“Booze and Grooves”

My friend Ben came up with it.

When I left for Ireland last month, he told me he expected my adventures to be titled “booze and grooves” and to disregard liver health. I’m only listening to his first suggestion.

This weekend we had a class trip to Northern Ireland! The history of division between the British/Protestants vs. Irish/Catholics is jarring yet fascinating. One of the first things our tour guide in Belfast said was, “This is the most dangerous part of Belfast… If a taxi honks at you, sprint back to the bus as fast you can. That’s the most important.”

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Illegal murals are a big part of the culture. They are all political statements rooted in the violent divisions that manifested only two decades ago.

I was that student who asked, “Are you being serious?” He answered with a straight face, “Does it look like I’m kidding?”

“No, sir.”

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But later he told us that he was kidding, and we all laughed (*nervous relief laughs for me*). We still couldn’t really open our mouths about religion or politics though.

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I must admit that I felt uncomfortable in Belfast for the first half of the day, but after visiting the peace wall, going downtown, and learning about the government at the Parliament building reassured me that peace is being pursued.

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They even served us afternoon coffee, tea, and biscuits during our break, which was the cutest. I am officially a fan of digestive biscuits dipped in tea.

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Witnessing and experiencing the city made for one excellent history lesson!

For dinner that night, a bunch of us went to Robinson’s and ate inside a “snug”, which we learned was the ladies’ corner back in the day, where we might have been served alcohol if the men of institution were feelin’ nice enough. Coincidentally, we were a bunch of ladies gathered in a snug on Thursday night. But we bought our own drinks 🙂

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I ordered the shepherd’s pie, which was more like sloppy joe with a lot of mashed potatoes on top, but I was fine with that.

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Pretty much demolished the whole thing. Then it was time to get wild and cuh-razy at the Crown Liquor Saloon, ooo la la.

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Megan and I had not bought an alcoholic drink in Ireland until that night, so we both bought Jameson Gingers and celebrated! Everyone else was probably more excited for us than we were for ourselves, but I appreciated the energy.

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Jameson Ginger is probably one of my favorite drinks that I’ve tasted in my short and limited experience with alcohol consumption, but it still doesn’t compare to the taste of ice cream.

So Megan and I enjoyed our drinks, but we’re more willing to put our money towards a happier cause— dessert. It was still super fun to actually go out with people (I’m such a square usually).

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We still went to bed before 1 am, only after watching an Irish dating show on TV.

On Friday morning, Megan and I grabbed breakfast at cafe approximately 20 paces from our hotel lobby. I ordered porridge with banana, honey, and peanut butter, and it ROCKED. The oats were cooked to a texture that was doughy and satisfying, and the addition of whole milk was life-changing.

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At first, I wasn’t sure if there was peanut butter in there because it was hidden by the banana slices, but after asking, the waiter said, “It’s in there! A surprise underneath. There’s enough for two in there.”

“Enough for two people.” I laughed when I finished the bowl, because that’s how much peanut butter I always put in my oats.

Megan and I went on a brisk walk around the city (brisk because we almost got lost) before our class headed to Giant’s Causeway!

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It was just as beautiful as the Cliffs of Moher!

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The unique part of Giant’s Causeway is the rocks. There are tens of thousands of rocks shaped like hexagons due to how the volcanic lava solidified and cracked over the period of hundreds of thousands of years.

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But you could also choose to believe that giants did it. 😉

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photo from my friend Cassandra!

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PC: Cassandra

Yet another beautiful experience in Ireland.

Not a beautiful experience? Rushing to buy Irish stew with brown bread for lunch and having the butter packets melt from the heat of the stew all over your paper bag on the bus.

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Megan: “Butter disaster 2016.”

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The stew was delicious though!!

One pit stop on the way to Derry for the Games of Thrones fans:

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I don’t watch the show, but if you do, does this look familiar?? (p.s. my friends spotted the whole cast inside a bar on Thursday night!)

Next stop was Derry/Londonderry (depending on whether you’re a Nationalist or a Unionist). We toured some more murals and the big wall in the middle of the city. It was so nice to move the legs and witness some stunning views of the whole city.

