Firsts

I’ve been kickin’ and screamin’ on this planet for 21 years!

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real still frame from a home video circa May 1997

Today I’m celebrating 21 years of life, legal consumption of alcohol in the United States, aaaaand the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

Besides my first legal drink in the US though, this weekend has been filled with many firsts.

First time…

…listening to Harry Styles’ new album. I love his song, “Sweet Creature”!

…being seriously concerned that I could need hip surgery. When I was walking in pain yesterday, I thought I could very well have a labral tear (which would be pretty bad), but the more I moved, the more I ruled that out. I’m going to guess that I just strained some inner thigh muscles, but I’ll report back after a few more days of rest.

…doing a workout in my summer apartment. I made it low impact for my legs + for the downstairs neighbors.

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3 rounds:

  • 20 alternating single leg slide out bridges
  • 20 split squats each leg
  • 20 decline plank kicks
  • 10 single leg bench sits to twist each leg
  • 10 elevated pike pushups

…eating at Pino’s Pizza and White Mountain Creamery! I had a lazy day with Ben and Casey all Memorial Day since it was pretty dreary outside. When we finally got hungry for real food, we took a walk for pizza and ice cream, because #America.

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split a Napoli pizza (grilled chicken, broccoli, garlic)

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apple pie + banana oreo (← sounded weird, but it was SO TASTY!)

I am a big fan of White Mountain Creamery now. Not a fan that it’s filled with Boston College pride (Boston University’s arch nemesis), but that can be overlooked when it comes to friggin’ good ice cream.

…watching John Mulaney standup comedy and Zootopia. I really liked both!

…showering in the gym. I’ve been going to the campus gym for three years now, and I’ve never showered in the locker rooms. Since I live kinda far from campus now, I can’t just go home and shower in a snap, so I packed a huge duffel bag to carry around all day and finally showered at the gym.

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this has nothing to do with my gym shower, but this is what I ate yesterday morning — Kylie’s banana pudding for breakfast

…handling cadavers. For our first gross anatomy teaching assistant meeting yesterday, we had to take care of the cadavers a little bit, and it was quite an adventure! Fluids. Fluids everywhere.

…eating tapas in Boston. For my birthday celebration, my friends joined me at Barcelona (the restaurant, not the Spanish city) for tapas and sangria. The tapas were ON POINT. Perfect for sharing with a big group!

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My favorites were the beef empanadas, croquetas (fried balls of ham and melty cheese WOW), and spiced spinach and chickpeas.

…drinking [almost] legally! Ben apparently told the waitress to bring me a celebratory drink at midnight, but she brought it at 11pm without carding me, soooo I just drank it before my official birthday. Thus, turning 21 at midnight was rather anticlimactic, but it was still fun!

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sparkling wine with a little candle at the bottom woohoo!

I drank ~1/3 of the sparkling wine. Me: “Alcohol makes me too full. I’d rather just have room for more tapas.”

…drinking white sangria. We ordered a pitcher for the table after we finished our tapas, and holy smokes this was the best alcoholic beverage I’ve ever consumed (I’ve drunk legally in Canada and Ireland before)! I don’t love alcohol in most forms, but this was delicious. The hint of pineapple perhaps?

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…taking a shot of brandy. Ben, Casey, Lauren and I had a short, low-key after party at Ben’s place, during which we grooved, ate cookie dough and each took one brandy shot before going home.

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Immediately after, I said, “HATE THAT.”

I’m happy to report that I remember absolutely everything that happened last night. Thank you so much to my friends who came out late on a Tuesday night to celebrate with me! ♥︎

…making a smoothie in a Ninja blender. This morning (read: a couple hours ago at 11 am), I blended an overnight oat smoothie in Christie’s huge Ninja blender. What a powerful machine!

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oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, pinch of salt, yogurt, almond milk, peanut butter, spinach + cereal and sunflower seeds


Thank you to everyone who has wished me a happy birthday and for all those who pray for me. Most of all, thank you to all those who have touched my life in some way during these past 21 years. God is good. ♥︎

How rare and beautiful it is to even exist. — Sleeping at Last, “Saturn”

So tell me:

What is the best thing you ate this weekend? (← did I already ask that on Monday?)

Any “firsts” this week?

What is your favorite alcoholic beverage if you drink?

Five Minute Friday: Why I’m Taking a Break From Instagram

I am in yet another state right now!

Greeting from San Antonio, TX! As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m currently at a Catholic students’ conference called SEEK. I’m drafting this post on Monday before I leave though, so I may or may not be having a good time. Hopefully the former!

I posted on Instagram last week that I’m taking a break from the beloved social media platform for a while. In all honesty, it was a long time coming. I love Instagram, but that’s exactly why I needed to let it go for a bit. I’ve talked about my woes with social media on here before, so why didn’t I just quit it finally!? 2016 was the year (yes, 2016— this was not a “resolution”)!

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If you struggle with depression, anxiety, low self esteem, or any sort of negativity AND you use social media often (or if you hate to love and love to hate your phone being with you all the dang time): 1) Know that you're not alone. 2) Watch the video titled "Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace" on YouTube. It's 15 minutes and 100% worth your time. 3) Consider deleting all your social media icons off your phone and logging out or even deactivating your accounts for a while. Try it with me because maybe we need it (actually I KNOW I do). 4) Now what!? Pray. Move. Move in a way that makes YOU feel alive, not in a way that makes someone else look cool or fit or accomplished. Look up at the sky. Read. Think. Listen, learn, try something new. Re-learn to be patient. Let God come to you in the silence. P.S. Social media is not bad, but too much of a good thing can do more damage than good over time. I don't know when I'll be back here, but you can still find me on the blog, which I consider my journal. P.P.S. Happy feast of the Holy Family ❤ P.P.P.S. Until 2017! 🎉

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This very choppy vlog explains more (p.s. I recorded this while still in FL…sorry for all this time warp confusion):

if only my hair was still super short…with this pink t-shirt, I would have completed the Dora the Explorer look!

