Camping “Lite” + Life Lately

I have a first degree burn on my upper lip from a blazing hot marshmallow.

On a separate occasion, my friend Zoe flung a blue-flaming marshmallow onto my lap. It’s been an exciting week!!

This weekend, some of my friends and I headed to the lovely state of New Hampshire to camp at Bear Brook State Park. I’m going to call it camping lite, because there were pretty nice bathrooms, and we ran to the grocery store once to pick up bagels and beer LOL. However, we still started our own campfires, cooked on the campfires, slept in tents/hammocks, hiked a bit, swam in lakes, and I didn’t shower for three days despite the campsite having bath houses (*shrugs*). Hygiene seemed very optional in our group on this particular weekend.

temp-for-output-1-5

Truly though, this was the most magnificent weekend. I had been wanting to go camping for ages (mostly for the goal of seeing stars, which we did two nights in a row!). We could not have survived without our friend Domenica who came through with literally ALL the camping equipment, as well everyone besides me who knew how to start a campfire.

We cooked burgers, brats, toasted bagels, and s’mores on the campfire throughout the weekend, and let me t e l l you: nothing tastes better in the world than food that you really work for (and that has natural smoke flavor, mm, and maybe some crunchy gravel #texture). I still smell my smoky hair (I promise I’ve showered multiple times since the trip), and all I think of is our kumbaya circle around the fire and how time just seemed to slow down twofold out there.

Other highlights included:

  • A three hour trail walk that had some nice hills. Zoe and Connor were brave enough to be the first to eat wild blueberries on the way, and thank the Lord, because those li’l bloobs were life-changing. Special thanks to Rachel and Austin for navigating the confusing trail map. The only bummer was that the summit of the hike was view-less and infested with ants. Like, we got up there, stayed for 0.5 seconds, and immediately ran back downhill while slapping biting ants off our ankles.
  • Saying a rosary with all my friends while walking on the trail.
  • Deep chats and fireside stories. (Almost didn’t add this because it sounds so freaking cheesy.)
  • Waking up to tall pine trees and blue skies that we could see through Dom’s open-top tent.
  • Waking up to Dom’s alarm, a rap song called “Stomp the Bleachers.”

temp-for-output-1-7.jpg

  • Swimming in lakes. And finding out that it is VERY normal for people to pee in lakes and oceans? I knew that people did it, but I did not know that it was so widely ACCEPTED. Also that pee is sterile?? My whole world has turned upside down.
  • Treading water and swimming (leisurely) for the first time in ages. Not a modality that I am used to; it felt like more of a workout than it should have.
  • Visiting Domenica’s family and seeing their farm full of chickens, bees, and a pig. Her parents very generously hosted us for lunch and dinner on Sunday, which was fantastic all around. We are so grateful!
  • Domenica’s family. I just love them.
  • Going to Mass on Sunday with the crew.
  • A water station right next to our campsite, so that this water chugger never went thirsty.
  • The sky full of stars each night. Makes my heart flutter.

It was also gloriously cool in the evenings, which was a welcomed change from the sweaty nights we’ve been having in our hot box apartment in Boston. It was pretty brutal last week.

temp-for-output-2

peep Zoe top left with an ice pop and box fan

Fourth of July was a blast! A bunch of friends came over to our apartment for lots of noshing and a little drinking throughout the day, complete with a visit to the park, JP Licks ice cream, and fireworks over the Charles River at night.

temp-for-output-1-6

Oh I just reminded myself that I want to see how the World Cup is going. I am only really into it by diffusion from friends’ enthusiasm. Top left photo shows Sarah, Zoe and I watching the Colombia v. Poland game a while ago at a bar.