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Our hotel was a 15 minute drive out of the city, so we settled into our rooms before taking a taxi back in for dinner. HOWEVER, everything on a Friday night was closed! Megan, Cristen and I wanted to go to a restaurant called Blackbird for a wagyu beef burger (per my mom’s recommendation), but they told us that they stop serving food at 5pm.

Wut.

Disappointed, we walked around to find another restaurant, but everything except the bars and some random fast food places had their gates down. So strange. We decided to go a chain chicken restaurant called Nando’s, which was still a good dinner!

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medium spice chicken on a super grain salad bowl

I was satisfied, and I had missed green vegetables. AND AVOCADO.

Then we wanted ice cream, so the waitress at Nando’s suggested Joe Jackson’s inside a mall down the street. I got the honeycomb and strawberry cheesecake flavors, which hit the spot!

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The night wasn’t what we were expecting, but it was still a delicious and fun adventure. We also successfully hailed a taxi back to our hotel, which was a win.

Also, we had to put key card into this slot by the door of our hotel room in order for the electricity to work. Different!

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Saturday morning, I ate a whole grain roll with peanut butter that we bought the night before for breakfast.

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There was a big gym in the hotel, so I took full advantage during our free morning. I was STOKED to be using gym equipment for the first time in a month!

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I warmed up and did three sets each of:

  • 10 Bulgarian split squats each leg + 20 jump lunges
  • squats (varying weights) + 20 squat jumps
  • 12 deadlifts (105#) + 30 side jump lunges

Then I did EMOM 10:

  • 5 squat cleans (65#)
  • 8 burpees over the bar

That EMOM absolutely crushed my entire being. I don’t often think “I’m dying” after a workout, but this one made me feel that way.

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I stretched my legs and did some lat pull downs, military presses, and tricep pull downs to finish.

Naturally, two days later, I still can’t move anything in my body.

A bunch of us ordered lunch at the hotel restaurant before hitting the road back to Dublin. It was a bizarre experience in that the service took so long and no one really knew what was going on, but we learned that the restaurant isn’t usually open and prepared to serve 15 hungry kids at that time, so everyone was just discombobulated.

The servers were very kind though, and the food was great! These fries…

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I ordered a toasted beef, brie, and tomato sandwich, which I ate on the bus.

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The rest of the day back on campus involved unpacking, roasting brussels sprouts, and jamming out to Disney music with my friends.

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Sunday morning was some play, but mostly work. We have essays due this week!! First, Megan and I went to Mass in city centre, which was a lovely 2.5-mile walk. Then we met up with Cristen at Brother Hubbard for lunch. This is one of my favorite restaurants that I’ve been to Ireland so far!

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I ordered the Turkish eggs menemem, which included herbs and roasted peppers on toasted sourdough. Best scrambled eggs ever.

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Megan shared some of her pulled pork with me too, which was so tasty.

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We walked back to campus, where worked hard for the rest of the day. There was a break for grocery shopping and dinner in there somewhere. And dessert! Megan and I picked up desserts from Bread and Butter on our way back from lunch earlier, so we used them as incentives to get work done.

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I’m always down for carrot cake.

I also got to FaceTime Rachel at night!

“Work hard, play hard” is a fun motto to live by, but then it reverses to “play hard, work hard,” and I’m really feeling that vibe right now. Time to go finish this essay! And hopefully some yoga to streeeeetch.

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overnight oats in a jar that I just ate 🙂

Hope you all have a kick-butt week!!

(p.s. apparently there have been some issues with the commenting system on my blog, so I apologize!! I’ll try to get the problem fixed ASAP!)

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Northern Ireland?

What is the coolest geologic phenomenon you’ve ever seen?

What is your favorite alcoholic beverage? I need ideas for next time!

Two things you did this weekend!

No Hunger, No Problem

Did any of you watch the CrossFit Games this past week!?

In-freaking-sane. I was on the edge of my seat eating kettle corn watching these superhumans do the impossible.

In other news…

Three of my high school dance company friends got together for a reunion at Bareburger. It had been forever since I’d seen Pam and Charli (I saw Susie not too long ago in the city), and it was so fun catching up with these girls! We’re all talking about our jobs and intense research projects these days. TOO MUCH (quasi-)ADULTING.

