29 Questions

Look at this pretty salad that I made for my brother and Pop!

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spinach, cherry tomatoes, pears, avocado, homemade honey dijon vinaigrette

I don’t even make salads this pretty for myself. I just throw a leftover chicken drumstick on a pile of spinach and call it a day.

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I’m an expert at making pretty avocado egg toast now though

Other colorful eats from yesterday included caprese salad (a classic fave) and fresh mango with Greek yogurt and sunflower seeds.

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yes, all those were mine

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Plus a million other snacks and eats because yesterday was one of those “bottomless pit” kinda days. I also napped for a long time in the afternoon after a couple hours of gross anatomy studying. My body is taking all this rest and running with it (oxymoronic sentence?).

Madre and I also went to a free yoga class yesterday morning! A woman in our neighborhood is offering free classes once a week since she’s practicing for yoga teacher training. It was a great 55-minute ashtanga/vinyasa class! Madre was my paparazzi apparently, because I swear I didn’t ask her to take these photos for me. But alas, they exist.

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felt as uncomfortable as it looks because my right hip flexor was SO tight yesterday

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I also got my heart rate up after yoga with the 100 burpee challenge! Here’s a video of it because a) I’m home, so I have few better things to do with my life; b) I appreciate when other people show themselves dying (not literally) during a workout, because it’s very #human.

(NOT that you have to die during every workout. Au contraire. Rest is so important! I take an average of two rest days + two walking/yoga days per week. Going “all out” every day doesn’t work for me, mentally or physically.)

And now for some lightheartedness around these parts! I feel like my posts have been pretty serious recently. I came across this “29 Questions” blog survey on Tina’s blog yesterday and thought it would be fun to do here!

1. Who are you named after? I think I’m named after a TV character that my mom really liked. I was almost named Stephanie though.

2. Last time you cried? Sunday when I was talking to my dad about faith and relationships. Just young adult things.

3. Do you like your handwriting? Yes. It’s gotten messier as I’ve gotten older and less type A about neatness, but I can deal with it.DSC_3063

4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Roast beef!

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ohhh Cutty’s roast beef 1000 ♥︎ 

5. Do you still have your tonsils? Yep. This is the most random question ever.

6. Would you bungee jump? I would if I was with other friends/family who would do it with me.

7. What is your favorite kind of cereal? Peanut butter Puffins!

8. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Only when I have to.

9. Do you think you’re strong? Yes.

10. Favorite ice cream? Cookies ‘n’ cream. (Or the carrot cake ice cream from Salt & Straw if we’re getting specific.)

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it had carrot cake CHUNKS in it 

11. What is the first thing you notice about a person? I’m not sure, but Tina said a person’s smile, so I’m going to agree with that.

12. Football or baseball? Is it un-American if I abstain from this question?

13. What color pants are you wearing? Gray.

14. Last thing you ate? Some Indian snack mix that my mom put on the coffee table.

15. What are you listening to? “I Got” by Young the Giant.

16. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Yellow. (Haha, I wasn’t even thinking about my Asian-ness at first, but hey.)

17. Favorite smell? Freshly baked pumpkin bread or cookies.

18. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? My aunt and cousins from California.

19. Married? Nope.

20. Hair color? Black/super dark brown. I’m not picky about what you call it.

21. Eye color? Black. These are most definitely black holes. It’s so hard to see my pupils!

22. Favorite food to eat? Guess.

 

23. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings all the way. I’m still scared of that Disney movie Hocus Pocus for crying out loud.

24. Last movie you watched? The Shack this past weekend.

25. What color shirt are you wearing? Turquoise (the workout shirt pictured above).

26. Favorite Holiday? Christmas! Easter is a close second. Thanksgiving a close third.

27. Beer or Wine? It depends. I’ll let you know for sure when I’m 21.

28. Night owl or morning person? Night owl (as I type this at 12:48am).

29. Favorite day of the week? Sunday. I love Mass and Sunday brunch 🙂

So tell me:

Your answers to any of these 29 questions!

Do you throw leftovers on top of salad greens and call it a salad?

Two things you did yesterday.

Cheers, Dublin

HELLO, AMERICA!

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could not wipe the smile off my face when I saw this

I can hear Frank Sinatra singing, “New York, New York”.

It’s like I never even left this side of the pond. I’ve gone right back to eating sushi, driving, and using toilet paper that comes in roll form.