If you want to watch the Simon Sinek (not Simon Sinews like I said in the video haha) talk, click here!

Although I’m staying away from Instagram primarily right now, I also deleted the Facebook icon from my phone as well. Another goal of mine is to detach myself from my phone, so all social media is outta there.

I hope your first week of 2017 kicked butt! Have a great weekend, and I’ll talk to you when I get back to New York!

Wait first, can we look at this omelette I made earlier this week?

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Wait for it.

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CHEEEEEEESE. I made this baby with two eggs, one egg white, a splash of milk, salt and pepper + spinach, onion, parsley, Canadian bacon, cheddar cheese AND gouda cheese. Avocado toast on the side 🙂

So tell me: 

Do you ever get so sick of social media or having your phone on you all the time?

Bread, Butter, Cheese and Sugar

The diet of champions.

I did something spontaneous, and it worked out tremendously! I had been wanting to have a wine and cheese night for the longest time this semester, so I finally reached out to my peers, asking if they were down for such an event this weekend.

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Long story short: They were down, and we all pulled together for a fabulous wine and cheese night!

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A few of us picked up some artisan cheeses from Sheridan’s Cheesemonger in city centre, and it was surprisingly so inexpensive! Other people picked up some cheeses from the local grocery store too, which were just as delicious. The selection included gouda, some aged cheddars, blue, goat, brie (so much brie), and chive + onion cheddar.

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What you don’t see here is the baked brie in puff pastry that a couple girls made. *drool* You can see at the top right of my plate below that I got a nice hunk of it though!

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I went back for the equivalent of, like, five more plates. I also learned that I hate wine. I almost choked every time I swallowed it.

We played Heads Up and Sardines afterward, because we’re quasi-adults. Such a fun night!

Other eats recently have involved a load of carbs, butter, and sugar. All the things that are demonized by our culture, but hey, when in Ireland…

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afternoon scones with butter and jam are my favorite

I’m aware of the general amount of carbs and fat I’m consuming here, and sometimes I’m tempted to be bothered by the fact, but I never feel overloaded or gross with the treats I’m eating. Granted, I don’t always feel like a spring chicken after a heavy meal (i.e. wine and cheese night), but I also don’t feel deprived or restricted, which is good for the mind AND body.

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I still love green things

If we’re being 100% honest, sometimes I still look at my stomach and think, “I know I could do better with my diet.” But then I remember, “What would that do for me? Would I really be happier with a little less fat? Is that where my worth is?”

And then the rational side of Alison comes back. Of course my worth is not in my body. I’m feeling energetic, lively, and grateful, and it is my duty to radiate that outwards, not to focus it inwards for some construction of “perfection”.

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Irish oat “flapjacks” (aka oats, butter, golden syrup, and brown sugar — DELICIOUS)

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Megan shared some of her garlic bread with me, and it was so satisfying

This isn’t anything we haven’t heard before (from myself or from the rest of social media), but reminders are always needed.

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I baked something! Some banana bread baked oatmeal for easy breakfasts this week.

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still going strong with the pb banana for breakfast #forever

Another sign that recovery is always subtly ongoing: I used to love having pasta for dinner in middle school, but then disordered eating shut that down in high school, and even in college to an extent. A bowl of pasta for any meal was subconsciously ingrained in my mind as “too many carbs” for so long that I generally avoided it, with or without deliberate thought about my carb intake. It’s not that I wouldn’t eat a bowl of pasta (trust me), I just wouldn’t consider it first on a menu or cook it for myself, even if I was craving it.

Silliness!!!

It had been a long time, but I bought a bag of pasta and cooked it up with some beef and spicy tomato sauce on Saturday night. Plus some unpictured roasted broccoli!

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*punches the air because it was so good*

Similar sentiments about white bagels, actually, now that I think about it. Again, I have no actual “fears” of these foods anymore, but I just recently realized that I don’t often get them for myself, and for no good reason. ‘Cause I really love pasta and bagels!!

(I’m saying all this not because I’m struggling, but because honesty is the best policy. I want to reassure others that having these thoughts/realizations, even after recovery, is still normal. We can kick ’em to the curb though 🙂 )

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brunch after Mass at Metro Cafe yesterday: toasted bagel with smoked salmon, guacamole, and rocket salad

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Speaking of Mass, the church we went to yesterday was gorgeous, and the choir was phenomenal! It was the best Mass experience I’ve had in Ireland so far. The church was St. Teresa of Avila on Clarendon St.

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After brunch, we were walking back home when I spotted Murphy’s Ice Cream. I squealed.

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It was €5 for this tiny cup, but it was a special tiny cup of ice cream. I mean, butterscotch whipped cream? C’mon. Definitely a better deal than a €5 shot.

Two last spontaneous things I did:

I RAN. 4.5 miles! I haven’t run that far in…a year? Two years? It was beautiful outside, and I was too sore to do any strength/HIIT stuff, so running was the perfect way to move and groove on Friday.

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Second spontaneous thing was cooking this weird rice dish last night with leftover white rice, tikka masala sauce, spinach, and two eggs.

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it was alright

Hope you all have a wonderful week! We have a couple finals and then a 10-day mid-semester break!!

So tell me:

Do you like wine?

What did you do this weekend? 

How are we feeling about carbs, butter, and sugar these days?

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.

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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?