Finals Week: Brought To You in Part By Bread

Ohhhhh we’re halfway there.

WHO-OA bread is everywhe-ere.

I’m halfway through finals week, but since I don’t have any exams until Thursday (plus a research paper due tomorrow), I’m feel like I’m on study autopilot. Like, “meh, time to stuff more information into my brain today.” I’m not as overwhelmed as I’ve been in past finals weeks, which is great, but it’s a little weird too.

Fortunately, there have been pockets of fun amidst the stream of studying. Many of the fun things have involved BREAD (or a variation of it).

Pita chips with spinach artichoke dip two nights in a row.

Night 1: Last Thursday I stopped by the Admissions Ambassadors (aka campus tour guides) end of the year gala to mingle for a few minutes and eat some hors d’oeuvres. I was severely underdressed since I needed to study and wasn’t planning on staying long, but I just ate the fabulous spinach artichoke feta dip in the corner, took some pics, and ducked out.

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Night 2: A few friends and I went to the senior art exhibition by the fine arts students here at BU. I was also underdressed this night because I came from work/studying/walking in the rain all day, but the art was the focus of the night anyway.

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there is so much cheese under those crackers

Friday morning bagel run with so many friends.

My friend Sarah (the girl who has been getting me to run more recently) has been wanting to have a “bagel run” with people for the longest time, and her dreams finally came true.

First, Sarah and I ran ~2 miles together and then stopped at Bruegger’s Bagels to get 16 bagels + cream cheese for everyone coming to the bagel run. We individually packed them in Ziplocs because we’re the moms of the group.

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Then we met up with 15(!) of our friends to run 1.5 miles to a dock by the river to eat bagels!

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100% brought peanut butter to share

It was such a fun little event! There’s also an epic playground by the dock, so we obviously had to play there until a dad with his two little kids came, lol.

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Moves and grooves at their FINEST, I say. Thanks, Sarah, for organizing! And thanks, friends, for coming out on a Friday morning! ♥︎

Turkey, pepper jack cheese, and mustard between bread or with crackers.

I am so into this “after school snack” type of lunch right now. Doesn’t this remind you of something you’d find in your lunchbox as a kid??

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strawberries are in season and on sale, praaaaaise

Also, there were [vegan] chicken nuggets in the dining hall. They’re not the most amazing nuggets in the world, but that breading brings me back to the good ol’ days of frozen nuggets warmed up in a toaster oven.

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BBQ sauce all the way

Blueberry cobbler a la mode.

One of the best desserts in the d-hall in a while.

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Frozen nutella hot chocolate checked off the food bucket list with Rachel.

This isn’t bread-y, but I had to include it. This frozen nutella hot chocolate is from Paris Creperie, and it was delicious!

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The best way I can describe it is: nutella frosty.

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It was also so nice getting to catch up with Rachel — it had been a while!

Free cookie cake from the Google Allo cookie truck.

Basically, if three people downloaded the new Google Allo app and started a group chat on it, this random Google Allo cookie truck gave you a free cookie cake with personalized frosting.

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Free dessert sounded good to us, so Zoe, Sarah, and I took a study break to get one. We had them write “Regina Caeli” on it, which means “Queen of Heaven” (aka Mary). Because we’re Catholic and we were coming from the Catholic Center and we like Latin.

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That same night, Sarah, Domenica and Kelsey were wearing matching America socks. Look at how adorable they are!

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I also definitely brought my yoga mat and foam roller for everyone to use #finalsweek

Sunday morning French toast with Megan.

It has been one of our goals to make perfect French toast ever since we came back from Ireland, and Sunday was finally the day. I bought some quality brioche from Trader Joe’s + used some of my thick whole wheat bread to make, if we do say so ourselves, excellent French toast. We used this method!

Megan is a purist and drizzled hers with some maple syrup and powdered sugar. She’s also a stacker.

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I Alison-ified mine with peanut butter, caramelized bananas, and maple syrup.

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We each had 2.5 slices (so, yes, I ate all of that above) with a glass o’ milk on the side, and it was blissful.

Perfect avocado toast is BACK.

I hadn’t bought avocados for a while since they weren’t on sale, but Target had 4 for $4, so I jumped on that.

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one with avocado + sriracha, one with pepper jack cheese // carrots and hummus // strawberries and Pirate’s Booty at the end

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I ♥︎ pirate’s booty

Baking peanut butter banana bread / chocolate chip banana bread with PJ and Kelsey.

So I could have been hardcore studying last night, but PJ and Kelsey invited me to join in on some pb banana bread baking… A good study break, right?

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It was worth it. And I did get some studying done still because they took on the brunt of cleanup (thanks, friends!). I also winged a random cookie recipe because we had a butter/sugar/egg white mixture that was a mistake for the banana bread recipe, and this is what turned out.