Rachel and I also went on a grand food bucket list date a couple weeks ago. We started with a DECADENT brunch at North Street Grille early in the morning (tiny place — long line forms fast) for lobster benedict (the bucket list item) and chicken and waffle sliders. All with a heck of a lot of home fries. Ho.ly.mo.ly. Not gonna lie, we thought the chicken and waffle slider was the winner over the lobster benedict, but it was all phenomenal anyway. We bought but did not eat (not enough stomach space) a bar of Taza chocolate, and then we slooooowly sipped iced hot chocolate from L.A. Burdick and gave the last of it to Sarah to finish later.

Besides my vacationing, I’ve been volunteering at the Little Sisters of the Poor, which is basically a skilled nursing facility/nursing home/hospice for elderly folks from very low income backgrounds. It’s been a wonderful time. I am learning a lot about joy, patience, and being very present with the person right in front of you.

I’ve also been walking a lot because it’s 3 miles each way to Little Sisters of the Poor.

temp-for-output-3

And here’s a random photo of one of the most soul-nourishing sunsets that I watched from campus last week. Lots of growth happening here.

Next Monday starts six weeks of PT clinical!

So tell me:

Have you ever gone camping?

What is your favorite part of camping?

Do you pee in lakes (be honest, no judgement; I have done it)?

What are some highlights of your summer so far?

 

Advertisements

Today.

This blog post is not even about today, LOL.

In its purest cliché description, this post is about living in the moment. The theme stems from the plethora of changes — mental, intellectual, spiritual, physical (← idk, maybe less so), emotional — I’ve experienced in these past few months.

I’m the kind of person who takes her sweet time (I’m the most inefficient person I know) to try to do things “right,” whatever that means.

I face normal, everyday questions:

Should I study by myself or with classmates? 

Do I take the train or Uber or walk?

What should I pack for dinner? Should I buy dinner instead? 

Should I listen to Tori Kelly or Young the Giant in the 4 minutes I have before I arrive at my destination?

And then there are some bigger questions:

Why has God placed this person/friendship/relationship in my life?

What are my professional goals?

Where will I be a year from now?

What path do I need to take in order to best serve God for the rest of my life?

What is the right thing to do so that everyone is happy in the long run?

It is these latter questions that wrack my brain 5/7 days a week, because I don’t have a single dang clue what the answers are. I have a hard enough time coming to a decent answer for the everyday questions; the big questions just sort of debilitate me.

Of course, I’m sure nearly everyone feels the same way that I do about big questions regarding the future. How can anyone be sure about the future? But somehow I still forget that the only thing I can do is love and serve God today. Our words and actions today do indeed have ramifications for the future, but your mind, body and spirit can’t be anywhere but here today. For our lives are made up of days.

SO TODAY IS GOOD AND IMPORTANT AND CANNOT BE AVOIDED SO LIVE IT, DANG IT.

That yelling was mostly for myself. A self pep talk you could say. I didn’t mean to yell at you.

All that said, here are some moments with my family that I tried to live fully in the moments they were happening.

Image-1-2

Ben and I took our parents out to Hemingway’s for dinner as a Christmas present, since the best gift we can really give to each other at this point in our lives is quality time and food. I got {absurdly expensive} crab cakes, which were delightful with the coconut grits underneath and perfectly cooked asparagus on top.

The rosemary sourdough rolls at the start were also fantastic, but they were no cheese biscuits (the complimentary bread that was served when we first went to the restaurant three years ago). RIP cheese biscuits. I will dream about thee forever.

We all split calamari as an appetizer and key lime pie for dessert as well. Both hit all the right spots.

IMG_1199

I’ve been peddle boating with Madre! There have been alligator sightings in the lake in the past, so I’m always a little on edge about that, but thus far we have not been eaten.

Image-1

On Wednesday morning, Madre, Ben and I (Pop was working from home — man of the year) went to Keke’s Breakfast Cafe for…breakfast, naturally. It’s apparently extremely popular, so we worked up an appetite and waited approximately 25 minutes for a table. ‘Twas worth it though because just LOOK at the food.

