.

And lastly, thank you.

I hope you all have a joyous, safe, and blessed Thanksgiving!

So tell me:

What is one simple phrase that resonates with you?

What are you doing today?

Half of my day is gone thanks to sleeping in, but I’m planning on going to the nail salon, doing some homework (ew, I know), and maybe seeing friends!

 

Do’s and Don’ts of Traveling to Florida

On traveling to Florida and spending our first day here:

Do make overnight oats when you have to leave the house at 5 AM.

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Don’t go to sleep at 12:30 the night before.

I was still somehow awake enough to drive 3+ hours to the AutoTrain station in Virginia.

Do grab lunch at the Eden Vietnamese Center before boarding the train.

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We went to a restaurant called Rice Paper!

Do endure the on-and-off service of the train to watch the World Cup final.

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So sad Argentina lost.

Don’t be picky with your food on the AutoTrain.

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It’s still a thousand times better than airplane food.

Do take mirror selfies in the bathroom “lounge.”

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Because it’s called a bathroom “lounge”….

Do (or maybe don’t) have one of the overly oily and sweet corn muffins for breakfast.

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So bad, but so very good.

Don’t wear a heavy duty cotton t-shirt when going to Florida in the summer.

I felt like I was in a thermos when I arrived.

Do go to Tijuana Flats if you’re in the South.

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If that doesn’t catch your attention, I don’t know what will.

Don’t forget to pack enough underwear. Three pairs for three weeks isn’t enough.

Yep, that would be me.

Do make a trip to Publix.

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You know how I feel about supermarkets.

Don’t waste a tissue to pick up dead bugs when you can use a receipt.

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EW. Thanks, Daliza for taking care of that little bugger.

Do practice yoga outside with your best friend.

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Don’t practice yoga outside while there’s a thunderstorm and there are birds checkin’ you out.

We did that anyway.

Do take pictures of the sky when it’s YELLOW.

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God’s painting.

Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes on our travels! We’ve had a blast so far as you might be able to tell 🙂 Can’t wait to share the rest of our adventures with you!

Hope you all have a beautiful day!

So tell me:

What do you eat for breakfast on the go?

Do you like supermarkets as much as I do?

When was the last time you saw a beautiful sunset?