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I swear I did not ask for this to be taken, but Madre takes as many random photos as I do

No, but seriously, my brain is still processing the fact that I studied abroad in Ireland for the past 3.5 months. It was a whirlwind, a challenge, and a blast. I’ll save the reflections for another post and just focus on the transition from Europe back to America in this post.

My peers and I celebrated what felt like the end of an era during our last days in Dublin. Megan and I were basically obligated to go to one last brunch:

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The Lovely Food Co.1 was the first brunch place we ate at in Dublin, so we chose it as our last brunch destination to bring it full circle. ‘Twas a fabulous decision because this was the best brunch we had in Ireland. She ordered the eggs benedict, and I ordered the eggs royale (same thing except with smoked salmon instead of ham).

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The crusty bread was unconventional, but it totally worked. For brunch dessert, we split an order of their brioche French toast, since that’s what Megan ordered her first time there, and she could not stop thinking about since.

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For good reason!! This little guy was perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Served with cream, berry compote, and classic maple syrup. #dead.

We may or may not have bought two desserts from the bakery to take away.

After walking around city centre to look for books for our plane ride (I ended up buying the fourth HP book because I needed to return the one I had to the library, but I still had 200+ pages left), we had a late farewell lunch with all the students and program directors at Il Corvo Italian restaurant.

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I had the lasagna with a side of veggies and happily finished it all. I also almost cried after one of the program director’s farewell speeches. All good things here!

Later that night, a few of us walked back to city centre for some gelato and store-perusing.

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“Florence cream” flavor from Gelato di Natura (it tasted like saffron!)

Megan and I also watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them while eating our sneaked-in dinners in the back of the theatre.

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sandwiches and salads — your typical theatre fare 

p.s. the movie was great! a little confusing, but fantastic nevertheless. Eddie Redmayne *swoon*

And then, of course, we had to join the rest of our friends for one last night out on the town!

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baby Guinness shots (the first and last shot I will have ever had in Ireland…until next time!)

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I wish I could say I was cool and went pub-hopping that night, but I went home after the first bar and called it a night.

Saturday morning called for a quick workout and the last scramble to pack our whole lives into our suitcases (“It’s TWO POUNDS over 50!!!”). Eventually, we made it through the airport and onto the plane. My last meal in Ireland was this sandwich with veggies, relish, and an absurdly thick slice of cheese.

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Followed by a pretty tasty airplane dinner a few hours later. They served us turkey and stuffing meals with pasta and veggies, soda bread and Kerrygold butter (♥︎), and raspberry white chocolate mousse. What luxury!

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“milk in a stick”

Purchasing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the plane ride was one of the wiser decisions I’ve made in my life. It occupied me for the almost the whole 7 hours! (It also blew my MIND.) I was also very surprised that I never napped or even got up to pee during the entire flight.

When we arrived in New York, my family greeted me at the airport, and I almost cried again. I was so happy to see them. Also, one of the first things my brother told me after I hugged him was that they bought me Lloyd’s carrot cake. I appreciate how well they know me.

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Even though it was past midnight Dublin time, it was only 7:30 pm when I met up with them and they hadn’t eaten dinner yet. By then, I was pretty hungry for a midnight snack/dinner too, so they took me to eat some delicious sushi, since I had not eaten any in Europe (I had trust issues).

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Also, Madre bought me a portable massage table for Christmas (upon my request, since I’ve been learning how to give good massages in Dublin), so Pop broke it in for me as I gave him a massage that night. The gift that keeps on giving, I say!

Regarding jetlag, I’m actually pretty adjusted already! I persevered and stayed up until 11:30pm NY time (4:30am Dublin time) and woke up at 9 am yesterday.

I was feeling ready to move and groove in the morning, but I had limited time before Mass, so I did 100 burpees for time. I tied my previous PR (6:12), but not without my heart feeling like it would explode. Holy smokes, I had not done a “sprint” like that in a while.

This dinner last night was nothing out of the ordinary except that I cooked the eggs on a gas stove (instead of electric like in our Dublin dorms, which I didn’t realize until now takes 10x longer to heat up) and that I topped it with SRIRACHA. Oh, how I missed thee.

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Followed by cake for dayyyyyyz.

Today I’m headed up to a very special city for a couple days 🙂 More to come!