Ben got the apple cinnamon stuffed French toast with home fries and sausage; Mom got regular French toast with eggs and sausage; and I got the largest blueberry pancake in the world with eggs and {bomb} bacon.

^^^True story. I ordered two pancakes at first, but then the waiter asked, “Are you sure?? Have you seen the size of our pancakes? If I eat two then I pass out.”

In my head at first I thought, “You don’t even know me.” But then I was like #humility and #dontbegreedy, so I ordered one pancake instead. Good thing, because the pancake was like a literal 9-inch cake in height and diameter, guys. I had to take 1/3 of it home. I NEVER LEAVE PANCAKES BEHIND USUALLY.

But it was a large, high-quality pancake. So fluffy and buttery. High recommend. Butter and Aunt Jemima required.

IMG_1207

^^^Random: Saw this at Publix. This is bad. I hate this headline, and I don’t hate many things. If you lose 10 lbs in 48 hours, something is WRONG.

IMG_E1169

To end on a positive note though, God is good all the time.

And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I

— “So Will I” by Hillsong United

(if you wanna hear something beautiful today, listen to ^^this song, especially the Tori Kelly version)

Enjoy today 🙂

So tell me:

Thoughts about living today.

Waffles, French toast, or pancakes?

What is something ridiculous you’ve seen recently?

 

I Have a Dream + Lately

I posted this yesterday morning, but for some reason, some readers only saw half the post while others saw the whole post. So I took it down and here I am re-posting it!


This post is not about Martin Luther King, Jr.

(Although he is obviously a character to be revered and happens to be a Boston University alumnus #holla. And may we also remember his courage especially during this time of the events in Charlottesville and Burkina Faso. Let us pray for the souls lost, those who are injured, all those affected and those who have hurt others.)

This post is about a dream that I have that was prompted by a bowl of ramen. Allow me to explain.

Last Saturday, I went to a quasi-famous little ramen place called Yume Wo Katare with my friend Justin, and the experience was fantastic, in the truest sense of the word. There was a line of people waiting outside before it opened for dinner, and we got to see the staff’s pre-opening ritual (perhaps?), which involved shouting things in a circle, jumping up and down and getting FIRED UP.

So they bring you into their little shack of a restaurant, which is made up of an open kitchen and three rows of 6 seats each, all facing the chefs. Our host gave us a rundown of what the restaurant is all about — good food (ramen) and good people who share their dreams and support others’ dreams.

The bowl of ramen is symbolic of your dream (could be a short term or long term dream). Eating the bowl of ramen is symbolic of you achieving your dream. Why? Because there will be people, doubts and circumstances that will try to get in the way of your dream, but you have to just push through the obstacles to achieve your dream.

peep the fatty broth, the fat rim on the pork, and the FAT SPRINKLE ON TOP WHAT THE FRICK

The bowl of ramen is similar in that the fattiness and saltiness of this epic bowl of ramen will try to slow you down and keep you from finishing it all, but you just have to persevere and try to get to the bottom of that bowl.

There are three sizes: regular (a lot of food), buta (translates to “pig”, means bigger sized bowl with more pork belly), and extra large (for the insane). I got a regular and Justin got a buta because he’s one of those metabolic machines (read: a young man).

So you wanna reach your dream by finishing the bowl of ramen, right? If you finish everything, including the broth, the staff shouts, “PERFECT!” If you finish everything but the broth, they shout, “GOOD JOB!” If you leave some solid food and broth, they say, “Almooooost.” If you leave a lot of food left, they say, “Next tiiiiime.”

I got a “GOOD JOB!” and got cramps afterwards, but it was a glorious bowl of ramen. The noodles were my favorite part.

But before they grade your ramen bowl, they give you the option of stating your dream to the other 17 customers + staff in the room. I didn’t know what I wanted to say as my dream, but I decided I would say something anyway.

I ended up saying:

My dream is to make everyone I meet in life know how much they are loved.