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what radiant women

As Charli said, we came with our eager stomachs for some kickass burgers. Pam also spotted these incredible brussels sprouts on the menu that we shared. Get this: brussels sprouts with sriracha, blue cheese, pork belly, and butternut squash.

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Whoever thought of this combo is out of his/her mind, yet so brilliant. For my burger, I got the El Matador: bison burger, queso fresco, pickled jalapeños, guac, pico de gallo, and green leaf lettuce on a sprout bun.

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it looks like a guacamole sandwich tower at first sight, which is very pleasing

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Demolished that.

Warning: the rest of this is going to be very first world problem. 

When my family went out for our Groupon dinner (that was postponed last week) at North Street Tavern after Mass, I was not hungry at all. Lunch at Bareburger was fatty and filling, but it was also pretty late (we finished at around 3:30).

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I could have eaten a salad at Bareburger, but I didn’t want to be “that person” to order salad at a burger place, especially while dining with good friends. Not that they would have judged me, but I knew that we chose this reunion to be at Bareburger for a reason (read: dang delicious burgers).

I also really wanted a burger because I had just worked out and I wanted hearty foooooood.

If I’m honest, I was almost…disappointed that I was so full by the time dinner rolled around. We were about to eat at this fancy restaurant, and I had zero desire for any food. This would have stressed me out to NO END a couple years ago.

“Why did I eat so much at lunch? I will definitely only have a salad now. Maybe I just shouldn’t eat at all. Should I just try to stuff all this food?”

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crab cakes with mango salsa for the table to share ➔ 1/2 a cake for each person

But as intro anatomy taught me, rest and digest is the way to go. It’s easier said than done for some of us (trust me), but there’s no need to stress over food. In my recovery, there was a weird phase where I unsure whether I was stuffed because I actually overate or because I just needed to adjust to this new amount of food that I should be eating. This made me hyper-attentive to my stomach at all times, and I would stress about having to eat a certain amount for each meal, even if I wasn’t that hungry.

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tuna tartare ➔ mom shared a bite with me

Sometimes that anxiety still creeps up on me, even though I’m certain that I’m eating a healthy amount overall. Or maybe it’s just anxiety that I need to eat all this good food while it’s in front of me. Either way, I’ve learned to CHILL.

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mom’s fave: sweet potato fries ➔ I had a few of these

If I’m not hungry at all, no one is forcing me to eat. Don’t eat. If I have a few bites of food— because, hey, I’m at a nice restaurant with my family— that’s still okay. God gave us food to live and to enjoy, but He definitely did not give it to us to stress over it.

If you’ve struggled with food in any way, you know that it’s hard to naturally accept those thoughts “like a normal person”, but I can attest that it is possible to work through it.

Luckily for me, the rest of the family didn’t have nearly as much food as I did during the day, so they were ready for this meal.

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my wood-fired personal pizza with roasted red peppers, mushrooms, ricotta, and basil ➔ 2 slices of this

As I relaxed into the meal more, I found that my appetite started to appear (it had been ~4 hours since I finished at Bareburger by then).

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a bite or two of Ben’s lobster mac and cheese

I knew to save room for dessert, don’t you worry. This I finished all by myself.

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carrot cake!

A few disclaimers:

  1. We ordered so much food because the Groupon was worth a LOT.
  2. Hooray for leftovers.
  3. We are humbly grateful to have so much delicious food available to us.
  4. We also don’t usually eat out every weekend, but I dunno, I guess we have Groupons to use.

Other eats at home have involved peanut butter and banana (but I didn’t need to say that).

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brown rice breakfast bowl

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overnight oat smoothie with blueberries added in

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whole wheat banana pancakes for Sunday morning breakfast

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topped with Greek yogurt, nut butter, and blueberries

I also taught Ben how to make and eat avocado egg toast. It is truly an art and a skill. Let me know if you want a tutorial.

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I’d say the young lad needs a bit more practice, but not bad for a rookie.

Hope you all have an awesome Monday! Rest and digest.

