Never a Dull Moment

Merry Christmas!!! Happy New Year!!! I am so late in posting this!!!

I hope you all have had a joyful and peaceful Christmas, New Year, and holiday season. I am very grateful for all the blessings that God has brought about this semester and this Christmas, as He always does.

Second year of PT school is off to a fine start! This past semester was lighter in terms of work load, and that might be a reason why I enjoyed it more than others, but was also very genuinely interested in our first neurological systems course, especially since we had the privilege of working with patients every week who had actually had a stroke in their past.

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Of course, Christmas was a joyous and heartwarming celebration of our Savior’s birth! I spent lots of quality time with Madre, Pop, Ben, and Ben’s girlfriend, as well as my aunt, uncle, cousins, and John! We’ve been eating so. much. of Madre’s killer food. My arteries need a break from all of her delicious meats and all of the buttery Christmas cookies (still), but I am not that mad about the cause of the predicament.

Here’s a hodgepodge of snapshots from the latter half of the semester + Christmas! Blessed times, man. And selfies forever.

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On Christmas Eve, I meditated on His name “Emmanuel,” meaning “God with us,” and felt much gratitude for Our Creator becoming so close to us, becoming LIKE us in humanity, to be with us through every emotion and trial in this here earthly life. What Love.

Last Saturday, we drove down to Florida to stay at my parents’ vacation home for the week, and it’s been a lovely, relaxing time in this balmy Southern climate! One highlight was visiting the NASA Kennedy Space Center, which made me both awe-inspired and terrified of outer space. I wonder how people can get rockets to the moon while I can hardly get myself out of bed in the morning. Other highlights have included lots more food, my friend’s cat dressed in a sushi costume, learning how to play Settlers of Catan, and being able to walk in the Florida sunshine. My mother also gifted me a new iPhone X, so pic quality has improved!

Another collage to display the Florida fun:

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So…last year. This year. New Year. That kind of ~soft~ stuff.

There truly was never a dull moment in 2018. It was one of the most emotionally difficult years of my life. If I could guess the number of days that I cried (for better or for worse) in 2018, I’d estimate 300/365 days of the year. I’ve cried and seen others cry enough this year that at one point, a drop of water rolling down the side of my WATER BOTTLE provoked sadness in me because of its mimicry of a tear rolling down someone’s cheek. HAHAHA #melodramatic.

But you bet your bottom dollar those tears came with a lot of growth. I learned…

…how to communicate better, in a way that is both loving and straightforward/sometimes brutally honest. 

…how to better make decisions for myself.

…to allow myself to be uncomfortable and to not push away the feelings of loneliness or brokenheartedness, no matter how major or minor those feelings are, because the Lord makes Himself KNOWN in those feelings.

…forgiveness.

…to care a little less about what other people think.

…to be very comfortable in my own body through its ups and downs, ins and outs, gains and losses.

…God works legit miracles in my own life and the lives of my loved ones.

…a heck of a lot about physical therapy.

…the beauty of a man and a woman laying down their lives for one another in marriage (@Rachel and Austin).

…gratitude truly is the will of the God (1 Thessalonians 5:18), and it always brings a lot of light and clarity to life.

Although some of the non-dull moments of 2018 were quite difficult and painful, there were many moments that made my heart SOAR with joy. Instagram has some evidence of  the latter:

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hearts that are His #retreat #totustuus

A post shared by Alison (@alison_grooves) on

In 2019, I’d like there to be “never a dull moment” as well. Even in the monotony of work and life, it’s impossible for there to be a dull moment when there is so much that can be extracted from the moment — so many things for which to be grateful, so many ways to remain in His humble and simple love.

Hopefully the non-dull moments are more joyful than not, but whatever the weather, I am HERE FOR IT. Because God is good all the time.

Have a fabulous weekend! We are hittin’ the road back to NY already tomorrow!

So tell me:

What were some of the never-dull moments of 2018 for you?

What did you do for Christmas/the holidays/New Year?

What are you excited for in 2019?

 

 

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Out of Blogging Shape

Merry Christmas!!! I hope you all had a fantastic day with loved ones yesterday!

Six months ago, you wouldn’t have to ask me once to remember to blog, but currently, I feel as though I’ve fallen out of “blogging shape”. Several friends have had to remind me that I could utilize my break from school to blog more, and I just respond by saying, “…Huh. You’re right. I almost forgot I had a blog.”

