Taking a Piece of Last Year Into the Next

I rang in my new year watching the Times Square countdown on TV while eating celery with hummus, drinking (sparkling) watered down pomegranate juice, and making overnight oats.

And I gotta be honest, I was pretty darn content with all of it (except the watered down pom juice; that was disgusting).

Here we are in 2018! Oooh I just realized that this is an Olympic year in PyeongChang! (Had to google that.) I doubt I’ll be able to watch any of it this year though, since it’ll be happening right at the beginning/middle of the semester :/

Here’s another collage of the past few days’ happenings. I’ll call this collage: “Food and fun, feat. the back of my head.”

new year collage

Breakfasts have still been of the peanut butter banana variety, and I don’t foresee that changing in 2018. Top left is an overnight oat smoothie blended with spinach in the morning, and below that is a Greek yogurt bowl with banana, cinnamon, honey and peanut butter.

I think breakfast with pb and banana will always make me feel…at home. It’s something I enjoy, and it gives me a sense of familiarity. Like, “Shhhhh, everything will be okay. There’s pb and banana here.”

DSC_0588

throwback pic from when I was in FL 3 years ago

The other day I was running around the neighborhood because it was gorgeous here in FL last week (now it’s all gloomy and blah). I had run 3 miles and was mentally prepared to go for another 1.5 mile loop, but just as I was passing by the house, Madre called me and asked, “Where are you? We’re eating lunch now. I made tuna tataki!” Running more vs. eating fresh tuna? The latter won, and boy was I happy about it. Thanks, ma!

I’ve been into @tanyapoppet‘s workouts these past few days. I’ve always loved her creativity and minimal use of equipment / time. I also feel like she performs at a level that is more advanced than my current level, but it’s still manageable and attainable. I did three rounds of this workout one night at, like, 11pm + this one yesterday. Good grief, I have not done these kinds of complex moves in a while, and my two-cookie-a-day lifestyle this past week did not make the workout easier.

tenor-2

(Top middle photo on collage): On New Years Eve, Mom and Pop took our family friends (and me) out to Crazy Buffet for some MSG-loaded fun. Despite it being mainly an Asian buffet, my favorite thing I got was probably the mac & cheese and the coconut tapioca pudding HAHA.

(Bottom left corner photo on collage): Yesterday I made crab cakes using this recipe, and they were fabulous. The only setback was that I had to make fake Old Bay Seasoning, since I forgot to pick some up from the store and didn’t feel like getting a whole container for one recipe. We had about half of the spices used in Old Bay available in our pantry, but I had to grind up whole bay leaves with my fingers as best as I could. It was a pitiful sight, I’m sure.

Lots of Mass and prayer have been going down, as always. A lot of my prayer has guided me towards what I talked about in my last post — living for God and saying yes to Him today.

this year as with every year, Lord: Thy will be done

A post shared by Alison (@alison_grooves) on

I’m not a resolution person, because I dunno…December 31st was just as important and opportune for change / improvement as January 1st. Rather than making a new resolution for 2018, I think I want to take what I learned from 2017 with me into 2018, so that those lessons can foster growth in new ways.

5947eaa20bcef67f4070e478-o

hahaha Spartan Race with my friend Ben was definitely a highlight of 2017

What do I mean? Well, the best thing I learned in 2017 was to say yes to God every day in the littlest ways. I know the basic things that God wants me to do: Love Him. Love others. Do my best in school. Take care of myself so that I can take care of others. 

I learned that persistently and consistently saying yes to any little thing that goes towards one of those things has somehow, by the grace of God, made me a better person (I think).

For example: Making someone feel important and heard by turning my shoulders squarely and intently towards the person while he/she is talking to me, instead of looking semi-annoyed and staying half-turned toward my laptop (do you know what I’m talking about???)… Even saying yes to little things like that matters.

Being obedient to God in all the tiny things has made life richer, because even mundane details become meaningful and even beautiful.

