Soaking Up the Slumber

I have goosebumps.

It’s been a little bit chilly here in Boston this week! But man, is it lovely. We have been blessed with sunshine and ~perfect~ temperatures.

Classes start again in just 4 days, so I have given myself guilt-free permission to soak up as much slumber and relaxation as I can before all hell breaks loose (← drama queen).

For example, on Monday I set my alarm for 8 am, but I closed my eyes for two seconds… and the next thing I know, it’s 10 am. LOL. It’s still been a productive week of getting some errands done, catching up with friends, praying, and (yes) even a little bit of studying to prepare for classes.

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Here are some random thoughts and things from the noggin on this Friday:

1) What is your all-time favorite fudgy brownie recipe? I made some for my friends and myself last weekend using this recipe from I Am Baker, and they were delicious, but I’m open to recommendations!

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2) The Super Premium French Vanilla ice cream from Trader Joe’s is RIDICULOUS. It is the most luxuriously creamy and dreamy ice cream I have ever purchased from a store.

3) Shoutout to my friend Evan for poaching eggs for avocado toast. We ran into each other at Mass on Sunday and decided to catch up over lunch. I offered to make us avocado toast instead of going out to eat (yo girl has been spending so much $$ recently), and we both appreciated the decision.

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I think making avocado toast is my love language to all my friends.

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more egg toasts this week (one with cheese, garlic salt, red pepper flakes and cumin + one classic avocado with sriracha)

4) I had some random determination to make a vegetarian meal for this week’s dinners, so I made this chickpea and spinach curry. The full-fat coconut milk in it warms my heart and clogs my heart all at the same time, and I love it. This was also my first time using garam masala! It only took me TWENTY MINUTES to find it at the grocery store.

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5) The BEST thing I made this week was peach blueberry cobbler — a summer necessity in my book! I doubled this recipe and obviously added blueberries.

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buttery biscuit goodness enveloping saucy sweet fruit YES

Undoubtedly had to eat it a la mode (hot out of the oven, might I add). More of that dreamy vanilla ice cream from TJs.

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I got to share it with many friends the day I made it, which made me very happy.

6) I ate out for three meals in a row, and although I felt a little “blah” from all the heavy food, it was so worth the company and conversation. The food was also fabulous.

Meal #1 was at Audubon with my dear friend Casey. We hadn’t caught up one-on-one in so long, so this was much needed.

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love this girl so much

We shared the polpette (meatballs that they made with venison and beef) with asiago, tomato sauce and the most delicious charred hunk o’ bread.

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And then I had the roasted vegetable salad, which had delicious things like sweet potatoes, beets, fennel (did not realize how much I liked fennel ’til that night!), brussels sprouts, fennel, arugula, and pine nuts. Look how pretty this stack is!

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It does’t look like much in this photo, but there were SO MANY vegetables in there. I had to take some home.

Meal #2 and #3 do not have photo documentation because I didn’t feel like whipping out my phone in the middle of conversation. Yesterday afternoon, Fr. Barnes (our Catholic Center chaplain) kindly treated me to a burger and a beer at the Sunset Grill and Tap as a belated birthday gift to me. Both the burger and the beer (I got the Great Divide “Roadie” Grapefruit Radler) were superb.

Late at night, my friend Elayne and her parents generously treated me to dinner at Barcelona Wine and Tapas, since I helped Elayne move earlier in the day. We shared four bomb tapas + seafood paella + crepes and ice cream. Oh my goodness.

Full of many good things indeed.

7) I am convinced that my current training goals include move-in and move-out. I work out so that I can move furniture and boxes up and down stairs efficiently and safely. #FunctionalFitness.

8) This burpee box jump workout is killer if you ever need something to get the heart rate up. I subbed 12 heavy over-the-shoulder slam ball throws for the wall balls. Your soleus might be extremely sore the next day, to the point of wanting to strangle a small animal when foam rolling them.