Part of the reason I’ve been hesitant to bite the bullet and blog more frequently again (besides grad school busyness finally dying down and my subsequent desire to do absolutely nothing) is that I feel like I have too much I could blog about. As I both implicitly and explicitly described in my traditional end-of-semester blog post, I have learned oodles of academic lessons and life lessons alike; I could probably write a short novel about everything that swirls around my head these days.

But as I would do when getting back into physical shape, I’ll ease into blogging shape again by starting light and slow. Let’s start with a recap of Christmas break so far.

(Also, I’m running out of media storage space on WordPress, and since your girl doesn’t have the time nor the money to upgrade to WordPress Premium just for extra photo storage, we’re gonna work with collages. Not ideal, but better than nothing!)

Christmas collage

We made it to balmy Florida last Friday, feeling climate-confused (i.e. hot and cranky) carrying our heavy winter coats out of the airplane and into the humidity of Orlando. I cannot complain about the 70 degree temperatures and blue skies down here though 😀

Most of our meals have been Asian home-cooked meals made by Madre. Everything from pho to spring rolls to sticky rice with Laotian sausage to Korean galbi jjim (aka the best beef dish I ever did taste). She snuck in steak with blue cheese sauce one night too, and that was SOULFUL. I love cooking for myself in Boston, but ain’t nobody got time for steak over there.

Other things I’ve eaten include oatmeal (classic), Cheetos (childhood fave), avocado egg toast (classic), fried bananas (omg), salads (nutrition), and fried pork belly (LIVE UR LIFE).

Moves and grooves have come in the form of hula hooping, peddle boating (Ben gifted the boat to the fam for Christmas!), Just Dance, Wii Sports, and some outdoor workouts.

Side note: If you peddle boat fast enough, it’s a decent butt workout. Should I peddle boat to a spin class playlist??

We technically started Christmas Day on the dot at 12am with midnight Mass, which was gloooooorious! Ladies dressed in red, trumpets blasting (legit trumpets were used during Mass, so fun), joyful spirits, and Jesus in the manger. UGH.

I also ate an embarrassing number of my aunt’s homemade cookies to celebrate. 🙂

After sleeping in, we ate brunch and then FaceTimed many of our family members for a couple hours. I fried some bananas for the masses and did 100 burpees for time and for… fun (?) before we headed to our family friends’ house for Christmas dinner!

The top left corner photo of the collage shows just a little bit of what we ate. Everyone’s mother is such a good cook!! Options included pot roast, galbi jjim that Madre made, sweet and salty ribs, pancit malabon (Filipino noodle dish), peanut oxtail with eggplant and bok choy, asparagus, and loads of white rice as the base for all that goodness. Dessert included fried bananas, brownies, and pistachio muffins. #blessed and #stuffed.

The “kids” (read: all of us under the age of 27) watched a hilariously and nauseatingly cheesy Hallmark movie before we switched to Beauty and the Beast, to which we sang along with passion and enthusiasm.

Back at home, I prayed with the Christmas Day Gospel (John 1:1-18) and reflected on the truly incredible and beautiful mystery of Christmas. This quote from the former pope also struck me:

God’s sign is the baby in need of help and in poverty. Exactly the same sign has been given to us… God’s sign is simplicity… God’s sign is that he makes himself small for us. This is how he reigns.

He does not come with power and outward splendor. He comes as a baby — defenseless and in need of our help. He does not want to overwhelm us with his strength. He takes away or fear of his greatness. He asks for our love: so he makes himself a child. He wants nothing other from us than our love, through which we spontaneously learn to enter into his feelings, his thoughts, and his will — we learn to live with him and to practice with him that humility of renunciation that belongs to the very essence of love.

God made himself small so that we could understand him, welcome him, and love him…

Christmas has become the feast of gifts in imitation of God who has given himself to us. Let us allow our heart, our soul, and our mind to be touched by this fact!

— Pope Benedict XVI

And with that, I wish you a blessed week ahead, friends. I think I’m going to go on a walk (step counts always plummet by literally thousands when I’m home vs. at school), work out… and maybe study a bit (I know, I am cringing too, but I must retain information!).

I feel like I used so many parentheses in this post. *shrug*

So tell me:

How did you celebrate Christmas (or any other holiday during this season)?

Best thing you ate this week.

Have you ever gone peddle boating?

 

Hi, Summer!

What time is it!?

{Summer time! It’s our vacaaaation!}

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I told you I’ve been listening to High School Musical.

Technically, my summer vacation started two weeks ago, but I haven’t really talked about my summer plans yet.

These first few weeks have been the “vacation” portion of my summer, during which I’ve had minimal responsibilities and plenty of time to hang out with friends and family, soak up some sun, and watch people graduate.