Thus, I just want to continue practicing saying yes to Him all day, every day in 2018 (and forever).

I neverrrr knowwww iffff anything I sayyyy makes senseeeee. Hopefully it does.

Happy First Tuesday of 2018! An occasion for some champagne, yes?

So tell me:

How did you ring in 2018?

Are you a resolution person? If yes, what are your resolutions? If not, do you do anything else going into the new year?

What is a food that always makes you feel “at home”?

Advertisements

Today.

This blog post is not even about today, LOL.

In its purest cliché description, this post is about living in the moment. The theme stems from the plethora of changes — mental, intellectual, spiritual, physical (← idk, maybe less so), emotional — I’ve experienced in these past few months.

I’m the kind of person who takes her sweet time (I’m the most inefficient person I know) to try to do things “right,” whatever that means.

I face normal, everyday questions:

Should I study by myself or with classmates? 

Do I take the train or Uber or walk?

What should I pack for dinner? Should I buy dinner instead? 

Should I listen to Tori Kelly or Young the Giant in the 4 minutes I have before I arrive at my destination?

And then there are some bigger questions:

Why has God placed this person/friendship/relationship in my life?

What are my professional goals?

Where will I be a year from now?

What path do I need to take in order to best serve God for the rest of my life?

What is the right thing to do so that everyone is happy in the long run?

It is these latter questions that wrack my brain 5/7 days a week, because I don’t have a single dang clue what the answers are. I have a hard enough time coming to a decent answer for the everyday questions; the big questions just sort of debilitate me.

Of course, I’m sure nearly everyone feels the same way that I do about big questions regarding the future. How can anyone be sure about the future? But somehow I still forget that the only thing I can do is love and serve God today. Our words and actions today do indeed have ramifications for the future, but your mind, body and spirit can’t be anywhere but here today. For our lives are made up of days.

SO TODAY IS GOOD AND IMPORTANT AND CANNOT BE AVOIDED SO LIVE IT, DANG IT.

That yelling was mostly for myself. A self pep talk you could say. I didn’t mean to yell at you.

All that said, here are some moments with my family that I tried to live fully in the moments they were happening.

Image-1-2

Ben and I took our parents out to Hemingway’s for dinner as a Christmas present, since the best gift we can really give to each other at this point in our lives is quality time and food. I got {absurdly expensive} crab cakes, which were delightful with the coconut grits underneath and perfectly cooked asparagus on top.

The rosemary sourdough rolls at the start were also fantastic, but they were no cheese biscuits (the complimentary bread that was served when we first went to the restaurant three years ago). RIP cheese biscuits. I will dream about thee forever.

We all split calamari as an appetizer and key lime pie for dessert as well. Both hit all the right spots.

IMG_1199

I’ve been peddle boating with Madre! There have been alligator sightings in the lake in the past, so I’m always a little on edge about that, but thus far we have not been eaten.

Image-1

On Wednesday morning, Madre, Ben and I (Pop was working from home — man of the year) went to Keke’s Breakfast Cafe for…breakfast, naturally. It’s apparently extremely popular, so we worked up an appetite and waited approximately 25 minutes for a table. ‘Twas worth it though because just LOOK at the food.

Ben got the apple cinnamon stuffed French toast with home fries and sausage; Mom got regular French toast with eggs and sausage; and I got the largest blueberry pancake in the world with eggs and {bomb} bacon.

^^^True story. I ordered two pancakes at first, but then the waiter asked, “Are you sure?? Have you seen the size of our pancakes? If I eat two then I pass out.”

In my head at first I thought, “You don’t even know me.” But then I was like #humility and #dontbegreedy, so I ordered one pancake instead. Good thing, because the pancake was like a literal 9-inch cake in height and diameter, guys. I had to take 1/3 of it home. I NEVER LEAVE PANCAKES BEHIND USUALLY.