I have so much to say and reflect upon in regards to my study abroad experience in Ireland, but for now, I’ll say:

Sláinte, Baile Átha Cliath (Cheers, Dublin)!

So tell me:

What did you do this weekend?

What is the best airport/airline food you’ve ever eaten?

Are there any things about coming home that you didn’t even realize you missed during an extended vacation/trip?

Operation “Say Yes”

…”to the dress.” I’m getting married!

Just kidding. This is about how I am the flakiest, most indecisive person ever.

“Hey, Alison, do you wanna go out tonight?”

“Oh!…maybe. I’ll let you know. I want to, but I need to do ‘stuff’ tonight.”

“Okay let me know!”

(Two hours later) “I think I’ll come!”

“Yay!”

(20 minutes later) “Actually…I think I should stay in….”

“Aw. Okay.”

(5 minutes later) “But should I just go out?”

“Yeah if you can!”

(2 minutes later) “Maybe not…”

“Alison… Do whatever you want.”

I’m indecisive because I spend too much time thinking about whether I should go somewhere or not, and then I end up procrastinating anyway, when I could have gone out, come back, and done what I needed to do.

So this past week was Operation: “Say Yes”

Yes to going out on Thursday night.

Because Thursdays are the new Friday, right? We actually don’t have classes on Friday, so Thursday really is the start of our weekends for the first half of our semester.

97% of the time, I’m not one to say, “I wanna go out tonight!” I’m usually more like, “let’s go get dessert and be in our PJs early tonight!” But I felt like celebrating the submission of our first big paper on Thursday, so I went out to a pub with some friends that night. It was my first night really “going out” in regards to drinking and such.

I drank more than I ever have that night, but I was still totally sober throughout, haha.

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“Baby Guinness” (Kahlua and a touch of Bailey’s— looks like a Guinness but tastes like chocolate!)

I only had one of these. I’m not that tolerant (or wealthy).

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arguably the most pointless €5 purchase of my life

Not even tipsy, but not mad about it. Watching all the other wild kids around me was fun enough.

My favorite part was coming back past midnight and sharing a big bowl of popcorn with my friend.

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Yes to napping.

Because I went to bed at 2:30 am after a night out and woke up naturally at 8:50-ish on Friday morning.

I was thinking of doing a longer workout later that day rather than napping, but napping gave me energy to PR my 100 burpee time! 6:16!
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I was on the ground panting two minutes before this photo was taken

Yes to walking somewhere solely for dessert.

My friend Brenna and I went to Bread & Butter to pick up dessert on Friday night, which was a freaking fantastic decision. I bought bread and butter pudding for €2.95, and the portion was HUGE. Megan was kind enough to have half, and she shared her vanilla ice cream with me to go with it 🙂

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this is only one half of the whole portion they gave me

10x better than alcohol. 100x happier. (Half the price too, holla.)

Yes to the Bray Cliff Walk with three friends.

I could have spent the whole day working on my ethics essay, but I decided to go to another cliff walk for the first half of the day. So worth the fresh air, exercise, and company!

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selfie with a banana, because I am a banana

The walk took approximately 2 hours, since we stopped for a bunch of photo sessions.

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thank you to Brigid and Caroline for this photo!

For lunch, we chose The Happy Pear, a super cute vegetarian market/cafe/restaurant.

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I got this bomb Buddha bowl, which had brown rice, pickled cabbage, “kimchi” (wasn’t actually kimchi, but that’s what they called it), lentil dahl, garlic kale, avocado, and sweet potato fries!

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Hiking and buddha bowls, are we in LA!?

Yes to FaceTiming four people over the weekend.

I miss my friends a lot, and although it can take a couple hours to FaceTime a couple people, it is always worth it to talk with such beautiful souls. I laughed and cried.

Yes to Sunday brunch.

After Mass on Sunday, I met up with my friend Cassandra for brunch at a fabulous little place called Herbstreet.

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This was one of those restaurants where you think, “I could honestly order any of this.” Cassandra and I both went for savory + sweet.

Cassandra got the “Eggos Mexicalos” for her main, which was spicy and satisfying (and GUACAMOLE). I got a strange combo— smoked salmon with capers and dill creme fraiche + small stack of blueberry pancakes with orange butter. I ate them separately, don’t worry.

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I was totally craving pancakes, and MAN did these deliver. I love blueberry pancakes, but the zesty orange butter really put it over the top.