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© Kelsey C. Photography

I’m currently living with my friend Christie for June and July before my apartment lease starts August 1. I’ve unpacked only as much as I need, and I’m trying not to invade her space too much. This means my food supply is doubling as a window display.

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My bed situation is also kinda eccentric.

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twin-sized mattress topper over a queen-sized bed

I’ll call it terraced bedding. It’ll be trendy in 15 years.

This week has been about errands, a little bit of work and adjusting to being farther from campus. I still hang out on campus during these days off, but now I’m about a one-hour walk or a 30 minute bus ride away. The walk isn’t too shabby in the mornings though!

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So far this week, I:

  • worked one day
  • went to Mass and adoration a few times

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  • moved and grooved

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I had a coupon for a free smoothie from the gym!

  • cooked

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leftover brown rice and peas + garlic roasted broccoli + chicken with salsa verde from Rachel (that I learned wasn’t actually for me to eat… we sorted it out)

  • cleaned
  • withdrew money and exchanged for quarters for laundry
  • did laundry
  • joined a book club! (It’s with some people from the Catholic Center who are staying here for the summer. We’re reading Brideshead Revisited. I’ve never been in a book club, but now I feel like a suburb soccer mom!)
  • finally got a Boston Public Library card + checked out Brideshead Revisited 

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  • blogged
  • read blogs
  • watched the Crossfit Regionals online
  • helped my friend Albert move out of his dorm
  • went pants shopping (two pairs of pants ripped in the same spot [the crotch area behind the seams!?] within a single week during finals)

Does anyone else take dressing room selfies and make specific facial expressions that your friends will be able to read, because you know you’re going to ask for their opinion on your wardrobe dilemmas?

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Face says: “I know I already have athletic pants this color, but I still want these.”

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Face says: “I’m about to branch out, so speak now or forever see me in these capris.”

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Face says: “Shift dresses are not pants but they make me feel free and beautiful.”

For the record, I bought all of the above. I also did plan on sending these photos to my friends but never did, so I don’t know if anyone else approves. But OH WELL, I like ’em.

Madre kindly paid for my pants + dress as an early birthday gift. Thank you, Madre!!

You might have noticed that the dishes in my food photos look a lot nicer. That’s because Christie has exceptional taste in home/fashion/beauty, which makes my food photos look just a little bit more aesthetically pleasing.

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GOLD silverware (goldware?)

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the square bowls are my favorite – not the most practical, but as Beyonce says, pretty hurts

So I’m here in Boston doing my thang until June 1, which is when I go home to New York for a week for Pop’s 50th birthday celebration plus some bonafide family time.

Following that, I’ll be working back at BU as a gross anatomy teaching assistant for two weeks! I need to re-study.

After that, I start PT school! We start grad classes at the end of June through mid-August. This early start is what helps us get done in 6 years instead of 7 years (total). I’m excited to start the graduate studies and become closer with the other people in my program!

In other news, I had a leftover Reese’s bunny and took this photo of me getting ready for bed last night:

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I looked like a Christmas tree, but at least I was…

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I like to think I do important things with my time.

So tell me:

What are your summer plans?

What is something daring you’ve added to your wardrobe?

Have you ever been in a book club?

13 States in the Past Week

It’s like I’ve traveled through colonial America.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Habari Gani, and happy holidays ALL AROUND!!! I hope you have all enjoyed your holidays and that they have been filled with good people, conversation, fun and food 🙂

Let’s catch up! As the title suggests, I’ve been hopping all over the place ever since I arrived in (1) New York from Ireland.

Monday

On Monday morning, Madre dropped me off at the train station so I could head up to Boston for a couple days! It seems petty, but I really wanted to see Rachel and all my friends at school before finals ended and everyone scattered for winter break. 

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salad that I packed in a tupperware for a midmorning snack

(P.s. the train left from (2) Connecticut, and went through (3) Rhode Island before arriving in (4) Massachusetts.)

Upon arriving in Boston, Rachel kindly picked me up at the train station. We hugged, [almost] cried, and went straight to lunch at a bucket list place. As we do. 

Al’s Cafe was a two minute walk from the station and perfect for us hungry ladies. The item to get was the large meatball sub. Since we were quite hungry, we also ordered a large steak and onion sub. 

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But guys, when they say “large”, they actually mean MAMMOTH. These sandwiches are the size of freaking baseball bats!! Two feet, more or less.