That is some of the mushiest cheese that I have ever spoken, but it’s true. As a nomad of life and an indecisive person, I have no specific professional or personal dreams, but making everyone feel genuinely loved is very important to me.

I can only say this because I have been genuinely loved by other souls throughout my life, even (and sometimes especially) when I don’t deserve the love. “To whom much is given, much will be expected.” – Someone Wise

And now for some updates on life! I’ve missed blogging so much. Finals were kicking my DERRIÈRE, but WE ARE DONE AS OF TODAY!! For two weeks at least.

Colby (← her new website is BOSS) finished her summer in Boston a couple weeks ago 😦 As a “see ya later” send-off, we went to a Power Stryde class at MyStryde in Boston’s North End, because moving and grooving together is what we do best. It was a fun class!

can’t wait to see your face again, Colby ♥︎

We followed that with a trip to Boston Public Market (my first time there after living here for three years?)!

I bought brown sugar blueberry bread from Jennifer Lee’s allergen-free bakery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this delicious bread for dessert/study reward the next three nights. Served a la mode with peanut butter, of course.

On one night a couple weeks ago, it was raining, I desperately needed to go grocery shopping, and Target decided it was a good time to switch over to paper bags. Ergo…

But now I don’t live so far away from campus, so this doesn’t have to happen anymore! I moved from Christie’s place to an apartment closer to campus with Rachel and our friend Lauren, which has been great. I’m tolerated a decent amount of disaster in my half-unpacked room as finals finished up, but now I can start fixing up this crib.

It’s an off-campus apartment, so I get to stay put for a WHOLE. YEAR. HALLELUJAH.

the lighting is nice in the living room too, just saying

Before I left Christie’s place, I had one last night with her dog, Koga, and boy did we have a memorable night together! Koga is a really good dog, but he apparently had way too much water to drink that day, so the poor thing peed inside while I was alone at home with him.

How could you be mad at this face though?

Moving was a (relative) breeze thanks to Christie and Andrew, who helped me move and drive all my stuff to the new place, and my parents, who came up to deliver my bed frame and mattress last weekend. Blessed.

Another #blessed moment was when Rachel spotted a curbed dresser a block away from our apartment and convinced me to take it for my room, since I have practically zero furniture. But when we quickly discovered that the dresser was absurdly heavy, a knight in shining armor kind and burly man sitting on his deck offered to help us move it into my room. It was still a ridiculously sweaty and difficult task with the three of us, but the man’s strength and chivalry was SO appreciated.

I’m baking him cookies sometime this week.

My legs get more attractive by the day, lemme tell you.

(bruises from moving the dresser)

Studying for four exams within 7 days has been…a lot. But some bonafide pray, eat, move and groove action has made it all beautiful.

still doing workouts with Spartan buddy (feat. “the best chocolate milk in the world” – Ben)

getting peer pressured into going to Tasty Burger with friends on Sunday night instead of going straight to studying *shrugs* – worth it

banana pancakes!

chicken enchiladas with homemade sauce (← so much easier than I imagined)

5.3(!!) mile run with Janice and Justin (they definitely slowed down for me, but I think we all enjoyed it!)

Elayne made us a healthy skillet cookie one night before an exam ♥︎ 

study snackage

our friend Joy made blueberry cheesecake that night too, and it was phenomenal (we had some for breakfast the next day too heh)

chatting, studying and sharing a giant blueberry muffin with my girl Janice = happiness

Lastly, this happened before 10 am Sunday:

Rachel and I went to MET Back Bay for brunch, since their Croque Madame was on our food bucket list. LOOK AT IT. The photo does not do the cheese weight and deliciousness justice. The fries with crispy sage and garlic dipping sauce were also ridiculous. We split that and the California Hen House Hash…

…which was a deep skillet of potatoes, chicken, onions, peppers, 10 more pounds of cheese, avocado and two eggs.

Just as we needed to put our forks down before finishing that monstrously epic meal, I need to put my fingers to rest with this freaking long post.