The best of the meal was Cassandra’s sweet pick: the French toast with caramelized bananas, pecans, and clotted. cream.

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Be still my heart (but not literally, please, I know this is a lot of cholesterol, sry). We already decided that we have to go back.

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Yes to working out outside. 

I usually work out in my room these days, because a) that’s all I have time for; b) it’s dewy and cold outside in the morning. But on Sunday, I took a nap and just went outside with my jump rope. It was glorious to move and groove outside!!!

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5 rounds:

  • 50 double unders
  • 2 laps (~1/3 of a mile)
  • 5 pistol squats each leg

Yes to walking.

It can be time-consuming to walk to city centre from our campus, and sometimes I feel like I should save time and take the bus, but it’s [almost] always a good idea to walk.

I say [almost], because yesterday we walked to Parliament for a field trip, and it was down pouring. I was soaked and freezing throughout the rest of the field trip, but Megan reminded me to be grateful that I can go home and be warm, whereas some people cannot.

#HUMBLED.

Yes to cooking for real. 

I bit the bullet and bought a tikka masala simmer sauce for some chicken, plus bell peppers and real rice (I refuse to buy microwave or “boil in a bag” rice).

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Prior to this, I had just been seasoning things with salt and pepper because I wanted to be cheap and minimalist, but variety is the spice of life. Or spice is the variety of life?

This delicious lunch salad also happened a couple days ago:

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beets, roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, two fried eggs, salt and pepper

Yes to saying no to blogging.

It’s been a busy week with essay writing and such, so the blog has been on the back burner. I wanted to type this post for Monday…then Tuesday…then Wednesday…then Thursday…and now it’s finally typed. Life happens, and I’m always learning how to prioritize.

Yes to a free online yoga inversions class on the CodyApp.

It was on Tuesday night right after my healthcare policy class ended, plus it was free, so I just signed up and did it! I highly recommend CodyApp, guys. I mean, I’ve only tried the free classes so far, but even those are great. This inversions class really did help me learn more about handstand alignment!

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not in the inversions class, but wanted to see how titibasana was coming along

I hope you guys have an awesome weekend! I’m organizing a wine and cheese night for the group tonight, and I AM PUMPED. Finals are next week already, LOL (we start internships in November!).

So tell me:

Are you indecisive?

Is it hard for you to say yes to things?

Two beautiful things that you did/happened to you this week!

Challenged

I’m forgetting that the weather usually gets colder once fall hits.

I have to wear socks and sweaters in my dorm room, which currently seems like a foreign concept to me. Like, I can’t just be in athletic shorts and a t-shirt all the time now? I have to “keep warm”!?!?

That doesn’t mean I’m giving up cold overnight oats though.

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strawberry banana peanut butter overnight oats overfloweth

Also, who knew strawberries were so good in Ireland!? I feel like I already talked about this. Deja vu.

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Lunches have been looking mighty similar these days, but I don’t hate it. Eggs and veggies are always welcome in my belly.

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As are cheese and carbs.

Lunchtime is a madhouse these days, because we often only have a one hour break to come back to the kitchen, prepare our meals, eat them, and then walk back to class. Plus all the cleaning and maneuvering around 10 other people doing the same exact thing. It sounds like I’m complaining, but I kinda love the rush of “we all have to eat! NOW!”

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Food brings people together 🙂

I would say that the challenge of sharing a kitchen is nothing compared to the moral and mental challenge of my classes so far. It’s not that they are too academically difficult (yet), but all my courses (contemporary Irish society, ethics in healthcare, and healthcare practice and policy) have something to say about the Catholic Church and all the hot topics that surround it these days.

And I get it– just a mention of the Catholic Church stirs up a lot of hubbub.

Sure, I get uncomfortable in class being one of the two practicing Catholics here (especially because everyone knows that I’m a devout Catholic), but I’m loving every minute of it. Not because I want to get all defensive or play the victim, but because I need to be challenged in my beliefs. I want to know what others think of “people like me”. I need to dig deep into why I believe what I believe, and facing the (sometimes stinging) commentary of those who oppose my beliefs is one effective way of doing that.

(p.s. I’m not leaving the Church anytime soon.)

The best part? We all still get along and respect each other. And there have been a couple of very kind people who have shown their appreciation for my POVs, even if they don’t necessarily agree. This was especially comforting yesterday after I expressed my opinions in class, practically shaking with nervousness. (I’m not kidding, but I’m also not asking for pity.)