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We split them, and although we ate a decent portion of them, they still made for a good 2.5 meals. They’re super delicious and cheap to boot!

I saw as many people as possible while in Boston, and it was just delightful. I couldn’t stop smiling.

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my friend Kelsey so sweetly made a welcome home sign for me ♥︎ ♥︎ ♥︎ 

Rachel’s Christmas gift to me was also spot on.

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Tuesday 

We tackled one more bucket list place on Tuesday morning – the Thinking Cup for a cup of coffee.

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I don’t drink coffee, so this was actually my first full cup of coffee EVER. I got a cappuccino, and it was…fine.

I had to add a little sugar to make it more palatable, but I finished the whole thing, so I didn’t dislike it.

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A tasty Greek yogurt cup for my real food.

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I had a little over 24 hours with Rachel, as I had to drop her off at the airport at 1pm, but those 24 hours were worth it!

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I was pretty sleep deprived but also antsy at this point, so I took a long walk after dropping her off, which made me feel a lot better.

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Then I went to Mass at the Catholic Center, followed by dinner with Joe and girl talk with Fiona and Kelsey before I had to head back to NY.

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‘Twas a beautiful thing to reunite with some of my favorite people in Boston, even if just for a couple days. 

Wednesday

I started my day with a Popsugar cardio-kickboxing-sculpt-something-basic-girls-do workout, and then my parents and I took my great-aunt out for a Korean lunch!

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Korean short ribs might be my favorite meat ever

In the afternoon, I had to unpack and re-pack for Florida and Texas (more to come on Texas later).

That night, we picked up my brother from work in the city and rode into the sunset for (5) Maryland, our first pit stop in our road trip to Florida. We passed through (6) New Jersey, (7) Pennsylvania, and (8) Delaware.

Thursday

My cousins came to our hotel to have breakfast with us, so I moved and grooves super quickly with this < 10 minute body weight countdown workout before going to the lobby for a nice complimentary breakfast (yay for Marriott!) with the fam.

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Always fun to see these cuties (and my aunt and uncle, who are also cute 🙂 ).

Then it was time to hit the road again! We drove through (9) Virginia before arriving in (10) North Carolina for the night. 

Cracker Barrel for dinner! One of the most satisfying meals there ever was.

complimentary biscuits and cornbread (praaaaise) + lemon pepper trout with sweet carrots, steamed broccoli, and mac and cheese + apple pecan crumble pie a la mode to share for dessert

Friday

I utilized the exercise room for a 20 minute workout before breakfast. 

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plus a hard boiled egg

The last leg of our journey included (11) South Carolina and (12) Georgia before we finally reached (13) Florida! A total of 19 driving hours later…yowza.

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lunch on the road — Madre’s fantastic Asian pork and egg sandwich on Jewish rye bread (what a tasty combo, honestly)

We celebrated our arrival with dinner at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant!

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Ben and I also watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that night, which was unfortunately quite unsatisfactory compared to the book. There’s just SO MUCH HAPPENING IN THE BOOK. 

Christmas Eve

I got to sleeeeeep innnnnn (sort of, I went to bed at 2 am).

We ate breakfast, cleaned the house, exercised, and also I massaged Madre on our new portable massage table (that I requested ever since I started giving massages in Ireland)!

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We went to the Christmas vigil Mass in the evening, which was wonderful and so joyful! The Lord has come!

Then we drove to our friends’ place for Christmas Eve feasting and fellowship.

Christmas Day

I was up and at ’em early(ish), not for presents under the tree but to prepare brunch for the family. Just as exciting, in my opinion! I made Ben my sous chef 🙂

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I made square, muffin-sized quiches, and Ben helped me make cinnamon rolls, Canadian bacon, and turkey sausage.

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individual quiches = more buttery crust surface area (I used this crust recipe and this quiche recipe as a guide)

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mini frittatas with the extra egg mixture that couldn’t fit into the quiches

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in pajamas — the best way to do Christmas brunch

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used the Minimalist Baker’s recipe!

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swoooooon

Not gonna lie, Ben and I crushed the brunch game. We were all mighty happy clams all day after this meal!

Other Christmas happenings: more massages, a nap, yoga, and a visit to Disney Springs after dinner! Disney Springs is basically like Disney’s own little city with lots of shops and restaurants.

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a couple white dudes freestyle rapping — entertaining for sure haha

We walked around for a good 2+ hours, weaving in and out of the surprisingly dense crowd.

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the decorations were beautiful! (Disney only does aesthetically-pleasing everything, or else it’s not Disney.)