So tell me: 

Thoughts on this first world problem of mine.

What was your Sunday morning breakfast?

Did you watch the CrossFit Games?

What are you thankful for today? Well, if I do indeed wake up after I go to sleep tonight (typing this Sunday night), then I’m thankful for another day of life and for the opportunity to go a job that I find enjoyable and fulfilling.

 

20 Things From My Life That I Regret (But Not Entirely)

I just finished a rather colorful bowl of oatmeal this AM.

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Sprinkles were welcomed onto my classic bowl of banana chia egg white oats, because I’m turning 20 today! Two decades and no longer a teen. I’d say that I feel closer to fully #adulting, but did I mention that a waitress gave me a kiddie menu in Vermont three weeks ago?

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[source]

I hope that all my fellow Americans had a lovely Memorial Day! The ‘rents and I took it easy. We attended our local Memorial Day ceremony, Mom and I went shopping, we all napped a bit, and some killer moves went down in honor of the fallen.

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the superintendent of my high school!

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salad with sautéed onions, mushrooms and chorizo (← new fave)

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Memorial Day 5/30/16 Workout

5 rounds for time: 30 pushup burpees + 16 alternating weighted pistol squats

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dinner was eel and Asian roasted brussels sprouts over brown rice (I LOVE EEL)

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new favorite late night snack: Greek yogurt and almond butter with dried figs

In honor of twenty years since emerging from the womb, I decided to make a list of twenty things, because that seems like a socially acceptable way to subtly scream on my blog that I have turned twenty years old.

I have learned plenty of lessons in these past twenty years, but instead of listing the lessons themselves, I am sharing twenty things that I regret doing/happening (but not entirely, because they’ve taught me that I am a foolish human being who constantly needs improvement/they’ve given me the best memories). So I do not necessarily condone all of the following things, but I am appreciative that God allows me to learn from mistakes.

1) Filming a plethora of home videos of my brother and myself dancing to Pokemon songs and Backstreet Boys.

2) Showing said home videos to my friends in high school and college.

3) Having a bowl haircut.

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4) Complaining to my parents that I didn’t want to go to Hawaii when I was seven years old because I had no interest in pineapples (they still dragged me along, thankfully).

5) Wanting to have hamstring muscles just like my figure skating friend when I was seven years old (the dawn of body comparison).

6) Waiting until the last minute on one of my elementary school math projects and getting a terrible grade.

7) Crying and getting mad at God because I didn’t get a lead role in my middle school’s musical, Willy Wonka, Jr. I got the part of an orange-faced, green-haired oompa loompa.

8) Any and every time I stomped through the house in an unreasonable rage.

9) Begging my mom to take me to buy Crocs. And Uggs.

10) Not paying attention to directions whenever my parents drove.

11) Not reading Harry Potter (and then the heavens rejoiced that she repented).

12) The whole phase of my life when I started wearing makeup and getting interested in fashion.

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blue eyeshadow and 10 lbs. of jewelry

13) Not keeping up with stretching after some time off of figure skating. It taught me early on that muscles do not stay flexible forever.

14) Counting calories and finding healthy living blogs that pushed my disordered eating further (but finding healthy living blogs was ultimately fruitful).

15) Discovering my love for nut butter. A blessing and a curse.

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16) Attending one high school Halloween party where there was a single handle of vodka, touchy people, and really bad lighting. But it taught me that I was not missing out on anything by not going to those parties.

17) Thinking that I did not want to study abroad because of FOMO (fear of missing out) at Boston. My friends who know what’s logical and good urged me to reconsider, and now I’m going to Dublin this fall!

18) All the times I did not engage in conversation with people because I did not think they were interesting enough or that I was interesting enough.

19) Not trusting in God’s mercy, which has plunged me into my darkest times yet ultimately brought me to my greatest joys after seeking Truth.

20) Not following politics. I need to inform myself more, but I’m also happy that I’m not stressing over the hubbub.

This was a lot more fun to write than I was expecting. And embarrassing!

Off to work now! Hope you all have a wonderful week!

So tell me:

What are some things you regret (but not really)? Can you relate to any of mine?