Hope you all have a blessed week! You are so loved. Promise.

So tell me:

What is your dream (short term or long term)?

Three things that have made you smile this past week!

Best thing you’ve eaten recently. I am so spoiled and can’t even choose. Probably the croque madame though.

Alleluia!

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

IMG_7954

Oh mannnnnn. Easter just gets better every year — more meaningful, more beautiful, more joyful — because “God is infinitely interesting,” as Fr. Barnes once said!

It’s been a wild ride this week, but I think what makes Holy Week leading up to Easter so special is that:

a) people are getting baptized, confirmed, received into the Church!

b) everyone is laser-focused not on themselves but on God Himself. Work, worries, fears, doubts… nothing seems to matter in the face of the reality that Christ gave Himself for us and rose from the dead as He promised. It’s something Christians/Catholics know, but it’s not always something we stop and truly, deeply think about. Holy Week is the time for it, and it is like nothing else in the world.

Festivities included the longest (but most beautiful) Mass ever on Saturday night, followed by a party to ring in Easter!

17990376_10211090556691104_387620030744175892_o

I made carrot cake for the occasion using Alton Brown’s recipe. ‘Twas a hit (only because I made sure to make some with AND without raisins and walnuts).

IMG_7835IMG_7836IMG_7839

My body was ready for allllll the food after [just a little bit of] fasting.

IMG_7840

like these mini chicken and waffle bites that Veronica made!!

I got to reunite with peanut butter after giving it up for Lent, and it was quite an event. I literally packed half a pb&j sandwich to bring to the party because I’m ridiculous.

My face can be described as “blissful baby chipmunk” whenever I eat things I enjoy.

help

left: last year at a relay race where we had to eat bananas // right: breaking the peanut butter fast this year

Eating, drinking, and being merry 🙂

IMG_7841IMG_7899IMG_7888IMG_7877

On Sunday, I helped prepare brunch for the masses of people after the Easter Mass.  First, I ate my first peanut buttery overnight oats in 40+ days for breakfast.

IMG_7916

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My friend Louis headed a bunch of people in flapjack flipping, ham carving, table setting, and dessert plating.

IMG_7917

Then we feasted!

IMG_7919

It was a hot and gorgeous day for Easter yesterday too!

IMG_7941

Louis the brunch MVP

IMG_7920

junior ladiez

IMG_7931

Special shoutout to Fiona who rucked (sped-walked with 35-lb. of army gear on her back) 26.2 miles for the Tough Ruck Marathon on Saturday!!! You’re my hero.

IMG_7936IMG_7925IMG_7934

IMG_793817991365_10211096714725051_6340274203764604591_o

Lauren is my dance partner of choice for life

I also FaceTimed my family + worked out by the river yesterday since it was so nice out!

IMG_7956

At the end of all the celebration madness, when everyone is gone and moving on with their lives, we remember again the One who this is all about. To the quietest, most precious Source of Life — all glory and honor to Thee.

IMG_7955

Hope you all have a wonderful Monday! We have the day off because it’s Marathon Monday/Patriot’s Day 😀

So tell me:

The best thing about your weekend!

If you celebrate, what did you do for Easter or Passover?

One beautiful thing in your life.

 

Lately

I have been the WORST with blogging recently.

I have good and bad excuses, but here’s the lowdown on what’s been happening these past couple weeks!

Before retreat, one of the missionaries at our Catholic Center, Courtney, cooked a killer breakfast (before 7am!) for our little junior Bible study group.

img_7117img_7118

Complete with eggs, bacon, cinnamon rolls (!!!), toast, fresh berries, and the most unassumingly tasty frozen heart waffles from Whole Foods.

img_7119img_7120

Courtney, you are wonderful. Thank you so much!

The night after retreat was the countdown to Rachel’s 21st birthday! A bunch of us rallied enough energy to play Just Dance in a common room too tiny for our large group before all the 21+ peeps (including Rachel now!) took a shot at midnight.

screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-9-36-51-am

in this moment: “It’s midnight!!!”