This is also a short and sweet 16- minute workout that will make your butt sore for days.

4 rounds, 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off:

  • goblet squats (35# KB)
  • dive bomber pushups
  • box jumps (25 in)
  • side jump lunges
  • pushup burpees
  • KB swings (35#)

9) I just enjoyed a very green smoothie, because my veggie intake yesterday included lettuce on my burger and a couple mushrooms smothered in goat cheese. And many many potatoes.

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10) I hope my American/Canadian friends have wonderful Labor/Labour Day weekends! And good luck to all my fellow college students starting the new semester. If you’re anxious…

Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your lifespan? If even the smallest things are out of your control, why are you anxious about the rest? – Luke 12:25

These words have been giving me a lot of peace amidst the worry of a very busy semester ahead.

BYE FOR NOW!

So tell me:

What is a classic summer dessert that you love to eat/make every year?

What is your favorite store-bought brand of ice cream?

Favorite brownie recipe?

What are you doing this weekend?

College students: How does the schedule look like this semester? Mine makes me a little nauseous looking at it, but we shall overcome!!

 

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There’s Something About…

There’s something about carrying three backpacks to campus that reminds me of front-packing in Italy.

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There’s something about carrying a large box of vegetables around all day that makes others stare a bit.

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My friend Lauren orders a box of produce from Ward’s Berry Farms every week, but she very generously gave me hers last week since she was out of town! This thing had SO MUCH PRODUCE. The only thing was that I had to pick it up in the afternoon, carry it to class, to a fitness class, to Trader Joe’s, and on the bus. Talk about functional fitness.

There’s something about taking a fitness class with fellow healthy living/fitness social media influencers that makes me feel empowered and humbled at the same time.

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Last Thursday, Colby invited me to take a “Firestarter” HIIT class taught by her friend, Sam (@wellbysamantha), at Equinox (holy LUXURY gym!) in the financial district. It was a quick, sweaty and super fun class!

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My dear friend Christina (@foodietunes) was also present and kicking butt!

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There’s something about pizza (even if it’s just a frozen one from Trader Joe’s) on a Friday night.

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There’s something about finding a beer you enjoy.

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There’s something about said beer that makes me slightly loopy (not the primary reason I enjoyed it, just a side effect).

There’s something about caring friends who give me bread rolls to eat when seeing me loopy.

There’s something about the Game of Things that makes my friends and me cry of laughter every time.

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There’s something about people who say thank you when you hold the door open for them that makes your day just *that* much better.

There’s something about eating a smoothie out of a bowl that makes it 10x more satisfying than drinking it from a glass through a straw.

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There’s something about getting random texts from your friends about little things like tacos (@Sarah) that makes me so grateful for friendship (and technology).

There’s something about boxing that is addicting. I don’t think I’ve loved a form of training so much so quickly!!

There’s something about vegan ice cream that seems wrong to me, but it is still very so delicious.

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Confession: I bought this for Colby on the fourth of July since she eats dairy-free, but she left before dessert, so I took it for myself.

There’s something about the Vermonster from Ben & Jerry’s on National Ice Cream Day that feels so right (slightly gross, but overall so right).

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Alright, so the Vermonster. Twenty (yep) scoops of ice cream, four toppings, four whole bananas, caramel, fudge, four cookies, a brownie, and a mountain of whipped cream. In a bucket.

It took six of us (although we definitely could have used 8-10 people) plus a lot of rallying from Ben to finish it.

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We got five flavors (four scoops of each), but they all muddled together anyway. It was a delicious mess.

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Gluttony? Yep. Good for your health? Depends on how you look at it. Happiness? Yep. Doing it again? Probably never.

This summer is bringing a lot of ice cream into my body.

There’s something about great friends who are great study buddies that makes school fun.

There’s something about listening to old songs I forgot I loved (Natasha Bedingfield’s “These Words” and “Love Like This“) that makes me smile.

There’s something (infinite things) about how God works that is mysterious, not always what I want at the moment, yet always more beautiful than I could imagine.