What did you do for Memorial Day?

Do you have any birthday traditions? Going out to dinner with the fam!

See Ya Later, Boston

I’m back home in New York!

Where there is a kitchen and where the toilet paper is thick enough to use only three squares instead of seven.

That being said, I actually consider Boston my second home (maybe even just “home” now), since I do spend 8/12 months there. I also feel that the people I’ve met at BU are truly my second family. And I’m gonna cut the sap right there before I start crying and you start cringing.

Even though I’m not going to be living at “home” in Boston for another 8.5 months (oh my gosh) because I’m going to Dublin in the fall, I tried my best to maintain a “see ya later” attitude rather than a “goodbye” attitude, especially when it came to leaving friends.

My last few days in Boston were wonderful, spent with many people I love, and for that I am so grateful.

On Thursday, Rachel and I walked and talked for 2 hours, more or less. The weather was just perfect. We also watched The Parent Trap that night, which was a fantastic choice.

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My favorite moves of the week: Hillary’s Dirty Burpee Workout on Saturday morning. I had to dodge lots of families who were hanging out by the river for graduation festivities, but it was like an agility obstacle course, ya know? There were also so many other people working out too!

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last time workout there for a long time

That workout took everything out of me. The burpees felt like a break in between the .25 mile runs, which is evidence of how much little I run.

I tried this Aussie yogurt from our campus market store, since I had some dining points left to use. It’s called Noosa and it’s some of the richest, most delicious yogurt I’ve ever eaten. But I’m probably never going to have it again because I’m too cheap and buying individual cups of gourmet yogurt doesn’t seem very economical.

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I also finished up some Nature’s Path multigrain wild berry freezer waffles for breakfast one morning. Topped with pb and banana, naturally.

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On Saturday night after Mass, our Catholic Center chaplain, Fr. Barnes, hosted a potluck dinner for all the non-seniors who were still on campus. ‘Twas a lovely evening. We started with cheese and crackers (arguably the best appetizer of all time). My friends Casey and Fiona came through with some smoked gouda, brie, and sharp cheddar #BLESS.

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My friend Nico brought quiche, which made me squeal.

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Fr. Barnes made us the most satisfying spaghetti ever. Plain spaghetti tossed in olive oil with fresh tomatoes, grilled corn, raw garlic, Italian sausage, and basil. KILLER. I roasted some balsamic brussels sprouts and green beans to go along with it.

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“Look bourgeoisie.”

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Chef Barnes and Casey— two great people (p.s. Fr. Barnes has an awesome blog)

On Sunday morning, I attended the graduation for the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with some friends to support more friends. I hope we embarrassed them by how loudly and obnoxiously we cheered.

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Mom and Pop so generously drove up to Boston just to help me move out and drive me back home. What a lucky girl I am.

We ate dim sum for lunch and then hit the road. Back on the home front, I had/still have a lot of unpacking to do, but I got to cook! Honey mustard paprika salmon + honey balsamic roasted green beans and asparagus (can you tell that I like roasted things in balsamic?). Mom made quinoa too.

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I didn’t take a pic of the roasted veg

In the midst of unpacking, I saw that Emily from Beauty in Christ sent me the sweetest package! Nuttzo + homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies! She’s so good to me.

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Of course, I microwaved and ate one of her cookies for dessert, and they are seriously some of the best peanut butter chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever eaten. UGH. Thank you so much, Emily! ♥︎ I highly recommend checking out her blog if you love good reflections and inspiration regarding body image and ED recovery + beautiful things/positivity in general.

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These next few days I will be with my friends Fiona and Rachel in upstate New York! I won’t have service, which is honestly a blessing, because I need to get my eyes off pixels for an extended amount of time. I’ll catch up with you guys soon though!

Hope you have a great week! Squeal with excitement over things like quiche.

So tell me:

Do you feel like you have/ever had a “second home” somewhere? I do still love home in NY and being with my parents ♥︎ Love you, mom and pop.

What is the best thing you ate this weekend?

Do you buy individual cups of yogurt or just big tubs like me? I buy individual ones if they’re on sale!