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Kinda bready oatmeal cookies that tasted decent with peanut butter sauce on top.

Bread has been fueling studying and lots of moves and grooves.

I worked out with Ben again on Saturday morning and took us through this circuit workout:

2 rounds of each set, 30 sec on, 10 sec off

  • jumping jacks / air squats / mountain climbers / high knees
  • pushup to T / skaters / squat jumps / plank
  • side jump lunges / spiderman kick through right / spiderman kick through left / tuck jumps
  • one legged burpee right / one legged burpee left / ski jumps / tricep dips
  • broad jumps / plank jacks / side plank / burpees

On Sunday, Rachel, Sarah and I went on an easy run…

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…and stretched our calves at the foot of the stairs in the Catholic Center.

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Regina Caeli 🙂

Plus some other good workouts throughout the week at the gym.

And now it is time to eat lunch, fold laundry, and STUDY. I consider blogging a non-priority, but I still think it’s good to do during hectic weeks like this. There are many good things to stop and appreciate amidst the blur of life.

So tell me:

How are finals going for you, college friends!?

How do you eat your French toast?

What is the best bread-y thing you’ve eaten recently?

Two fun things about this past week!

Alleluia!

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

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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!

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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).

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

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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.

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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 🙂

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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.

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I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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

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Then we feasted!

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

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Louis the brunch MVP

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junior ladiez

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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 🙂

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

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The rest of the week was GLORIOUS.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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there were not enough napkins for this goodness

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check that margarita in front of Rachel eyoooo

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

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donut holes with warm chocolate sauce to start

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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)…

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

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you bet we housed each of ours completely

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Sarah also surprised Rachel when she joined us for burritos 🙂

…a 2.5-hour walk through Boston…

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

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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.

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…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 🙂

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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!?

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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?

Back in Boston: Same But Different

I think yesterday was the best first day of school I’ve ever had.

And I think it’s because I felt the least anxious I’ve ever felt on a first day of school. There were still feelings of uncertainty and awkwardness in terms of the flow of my day, but there were also feelings of calm and peace. Praise God for that!

Our first day of classes here at Boston University was just one of many things that have been the same but different as I’ve settled back into my beloved Boston.

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Moving in was the same in that the ‘rents and I stopped by Super 88 for lunch after all my stuff was unloaded…

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I was so ready for my fave lemongrass chicken after driving three hours + carrying heavy things up the stairs

…but it was different in that I was moving into an apartment with kitchen things!!

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Also different — I’m not living with my fabulous roommate from the past two years, Jordan 😦 But I am with Megan, and I couldn’t be more grateful!! Rachel also lives down the street, which is a nice bonus 🙂

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I did NOT eat all that cilantro and basil in one go

I have the same bedding since freshman year, but my living space is quite different. There’s…well, space! In reality, I just didn’t overpack (for the first time ever), and I also forgot essential things like an umbrella.

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I’ve been overloaded with the same excitement that I always have when I reunite with old friends and meet new ones, but I also have a different sense of peace that I didn’t have at the start of my sophomore year. I’m not as concerned about impressing other people, and I think I have lessons in humility (← GREAT read) to thank for that.

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lunch at Panera with a friend

I am so thrilled to have FitRec again, where I can do some of the same moves and grooves I used to do last year (I ♥︎ bodyweight/luggage workouts, but equipment is fun too). At the same time though, I’m approaching FitRec with a different perspective now. I feel like I can be more creative with my workouts, since I lived without a gym for the past eight months, and I go into the gym with a “less is more” attitude. Like, I don’t need to squat, use the rower, and the BOSU ball in one workout just because they’re all there.

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Also different — Rachel convinced me to run with her. She’s training for a 10K and she’s still on her easy runs, so I can tolerate that.

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run 3 min, walk 2 min x3 // “If you can’t do that then you need to go to the doctor.” – Rachel

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Found this at FitRec on Wednesday. Peep the second line. Think I could pass for age 4?

I’m tempted to keep my same flakiness when it comes to committing to plans. “Maybe I’ll go,” said Alison always. JUST COMMIT. That is something different I want to work on. Like sleeping over at Rachel’s place on my first night here, even though I was falling asleep in my dinner beforehand.

Cooking at college is different, since I’ve always had a regular dorm and a meal plan, but that just means I can eat the same things I do at home now! It is different that I have to come to the apartment all the time now though. I almost never hung out in my room the past two years in college.

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leftover pho from Super 88 with all the herbs

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you know it 🙂

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the only plates I brought were these Rainforest Cafe ones, and I don’t know why

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my aunt’s homemade banana bread + pb

I want to attack this semester with the same diligence that got me through school up to this point, but I also want to look at my days differently. I don’t want to be busy just because everyone else is or because I want to feel like superwoman. I do want to be productive and live each day with purpose.