So tell me:

“There’s something about…”

Have you recently rediscovered any old songs you loved?

Did you celebrate National Ice Cream Day?

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? 

Let Me Brag About My Friends Again

I’m currently sitting outside on this last day of spring break, and I’m feeling all kinds of emotions.

Sad that spring break is over, overjoyed that the weather has been beautiful, grateful for amazing friends, anxious for the second half of the semester, and excited for what’s to come.

But can I brag about these people in my life who I call my friends (I think they call me their friend too, but who really knows)? These last few days of spring break have been wonderful in every way, but mostly in how down-to-earth, fun, and faithful my friends are. I’ve said this so many times before, but they constantly inspire me to be better and grow closer to God.

Friday

Friday started with some homework, maybe? I don’t remember. Regardless, the important part of the day was Mass and lunch with my friend Katie!

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perfect weather

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We chatted about the very depths of our souls over some bomb salads from Sweetgreen. I forgot to take picture with her, so my type-A-blogger self is sad.

The rest of the day involved Kan-Jam, a trip to the gym (too many heavy squats ➔ sore for DAYS), homework, and early bedtime.

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Saturday

I worked from 10-3 before playing outside in the perfect weather (again). I also stopped by Whole Foods to buy a box of salad greens, Fage Greek yogurt (that was on sale!), fresh strawberries (also on sale) and Nature’s Path mixed berry buckwheat freezer waffles (also on sale #collegebudget). Those four things were my sustenance for the weekend.

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crumbs everywhere on my bed

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Yogurt, nut butter, waffles, berries, and leaves— nothing out of the ordinary for me anyway.

Saturday night brought some fun festivities! My friends and I went out for drinks…

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…and I was the only one in our group under 21, which explains my Shirley Temple pictured above.

*waitress taking orders*

Friend 1: Guinness, please.

Friend 2: I’ll also have a Guinness.

Friend 3: Guinness.

Friend 4: Guinness for me too.

Me: …Can I get a Shirley Temple?

Honestly, that’ll probably be me when I’m 21 anyway.

Nevertheless, ’twas a grand ol’ night, complete with live Irish music and dancing. I’m grateful for my older friends who let me have fun with them despite me being an infant.

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They went to another bar at 11, at which time I actually needed to go home. #NoFakeID

Sunday

That one hour loss, guys. IT GOT ME.

Nothing a good breakfast can’t fix though!

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Better yet— Mass with friends… and more perfect weather!

After Mass, I knew that I had to move and groove outside. It seemed like all of Boston was saying hello to the blue skies!

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I ran into more friends, who were willing to put up with my selfie shenanigans in the middle of their workout.

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We all burpee’d a lot.

Lunch was the rest of my salad greens, Snap Pea Crisps, and an almond butter Perfect Bar.

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I was planning on doing some more studying, but I didn’t need to do any work… So I went back outside 😀

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As soon as I whipped out my phone, this squirrel that was stuffing its face stared me down and looked like it was about to kill me.

More frisbee!

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It was also my friend Lauren’s birthday!!!

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four-eyed friends ♥︎ 

The dining halls opened last night (praaaaaise), so a few of us chowed down.

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Then I joined my saintly friends for Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen for a little while before coming back to do some work attempt to do work while waiting for RACHEL TO COME HOME!

She was on a mission trip in Guyana for spring break, so I had not talked to her/seen her/contacted her/known every detail of her life for what seemed like FOREVER. She shared her experiences from the mission trip, and I almost cried. God worked through her in such profound and incredible ways.

She also saw a lot of stars 🙂

Back to the grind today. Sophomore year will come to a close in just six weeks, help.

Hope you all have a kick-butt week! I’m going to need a couple kicks in the butt just to get out of bed.

So tell me:

Something you loved about this weekend.

Something you love about your friends.

Have you ever been “that” person under 21?

Have you ever been on a service or mission trip?