But it was a large, high-quality pancake. So fluffy and buttery. High recommend. Butter and Aunt Jemima required.

IMG_1207

^^^Random: Saw this at Publix. This is bad. I hate this headline, and I don’t hate many things. If you lose 10 lbs in 48 hours, something is WRONG.

IMG_E1169

To end on a positive note though, God is good all the time.

And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I

— “So Will I” by Hillsong United

(if you wanna hear something beautiful today, listen to ^^this song, especially the Tori Kelly version)

Enjoy today 🙂

So tell me:

Thoughts about living today.

Waffles, French toast, or pancakes?

What is something ridiculous you’ve seen recently?

 

I’m a Slytherin!?

APPALLED.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-11-25-53-pm

I was appalled when these Pottermore results showed up on my screen. I chose a snowy owl as my pet, guys. HOW.

I guess I should just own it, because apparently I’m in the “coolest and edgiest house” in Hogwarts. Slytherins are also “frequently misunderstood,” which might be fairly accurate for me.

The day after I took this quiz, I was telling my friends: “I can’t believe I’m a Slytherin.”

Friend: “How come you’re wearing black and green right now then?”

*Look down at my green Ireland t-shirt and black athletic pants*

Touche.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m thoroughly obsessed with Harry Potter now. Megan and I finished the second book and movie last week, and now we’re well into number three. HELP (but don’t, because I’m having so much fun).

Besides becoming completely immersed in the wizarding world of HP, other good things have happened in the past week, like KaisaFit liking my Instagram video! She’s one of my favorite fitness influencers of all time, and I couldn’t help but smile when she liked one of my videos that I hashtagged #KaisaFitxAsics for one of her giveaways. No shame.

img_5604

She also liked every other video with that hashtag, so I’m not special, but I won’t let that fact steal my excitement.

On Saturday, a few of us went on a Ring of Kerry bus tour! We started our day super early at 5am so that we could walk to the bus pickup in city centre. Thankfully, we had 2.5 hours to nap as we drove to Killarney.

img_5639img_5644

It had snowed a few days before we visited, which is rare for Ireland. It made the mountains look even more beautiful!

img_5647img_5649

The Toc Waterfall in Killarney National Park was my favorite stop of all. The moss-covered trees looked magical (HP on the mind, ya know), and the waterfall itself was bigger than I imagined!

img_5655img_5652img_5664img_5656

water and green things— a Slytherin’s dream.

img_5688

The tour was a lot of sitting on the bus with many photo stops that ranged from 10-45 minutes each. The scenery was gorgeous for sure, but I don’t think it was my favorite bus tour in Ireland. Connemara a couple weeks ago might have won it for me.

img_5666img_5669

always climbing trees

img_5672

Inch beach in Dingle

img_5674

img_5758

img_5683

We had a long lunch break in Killarney, so Megan and I walked around the charming city (reminded us a lot of Galway!) and bought…

img_5671

DESSERT.

We both got this super sweet sticky toffee caramel apple muffin, which was delicious. I very much desired a glass of milk to go with it, but life wasn’t bad without it.

(p.s. we had already eaten real lunch on the bus at 10 am due to early morning wakeup.)

It was a long trip, mostly due to travel time between places, but I enjoyed it! I think that was my last trip within Ireland, and I’m glad I went.

The weather has been frigid these days. Usually I wouldn’t mind, but I’ve had to wear only my Toms outside because I’m pretty sure I have retrocalcaneal bursitis, which causes my heel to hurt when I wear any tight shoes, such as boots or sneakers. Toms give me just enough room for my inflamed bursa to breathe.

img_5634

It’s nice to work in a physiotherapy clinic, where people can take care of me and educate me on the job 🙂 Google is also great.

Luckily, Megan offered me her bag of frozen vegetables to ice my heel like the good friend she is.

I have been advised to not do high impact exercise for a while, and to even take it easy on lower body weight bearing for a couple days. I’ve been mostly compliant. Sadly though, walking is becoming more and more painful, and I generally walk with a slight limp now.