That may involve going on prayerful walks between classes, rather than stressing about printing the 13488705 pages of notes that everyone else already printed for gross anatomy (people went HAM, holy smokes). Also different — not freaking about what other people are doing for class.

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It’s okay if I have five or four or even three things on my to-do list. I hope to do those things well, take time to fill myself (prayer, exercise, proper meals, sleep), and take time opening my mind and heart to what others might need during their day.

I’ve always thought that I was being selfish, or at least indulgent, if I didn’t fill up my days with work, but like many a wise (wo)man has stated, we can take care of others and do a better job if we take care of ourselves. Thanks, Lyss and Jen for that reminder as well ♥︎ This doesn’t mean that we need to avoid hard, long days like they’re the plague, but allowing ourselves mental, physical and spiritual space is necessary to tackle both the good and bad days.

Lord, how can I best serve you today?

So tell me:

What are your thoughts on living each day well?

What is one thing you cooked this week?

Do you ever get overwhelmed at the gym? Or with seeing new people?

Ireland Soon, But Boston First

So much for shorter, more frequent posts.

Time got away from me as these past few days have been a whirlwind (← prepare to hear that from me for the next year or so).

I’m currently in Boston visiting friends for the week, but nothing for Ireland is packed. A week from now I will be almost 3,000 miles away from home. For four months. Hahaaaa whaaaaat.

But it has been oh so worth it to hop from one thing to the next though. Seeing friends in Boston has been lovely ♥︎

Highlights from these past four days:

FRIDAY

It was my last day of work at the rehab hospital, which was bittersweet for sure. This job that I almost didn’t get turned out to be one of the most eye-opening, enriching, and challenging experiences I have ever encountered. It has also reassured me that I do love the field of physical therapy *sigh of relief*.

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my “I’m running late on my last day of work” breakfast

The kind folks at work bought me lunch from a local deli that they had been raving about all summer long. I got the “Nello burger”, which was a chicken burger with provolone, broccoli rabe, cherry peppers, and balsamic glaze. Very tasty!

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I also snacked on some corn bread that I baked for everyone. Then they gave me the coolest gift a future PT (or any health pro) could ask for:

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*angels singing*

DOPE SCOPE.

Other than taking blood pressure with it, I’ll just stare at the stethoscope and talk about the future with it. Maybe name it.

Later that night I did a quick 16 minute workout, ate a leisurely dinner with our family friends who were staying with us for the night, and packed for Boston, which took way longer than I expected; I totally overestimated my ability to pack for dorm life for a week.

I was also scrambling to ask friends for a place to stay, because I am a bad planner/great procrastinator. I promised to be an indentured servant to them. (Thank you so much, Christina and Lauren!! ♥︎)

SATURDAY

I was a little stressed and very exhausted on Friday night, which is a perfect combo for insomnia for me. -_-  I got a wee four hours of sleep before we headed off to Boston the next morning, but God is generous and allowed me to feel surprisingly awake. I even drove the first shift!

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peach banana overnight oats in a jar made my life feel slightly more stable

We arrived in (HOT) Boston at around 10 am, where we helped my friend move into MIT. Their buildings are asymmetrical and unconventional, just like the talented and off-the-cuff students who attend MIT.

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who needs rectangular windows when you can pretend you’re in an airplane?

Later on, the fam hit the road again for home. I dropped off my stuff at my friends’ apartment and grabbed lunch at Crispy Crepes Cafe. They serve crepes galore and… Middle Eastern food? A combo that I think should exist in more places.

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I happily ran into my friend, Lauren, and her mom, so I hung out with them for a bit. Lauren and I went to meet her friends at Super 88 later, where I picked up some dinner (which I knew would make for a really cheap three meals!).

Just look at how beautiful Lauren is for a second:

Alison wants to go to Canada and would be ready for bed instantly if she could have one superpower and I love her.

A post shared by Lauren Gustainis (@lgustainis) on

I told her that our face shapes are extremely similar. Aren’t they?

Dinner in the apartment:

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I thought about seeing friends later that night, but my body wanted to sleep at 8pm after a night of sleeplessness before. I tried to sleep at 8, but I only quasi-napped for an hour before giving up on sleeping (damn insomnia). I played around on my phone and read blogs for an hour or so before closing my eyes again, when I finally fell asleep.

 SUNDAY

I woke up, ate breakfast, and then took a nap right after breakfast. That’s the way to live a Sunday!

I brought my own oatmeal, peanut butter and a few bananas for the week, so I mashed those all together for breakfast. I found some almond milk in my friend’s fridge, so I poured a bit of that on top.