I might make a vlog expanding on all my thoughts later. My brain is exploding with thoughts and reflections all the time these days!

Anyway, let’s get back to food for some relief from this rather serious topic. Dinner this week has been pork chops with sautéed onions, potatoes with red pesto, and roasted broccoli. A delicious and satisfying meal. Yay for fats!

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Moves and grooves have been short and sweet. Except on Monday when I did a 50 minute Fitness Blender HIIT workout. Tuesday was 35 minutes of yoga + a slow and easy 12 minute lunchtime workout, and yesterday was a 100 burpee workout! 🙂

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that’s all the time it took! gotta leave time for stretching!

It’s nice to get in some kind of movement before I sit for 5-6 hours of class throughout the day. But sleeping is also a priority, which is why my workouts have been “squeezed in” so much lately. I’ve been waking up wanting to go back to sleep FOR.EV.ER. (whoa, that sounds more morbid than I intended).

I used so many parentheses in this post.

I hope you all have a fabulous Thursday! I will be playing Gaelic football and possibly some other Irish sports today for class. God help me.

So tell me:

Have you ever felt challenged in your beliefs in school?

What have you been eating for dinner this week?

Do you forget that the weather changes too?

What is your favorite quick workout?

The Comparison Trap Revisited

Another night, another internet cafe session in the dark.

Our wifi isn’t installed in the dorms yet (praying that it gets up tomorrow!), so a few of us are outside using our laptops in the nippy air. It may seem like I’m complaining, but I kinda love it. For an hour. Then I can’t move my fingers anymore.

Waking up yesterday was hardddd. I stayed in bed for a while to answer blog comments and search for parks in Dublin where I could work out (and found this awesome link of “The 16 Best Places in Dublin to Do Your Outdoor HIIT Workouts“!). I probably won’t be getting a gym membership here, not because it’s too expensive, but because it will be expensive to pay for transit to get to the gym.

After finally rolling out of bed, a quick warmup and 100 burpees for time was all I had time for.

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I have to write down how many burpees I do per set so I don’t lose count lol

Oatmeal cookie dough cereal for breakfast!

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This weather has me smitten with Ireland so far, lemme tell ya.

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After a shower and couple hours of orientation, we broke for lunch. I made an egg sandwich with white cheddar, spinach, and mustard. The Irish mustard I found is STRONG stuff. I licked a little off the knife at first, and it stung my nose like wasabi.

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I love it though.

We had some time to kill between orientation sessions, so I took advantage of the nice day (before it started pouring later) to nap on the lush green grass on campus.

pre-nap jump on this #grand Dublin day (shoutout to @bostonu, I miss you) // #DublinMovesAndGrooves

A post shared by Alison (@alison_grooves) on

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thanks for the pic, Megan haha

Dinner last night was a simple chicken, tomato, spinach salad with hummus on top. I feel like I’ve been eating less here in Ireland, solely because I have to budget and cook for myself all the time now. Don’t get me wrong— I eat what I need, and I definitely don’t go hungry. However, now that I’m sharing a kitchen with so many people, I’m also observing how little my peers [seem to] eat.

Part of me thinks, “HOW the heck are you not starving!?” And then I get a little self-conscious over how much I eat. Example: my hefty sandwich packed with fats and protein (plus a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie) vs. the other girl’s bowl of yogurt with fruit. Yet I will certainly be more hungry than the other girls by the time dinner rolls around. “What’s wrong with me??”

But then I reel it in again.

a) I don’t know how much other girls actually eat.

b) I know how much I need.

I’ve been doing this eating/recovering/balancing thing for a little while now, and it seems to be working pretty well. So I’ll leave it at that and not let the comparison trap affect how much I eat.

Speaking of balance, a few of us walked a couple miles into Dublin city centre for gelato at Gino’s! It was raining in the evening, but that didn’t stop these ice cream lovers.

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white chocolate pistachio YUM

A lovely evening jaunt if you ask me.

Today we are off to Glendalough for a class field trip (← “Hold on to the rope, kids!”). I’m excited for a little hiking action!

THANK YOU SO DEARLY to all of you for making great suggestions for places to go around here and beyond. I am stoked to adventure everywhere and share the experiences here!

So tell me:

Has the comparison trap snuck up on you recently for anything?

What is your favorite workout outside of the gym?

What did you eat for lunch yesterday?