It’s so hard to avoid walking though! How else am I supposed to go to Mass and Sunday brunch!? (The bus, yes…)

img_5691

After Mass this past Sunday, Megan and I went to Whitefriar Grill for another Sunday brunch. This one was a WINNER. She got the classic eggs benedict, and I got the crab cake eggs benedict to compare with the one I got at San Lorenzo’s last weekend.

img_5690

This was our favorite savory brunch so far. The crab cakes in my dish were a lot fresher at Whitefriar than at San Lorenzo’s IMO. And that hollandaise was phenomenal. Megan agrees!

We also got free watermelon bellinis because I “checked in” on Yelp.

img_5694

“We don’t always drink, but when we do, it’s for free.” – Megan

We didn’t even finish them.

Later on Sunday night, Megan and I made some amazing focaccia bread, if I do say so myself. Megan comes up with the best ideas. Last weekend she suggested scones, which were a hit. This week, focaccia was another fabulous treat.

img_5695

We made it using this recipe, plus rosemary, thyme, garlic, and caramelized onions. ‘Twas a pillow of olive-oily, aromatic goodness.

img_5697

fresh out of the oven ♥︎ 

We’ll be in Boston opening up our scone and focaccia storefront soon.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!!

So tell me:

Which1 Hogwarts house are you? 🙂 I want to retake mine, but the Sorting Hat has decided.

What is one delicious thing you made and/or ate this weekend?

Have you ever been to the Ring of Kerry? 

Virtual Brunch Date

If we were having brunch…

…I would sit down with wild hair, out of breath, and slightly overwhelmed. But look at all this brunch! Megan and I have adopted a tradition of eating brunch in town after Sunday Mass. It’s always a heart-healthy affair highlight of the week!

img_5544

two weekends ago at Herbstreet: “breakfast of champions” cassava rosti with smoked salmon, spinach, avocado, a poached egg, and capers — top notch.

img_5597

yesterday at San Lorenzo’s: crab cakes with poached eggs and hollandaise + char-grilled asparagus, tomato, arugula, and home fries 

img_5600

sorry and you’re welcome for this photo

…I would tell you that I cleaned my plate both weeks.

…I would tell you that our good friend from Boston, Briana, who is studying abroad in Spain, visited us in Dublin a couple weeks ago! Of course, we had to get some bread and butter pudding with her 🙂

img_5340img_5341

…I would tell you how pleasantly surprised I am with the Dublin Zoo. A few of us went two Fridays ago, and we had so much fun! It was pretty cold, but a lot of the animals were out to say hello. But we were reminded very easily that zoos are mainly an attraction for people ages 5-13.

“Moooom! MOM. Mooooooooom, look!!! It’s a TIGER!”

I was just as intrigued by the tykes as I was by the animals, tbh.

img_5376img_5385

ostriches are the most fabulous/terrifying creatures

img_5394img_5396img_5401

…I would tell you that, although I didn’t miss peanut butter too much in Switzerland and Italy, it was good to be reunited with my fave when I got back to Ireland.

img_5551img_5356

…I would tell you that the weekends are not just about brunch. Dessert is also our idea of a good time.

img_5404

post-zoo, pre-dinner crepe with banana and salted caramel + vanilla ice cream

img_5550

spiced pear ginger cake a la mode on some random night

…I would tell you that I’ve also been cookin’ up some colorful, more nutritious foods. I basically cook one thing to eat for lunch/dinner the entire week. Some say it’s sad and boring to eat the same thing every day for five days straight, but I don’t mind at all.

img_5346

beet and goat cheese salad with balsamic

img_5355

two weeks ago: whole wheat rotini with sundried tomatoes, basil, chicken, and garlic (best thing I’ve cooked here in Dublin!)

img_5554

last week: white jasmine rice with chicken, peppers, and Jalfrezi sauce

img_5553

img_5591

salmon salad (greek yogurt, spicy mustard, cracked black pepper, and raisins— don’t judge, it was good!)