Quiet and Cozy Thanksgiving

I’m such a procrastinator.

But that’s not news, right? I have yet to do any significant studying for my two exams or any additional preparation for my seven-page paper due next week. I’m telling myself that something WILL get done today.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. –Mark Twain

^^^It’s so harddddddd.

Instead of complaining any further though, I should embrace the attitude of gratitude. ‘Tis the season! It has been a relaxing and lovely two days spent with my family so far, but I started off my holiday break in Boston with a breakfast date!

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My dear friend Emma invited me to her apartment to make some FlapJacked pancakes (that I still had from BLEND!) and eggs. We finished all the pancakes and were pretty embarrassed when her apartment-mate asked if there were any left. #shame.

I arrived home with mom late Tuesday night, and since then I’ve been eating, hangin’ with my family, and procrastinating catching up on social media. Because I’m never on social media during school…

Wednesday involved eating, clothes shopping, grocery shopping, eating sushi, cooking, eating, gym, and eating.

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Kylie’s simple paleo pancake (SO FREAKING FLUFFY!) with copious amounts of peanut butter and pomegranate seeds + glass o’ milk

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late sushi lunch with mom mid-shopping

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gym with Pop

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homemade crab cakes! + plain Greek yogurt + sriracha

Ben came home late that night, so I stayed up late chatting with him. My eyes were nearly glued shut getting up for church the next morning, but it was worth the QT with the bro.

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starting Thanksgiving Day thanking God from whom all things flow

After Mass, we headed home to get cookin’! I fueled myself with overnight oats in a jar before transforming into a wannabe Barefoot Contessa. I was in charge of all the side dishes, and I asked mom to be in charge of the turkey so that I wouldn’t overcook it again.

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my love — stuffing 

In addition to bread, we used some leftover buttery croissants for the stuffing. Go big, friends.

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best roasted sweet potatoes

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rosemary thyme roasted baby potatoes

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honey balsamic roasted brussels sprouts and string beans

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cornbread muffins

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da bird

We actually ended up undercooking the turkey at first, so it was a fiasco trying to cook the parts that were still raw while keeping the perfectly-cooked parts separate. You’d think we would have this down after 15+ years, but…guess not. Nevertheless, the turkey turned out delicious and juicy!

I also went on a nice walk with Dad at the park after I finished cooking. It was the perfect, brisk weather for a Thanksgiving walk.

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Then we came home with a hefty appetite and dug in!

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The stuffing, rosemary potatoes, and cornbread muffins were my favorite. I know you know the carbs are the best part.

Speaking of carbs. Best for last!

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apple pie a la mode

We finished at around 6pm, so the rest of the night involved watching Chopped, writing this post, and just appreciating the presence of family. (Imaginary audience: “AWWWWWWW.”)

I feel fortunate that each year, Thanksgiving becomes a lot easier, mentally speaking. This year, I didn’t feel nervous about the amount or density of food that would be available to me, and I think that is because I allow myself to eat heavy foods outside of holiday occasions. I was definitely stuffed by the end of the night, but it just felt like a bigger meal, which is probably a monthly/biweekly occurrence.

As Julia so beautifully wrote, we just need to be kind to ourselves. I didn’t finish every bite on my plate, and I didn’t have pie immediately after dinner with the rest of my family because I wanted to digest for an hour or so. I still ate a lot of delicious food, including pie, but I didn’t feel (self-imposed) pressure to eat or not to eat.

As for working out, I joined my dad when he went to the gym the night before, but I just did a fun strength workout without focusing on calorie burn. On Thanksgiving day, we walked. We went with the flow.

I did not get to this point overnight, so I implore you to not be discouraged if you still struggle with restrictive temptations or anxious feelings during the holidays. In fact, there are many non-holiday instances during which I still feel anxious over food. Recovery is always a work in progress, but every effort to combat disordered habits and thought processes is valuable.

Tonight we’re going out to NYC to eat more. Not before I get some work done though!!!

So tell me:

How did you spend {American} Thanksgiving?

Favorite food from the feast?

Three non-obvious/random/quirky things you’re thankful for! yoga pants, clean public bathrooms, and towels that absorb really well