‘Twas an exciting night! I was alllll about the dancing (even without booze in me 😉 ).

On Rachel’s actual birthday (which happened to be a day off for President’s Day hallelujah), I took her out to UBurger for some good food and great chats. As we do 🙂

img_7347

big papi burger for her, cheeseburger for me, sweet potato fries to share

img_7348

The rest of the week was GLORIOUS.

img_7369.jpg

Boston was teased with the most gorgeous spring weather last week. I got nostalgic, thinking about all the fun spring things from last year. It actually made me kinda sad too, because I know that although it felt like April/May (aka Easter season + end of the semester), I knew it was only February.

img_7362

Nevertheless, people around campus were so much happier and more energetic! It’s like the universe changes for the better when the weather gets warm.

img_7364img_7365

There was still a little bit of snow on the ground, but that all disappeared by the end of the week. I even got to play hacky sack with my friends outside #quintessentialcollegethings. Plus yoga by the river on Thursday morning between classes!

Aaaaaand this week there’s a forecast of snow again.

Random update: I cooked this fantastic pasta dish for my meals last week.

img_7352

Whole wheat spaghetti with sundried tomatoes, artichokes, lots of fresh basil, olive oil, and herby chicken. All my faves.

The food and birthday celebrations for Rachel continued over the weekend!

Fish tacos + the BEST honey ale cornbread on Friday:

img_7370

there were not enough napkins for this goodness

img_7372

check that margarita in front of Rachel eyoooo

Rebecca, Fiona, Rachel and I brunched at Lulu’s on Saturday, which was another beautiful day.

img_7376

donut holes with warm chocolate sauce to start

img_7379img_7377

I got the vegan buddha bowl: mesclun greens, sweet chili noodles, spiced chickpeas and button mushrooms, grape tomatoes, avocado, and sliced almonds. So tasty!

On Sunday, I gave my big gift to Rachel. I took her through a day of 21 meaningful things for her 21st birthday. Some of those things included a breakfast of yogurt + pb, Mass, a trip to El Pelon for the outstanding El Guapo burrito (from our food bucket list)…

img_7382

rice, beans, grilled steak, fried plantains(!), salsa, lettuce, jack cheese in the most doughy tortilla in all the land

img_7383

you bet we housed each of ours completely

img_7385

Sarah also surprised Rachel when she joined us for burritos 🙂

…a 2.5-hour walk through Boston…

img_7387

…a homemade dinner of soba noodles with chicken, peppers, and peanut sauce (soba noodles are one of Rachel’s favorite things ever)…

img_7389

Her boyfriend, Austin, was a surprise guest for the night! God bless the dude. He had raced 6 miles at a 6:23 pace earlier that day after 4 hours of sleep. Casual.

img_7392

…and we finished the day by watching Step Up and eating this PB&J flavor from Ben & Jerry’s, because she’s the jelly to my peanut butter 🙂

img_7395

p.s. highly recommend this flavor to all your pb&j lovers

Good times with good people, man.

Speaking of peanut butter though, I’m giving it up for Lent. And not just peanut butter but ALL nut/seed butters. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat!?

img_7398

banana pudding for breakfast via Imma Eat That

I’ve contemplated giving up nut butter for Lent in the past, but I was always afraid because I consumed many of my calories from peanut butter, and I wanted to be sensitive to my disordered eating recovery. This year, I feel absolutely sure that giving up nut butter is truly out of sacrifice and not out of any restrictive mindset.

I’m really not excited about it, but that’s a sign that it’s something good for me to give up for Lent 🙂

Megan: “Feel the loss, Alison.”

Hope you all have a great Monday!

So tell me:

How’s the weather where you are?

Does nice weather make you nostalgic about anything?

Three things you did this weekend!

If you observe Lent, what are you thinking of doing/giving up?