A lot of eggs also.

img_5405

goat cheese, spinach, eggs, ketchup on toast

img_5552

avocado, goat cheese, mustard, spinach, egg sandwich

img_5564

classic avocado toast with eggs

Would it be more economical to invest in an actual hen at this point?

…I would tell you that I am enjoying my internship at a physiotherapy clinic so far! Some of the highs:

  • I get to observe some of the sessions and compare physiotherapy in Ireland to physical therapy in the States.
  • The people at work are super kind and fun.
  • They play Boyce Avenue all day at the office.
  • I get to wear long athletic pants and sneakers (BLESS).
  • They dry needle and massage me for educational purposes.
  • I get to participate in the Pilates classes.
  • I can take the bus (and read Harry Potter on the ride) OR walk if I’m feelin’ it.
  • The owner of the clinic bought me a superb doughnut one day last week.

img_5557

I don’t even like chocolate, but this was amazing

Some of the lows:

  • Sometimes the desk part of the job involves more sitting than my butt prefers.
  • I made an extremely poor choice of footwear one day last week…

img_5556

they were squelching with water by the time I arrived at work — completely saturated

…I would tell you that dry needling is not common in the US, but it is in Ireland, and I kinda love it. It’s like aggressive acupuncture? A super thin needle is inserted into your myofascial trigger points (your muscle “knots”) repeatedly, and the muscle grabs onto the needle and releases, causing it to “break up” the trigger point. It’s a sore process during and afterward for a day or so, but it works!! She did my traps and calves. Yeeeeeeeesh.

“Your calf reaction is pretty intense.”

Yeah, I felt it.

…I would tell you that I laid low this weekend and loved it. I barely did anything on Friday after class. I wasted time on my phone, ate pizza and gelato with friends, and watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with Megan and Cristen (I’m such a fan now. A whole new world has been opened unto me.)

img_5570

dinner at Milano: dough balls with garlic butter to start (yeah, it’s everything you want)

img_5571

Roman-style thin crust pizza with goat cheese, caramelized onions, red onion, spinach + a salad in the middle — divine.

img_5572

I sense the holidays 🙂

img_5574

mint chip gelato at Gino’s!

img_5573

a bite of Megan’s pistachio gelato cannoli — so pretty!

…I would tell you that Megan and I wanted to WALK on Saturday, so walk we did! Almost 10 miles just around Dublin city centre. We learned that TJMaxx here is called TKMaxx and that Burger King’s chicken fries are actually delicious.

img_5579

Comes to Ireland. Goes to Burger King for chicken fries.

And God bless Megan. As we walked back home after several hours of semi-aimless window shopping, she said, “Let’s make scones tonight!”

So we did! We picked up the ingredients for less than €5 and got 12 scones out of this recipe. This is dangerous, friends. DANGEROUS.

img_5594

we made a few cinnamon swirl, a couple plain, a couple chocolate chip, and a couple cinnamon raisin 

img_5595

These were freaking fantastic (on their own OR with butter OR with butter and jam), not gonna lie. Comparable to, or even better than, all the other scones we’ve had here in Ireland!

We also made Irish flapjacks, which are not pancakes. They’re oat bars with golden syrup, brown sugar, and butter.

img_5592

“It’s like really unhealthy granola.” -Megan. AKA your dream that you try to suppress.

Shhh. Let it happen.

…I would tell you that moves and grooves have been happening as they may. Recently I’ve felt pretty tired and sore overall (probably lack of sleep for no good reason), but that just means that workouts are even more fun and appreciated when I feel up to them!

img_5352

…I would apologize for this being so long and for being bad about blogging recently. I am always so appreciative of the loving comments and support!

…I would also thank all those who shared their thoughts and feelings with me regarding my random vlog yesterday, “Why Am I Catholic?”