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But as soon as I took my first bite, I thought, “Nooooope.” Spoiled almond milk. I had to dump the whole thing 😦 Apparently, expiration dates on almond milk don’t mean anything if it’s been open for a while anyway. I didn’t sniff-test it, and I paid for it.

Take two, no milk:

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I’ve eaten weirder things.

After breakfast and a nap, I worked out at my favorite place by the river. I did a random bodyweight strength-plyo-cardio workout that was hard, but it felt great to move!

I showered quickly and then headed to the Catholic Center for Mass. I got to see and hug many friends there, which made me very happy.

Lunch at Gyro City with some of said friends:

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I demolished the whole chicken gyro (with a honey mustard sauce, ooo!), and I must have used ten napkins. I need to work on jaw maneuvers to minimize the amount of food I get on my face. I also wouldn’t be surprised if I have a hand-eye coordination deficit, so..

Later on, I met up with Lauren for some coffee shop chat.

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blueberry ginger scone

We watched a few episodes of The Office while I answered some blog comments and emails. Then it was Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen time, with a bunch of inspiring young people, including Lauren!

I got back to the room at around 9:30, where I ate another third of the Super 88 meal while FaceTiming Rachel (she’s coming today!!!).

MONDAY

MOVING DAY!! I helped Lauren and Christina move their stuff from their summer apartment to their apartment for the school year. It was sweaty and ridiculous, but it was a good workout at least? Teamwork makes the dream work, as well.

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the haphazard life of college students

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puppy therapy

Lunch was the last third of the Super 88 meal. WHAT A DEAL. I just ate it with a box of spring mix that I bought on Saturday.

My friend, Evan, brought me some of his homemade yogurt, which served as a delightful post-move-in snack. The yogurt is so thick and creamy, and I loved that it wasn’t super sweet, even with the raspberry preserves. Thanks again, Evan!

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he even put it in a hipster mason jar

Later that evening, I met up with my peanut butter pal, Christina (@foodietunes)! Check out her apartment view:

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ARE WE KIDDING.

The inside of her apartment is also beautiful. But the best part of it all was seeing her beautiful face and getting to catch up!

After that, I took a much needed shower before eating dinner with Lauren and our friend, Ben, at Chipotle. My second time at Chipotle EVER.

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I tried sofritas for the first time, and it was good!

When I’m in college, I don’t think about food as much, because I kinda just need to eat, go places, do things, and see people. Eating is necessary and is good for conversation, but no one really dwells on food when we’re all having a good time or super busy, which is nice and different from being at home by myself when I have too many options and opportunities to eat whatever I want.

Lauren taught us how to play a board game called King of Tokyo, which I won! (Beginners’ luck, or perhaps as Ben insisted, “The game favored you from the start.” It’s because I’m Asian.)

Lauren also let me use one of her face masks and nose strips, because seeing gunk come out of your face is girly and fun! Girl talk 1also always comes on the side 🙂

TUESDAY

After another weird breakfast, I said goodbye to Lauren, because she went home for the week before school starts for them next week.

I exercised a little bit in the room and started this blog post before heading to Mass. I got a nice footlong from Subway for lunch to serve as two meals (#bargaining) and ate it by the river.

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roast beef, pepper jack cheese, spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomato, and honey mustard

Ahhhh I love this place!!

I went back to the Catholic Center to say hi and bye to Joe, since he stopped by for a bit. He promised me he would eat his vegetables in seminary, so I’m saying it here and holding him to it.

Then I asked my friend Nico if he wanted to come to the gym with me, and he agreed! We didn’t work out together, but at least we were working out in solidarity.

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Nico: “I look terrified.”

I hadn’t squatted something heavier than 36# in a long time, so I did Jen’s squat burpee ladder workout with 95#. I followed that up with some single leg deadlift with bent over rows, cleans and presses, jump lunges with a 10# plate, leg press, and kettlebell swings.

I ate an apple with peanut butter while typing up the rest of this post. Then I ate the second half of my Subway footlong for dinner (another great deal!).

Froyo and an evening walk with Nico, since all our other friends were either working or not here in Boston yet. But mostly since froyo and a walk with Nico sounded like a nice idea!

I am beyond thrilled to be here with friends. It’s also fun seeing all the baby freshmen getting stoked for their college journey (I say as if I’m thirty years older than them). I’m going to miss this city dearly this semester, but I’m excited for the adventures that God has in store for both myself and all my friends in Boston + family at home.

So tell me: 

College students: Does being with your college friends change your relationship with food in any way? 

Do you know how to use a stethoscope? Please tell me about other uses.

What is your favorite “bargain” meal purchase? Super 88 and Subway are pretty great options, I’ve found.