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Hoooooooowee. That’s a lot of catching up to digest, isn’t it? Just like how my stomach has a lot of digesting to do from brunch yesterday STILL. More on that in tomorrow’s post though!

So tell me:

Two things you did for Christmas/the holidays this weekend!

Does your family have any Christmas/holiday traditions?

Something outrageous, funny, or exciting you witnessed in the past week.

Christmas Chronicles

Post-Christmas healthy living bloggers be like:

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And I’m still just like:

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There’s been an endless supply of food on our vacation in Canada so far, and I can’t say I’m very stressed or upset about it at all. It’s definitely a lot more sugar and salt than I’m used to in such a short period of time, but there’s some nutrition in there. Most importantly, though, there has been a lot of fellowship and joy surrounding the meals, which is the best part!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/weekend. Here’s what’s been going on with me and my family…

Christmas Eve breakfast was a festive affair! Davida’s green pancakes with pomegranate arils to complete the holiday look.

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We went to Mass on Christmas Eve since we would be traveling all day on Christmas.

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After Mass we ate dinner at our favorite Japanese restaurant for suuuuushiiii.

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note the ideal fish to rice ratio — crucial aspect

Apple pie a la mode was waiting for us at home (leftovers that we froze from Thanksgiving)!

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I WAS SO FULL. But superbly content.

I woke up at the fine time of 4:20 AM (lol) after going to sleep at midnight. I had a little bit of time before we were hitting the road, so I did a super quick workout just to get the blood flowing before being the car for 10 hours. Working out before traveling these days is about moving for the sake of moving, not for the sake of burning calories. It’s nice and a lot less self-imposed pressure.

Mom and I packed some quality road trip food, if I do say so myself. Exhibit A: Mom’s salmon, brown rice, and broccoli packets.

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When we finally arrived at my grandparents’ place, we had some good rounds of ping pong (if that doesn’t scream Chinese workout of the day, I don’t know what does).

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(Also, my grandma owns me in ping pong.)

Dinner was the first of many Chinese meals on our trip. It was absolutely delicious, MSG and all. The fish was super fresh too. Suuuuper fresh.

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I apologize if any of you are squeamish, but that fish was incredible.

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We’re staying at my fellow fit relatives’ place currently, so of course we partook in some ninja activities upon arrival.

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My bro offered to take a slow motion video of me throwing knives, and I thought that would be a fantastic idea so I could scare all my best friends back at college. ‘Twas a great Christmas overall 🙂

Leftover green pancakes the next morn’!

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My cousin and I worked up a sweat for an hour or so playing Just Dance on her Wii. That game is no joke! Like, you need a decent amount of dance skill to be fairly good at it.

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And then more food with more cousins for lunch! Followed by Mah Jong (Chinese card game) and Chinese checkers. Did I mention we’re part Chinese?

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solid combo of leftover Christmas food and fresh sushi

At night, we all attended my great uncle and aunt’s golden anniversary celebration. 50 years of marriage, how ’bout that!? Inspirational.

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It ain’t no celebration without copious amounts of food in this family. Ergo, more eating.

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Peep the full pig on the right. We like heads on our food evidently.

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Ermahgersh.

Also, ermahgersh at all the little ones and the ex-little ones who are now taller than me (not saying that much, because I’m so short).

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Yesterday morning, I woke up early-ish to get some moves and grooves in. I did a fun yet killer circuit workout that I came up with in the basement. A classic and refreshing Greek yogurt bowl was breakfast afterwards.

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My family went to Mass and lunch (more Chinese food!) from the late morning to the early afternoon. Then we drove over to my mom’s side of the family for the rest of the evening. They greeted us with more food hahaha. ha. ha.

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another great combo of Thai food and Shepherd’s pie

Surprisingly, I never felt super full or overwhelmed. I ate what I wanted, and that was that. Yes, there were more times than usual this past week when I felt stuffed, but honestly, it’s the holidays. THERE, I SAID IT. I’m using the holidays as an excuse. What are we gonna do about it?

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The best part was hanging out with my cousins though. We even unintentionally matched with our cousin telepathy.

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girls show teeth, boys do soft smiles

It was a fun evening, and now it’s late… and I’m kinda hungry again… Not even kidding.

I am beyond grateful for my family, nourishment, health, and fellowship. God is good. Joy to the World, the Lord has come!

Hope you all have a great Monday! Three more days of 2015!!!

So tell me:

Three things you did this Christmas/weekend! 

Best thing you ate over the holiday. The sushi on Christmas eve OR that super fresh fish.