…I would ask you:

What are you eating for breakfast/brunch this morning?

Tell me two things about your life lately!

Have you ever tried dry needling or acupuncture? 

Labor of Love

We’re back in the tundra!

“Tundra” meaning New York, meaning below freezing temperatures, meaning I’ve been warming up by standing next to the crock pot and wrapping my face in laundry straight out of the dryer.

Florida has made me soft.

Fortunately, we had smooth travels on both the auto train (a train running between Lorton, VA and Sanford, FL both ways that takes you and your car!) and on the drive back home from the train station. The auto train had some snazzy food for dinner that was quite impressive. Mom and I both tried their salmon with pesto, rice pilaf, and steamed veggies.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Not the least bit shabby for train food, I’d say!

On our drive back to New York from the train station in Virginia, we stopped by Woody’s Crab House for some crab cakes. We were in Maryland, so why not? These were some fantastic crab cakes too!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

shared house salad to start

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

my crab cake sandwich with coleslaw and steamed veggies // mom’s two crab cakes with sweet potato fries and corn on the cob

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

she wanted me to take a picture of the copious amount of lump crab meat in those cakes

We picked off each other’s plates (I helped her out a good bit with those sweet taters) and agreed that the crab cakes were phenomenal. It was worth going backwards 10 miles to this place just because Yelp told us it had stellar reviews. The labor of love for good food.

Speaking of a labor of love, we are also willing to go the distance to get a sweet taste of one of the most time-consuming fruits out there.

DSC_0717

massacre

Pomegranate! It takes a good 10-20 minutes to get all the arils out of that sucker, while it takes only 10 minutes to consume all of it if we really wanted to. Especially when you eat it with a spoon like my dad and me.

DSC_0718

But after my moves last night, which consisted of this cute (yet challenging) gymnastics core routine and the 500 rep workout from Purely Twins, I went for a more classy route of eating the rubies I harvested.

DSC_0719 DSC_0720

atop plain Greek yogurt sweetened with cherry vanilla stevia + BelVita biscuits for dippin’!

My friends and I always used to call pomegranate arils juicy little explosions of flavor. If you have never tried pomegranate, you must experience the tiny yet amazing explosion! Even if it means taking every single aril out of the rind. Or just buying pre-harvested arils.

P.S. we’ve already finished that whole pomegranate.

Breakfast this morning was a delicious “dough boy” smoothie inspired by Kath Eats!

DSC_0722

Last night I combined the following ingredients in a blender (just stirred them, not blended) and let them sit overnight in the fridge.

  • 1/2 c. almond milk
  • 1/2 c. quick oats (regular rolled oats would work too)
  • 1/3 c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 heaping tbsp. peanut butter
  • dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

This morning I added another 1/4 cup or so of almond milk and then blended it all up! The result is a thick, doughy, creamy smoothie that will make you smile. Unless you don’t like happiness in a mug.

DSC_0721

topped with cereal (times five) for crunch and eaten with a spoon!

I came to the realization that I want to make so many breakfast recipes before going back to college on Friday that I might just have breakfast for every meal of the day. #WinterBreakBreakfastMission isn’t over ’til it’s over.

I am currently blogging from my parents’ desktop computer because my laptop froze last night and will not start up, even after letting it load up throughout the whole night. I might have to take it to the Mac Store if it doesn’t cooperate. Meep.

Have a splendid day, folks! Here’s an awesome list of 25 ways to stop feeling overwhelmed and overworked, which is something we all need in life, especially as we get back into our working routines.

So tell me:

Is there a food for which you are willing to make a “labor of love”?

Do you like pomegranate?

Have you ever tried an overnight smoothie?

What are you doing today!?

I am going to pick up a new graphing calculator (my previous one got soaked in my backpack when it rained in Boston…I’m having the best luck with technology recently), pack and prepare for going back to school, work out, and see Daliza tonight!