Stuffing and More Stuff of Life

The onslaught of Christmas music around every corner is approaching and I am not mentally/emotionally prepared.

Two months has passed since my last blog post, and boy have those two months been PACKED with… STUFF.

Also packed with STUFF is my belly right now after a delicious Thanksgiving feast. Happy belated Thanksgiving 🙂

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This was probably one of my favorite Thanksgiving meals in a while. It’s going to sound really inflated of me, but I cooked 90% of the food. It was cathartic for me to be cooking all day though, and Madre took care of the turkey, which turned out PERFECTLY (unlike last year when we undercooked it ha). My brother’s girlfriend also made delicious crostini w/ a balsamic reduction and burrata, as well as Thai tea (!) pumpkin pie. My contributions included stuffing, mac and cheese, roasted brussels sprouts, roasted potatoes, cornbread, cranberry sauce, and apple pie. I don’t mind domesticity at all; I was thriving.

HOWEVER, my apple pie bubbled over in the oven, so the juices to start burning pretty badly at the bottom of the oven, causing the smoke alarm to go off in the middle of dinner…. We needed the excitement (running around, opening doors, fanning the alarm) to facilitate digestion…is my excuse.

The food was great (and I didn’t feel terribly stuffed, which was good because I definitely felt stuffed after the two Friendsgiving dinners I had this past weekend), but of course the gift of family was the best. We went to Mass together in the morning to worship the God deserving of all thanksgiving, and then Ben and I even got in a fun workout at a gym that my high school friend owns!

Ben and Pop also played some Christmas tunes on the piano/clarinet together between dinner and dessert, which was so sweet.

To combine a life update and a Thanksgiving post, here are just some of the many things for which I am grateful from these past two months.

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The last thing I told you in my previous blog post was that I was going hiking in Maine with friends, and that was a glorious weekend. A bunch of us drove up from Boston and stayed at our friend Connor’s place, where hospitality abounds. His family is so warm and fun, and his mom makes some KILLER lasagna, banana bread, egg casserole, and pumpkin bread (she also has a beautiful singing voice, yeesh). The main event of the weekend was hiking up and down Mt. Washington, which was a sufficiently challenging hike. It started off as a pretty sweaty hike (tank top conditions), but with elevation came high winds and frigid temperatures (hat and heavy coat conditions).

We also went to the famous Fryeburg Fair on Sunday for Mass and all the fried food you could ever think of. My face was sweating bloomin’ onion oils.

Grateful for: nature; autumn leaves in the northeast; breathing hard in the fresh air; prayerful, joyful, loving, and hilarious friends (and their families!); fun fried foods.

PT school has been quite enjoyable this semester! One of my favorite aspects is that our neurological systems lab allows us to work with patients who have actually had a stroke (rather than just practicing on healthy, young peers), which makes the experience so much more realistic and meaningful.

Grateful for: education; an increase in knowledge and understanding of the human body AND the human person; friends who support both my mind and my spirit through the PT school process; academic failures and successes.

My best friend Rachel and (her now husband) Austin got MARRIED. I had the honor of being the maid of honor, and it was one of the best days of MY life. Of course, I’ve always thought marriage is beautiful, and family life is one of the best reflections of God’s Love active in the world. However, a wedding has never made these truths penetrate my heart so deeply until Rachel and Austin’s wedding. Maybe it’s because I know their relationship from the inside pretty much, but I was m o v e d by their Sacrament of Marriage. Ugh, I can’t really articulate it fully, but it was so good. Rachel and Austin were beaming all day.

The wedding reception was also LIT. I love wedding dancing, as some of you might know, and it’s even better when it’s with your best friends who ALSO love dancing. If you could find me “in my element,” it would be on the dance floor at a wedding reception.

Grateful for: the Sacrament of Marriage; Rachel and Austin; holy friends; the triumph of joy despite trials; wedding dancing.

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There have been a lot of tears (what’s new though??) of every kind. But if I could boil all the tears down…it would be salt. No just kidding. If I could boil all the tears down into one common theme, it would be that the Lord is making all things new (Rev 21:5). I have cried a lot because of emotional pain. In these cases, I have repeated daily that the Lord is, in each moment of pain, making all things new — better, more beautiful, more good than I could plan or do on my own.

I have also cried tears of joy and deep gratitude, because He shows me that things are indeed made new. There have been certain relationships and struggles (either my own or those of my loved ones) in this past year that have seemed to crush my insides, but as long as those are all laid at the foot of the Cross for love of what is good, the Lord has shown that He can and will make those relationships and struggles new — somehow better than they could have been if the pain never occurred. It’s a continuous process of pain and beauty though; it never stops. And sometimes He chooses not to show us what exactly it is He is doing, but I am learning that this is what life is. HE KEEPS YA ON YOUR TOES.

Grateful for: pain that turns into growth; newness; knowing that life will never be void of pain and struggle, but that does not mean it will void of joy.

That’s a wrap for now! As always, thank YOU for reading along despite the spottiness of my blog posts in this season of life. Thanks to mom, dad, and my brother as always 🙂 And THANK YOU, GOOD LORD, FOR THIS LIFE.

“…In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

– 1 Thess 5:18

So tell me:

One thing you’re grateful for, based on a recent experience?

If you celebrated Thanksgiving here in America yesterday, what did ya eeeeat? 

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Summer Lovin’

I think every blogger has used this title at least once in their careers.

But that could be said for “Day in the Life,” “Recent Eats,” “Lately,” etc. etc. etc.

I’m calling this post “Summer Lovin'” because a) it’s summer; b) I went to my friends’ wedding this weekend!!

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This was my first friend wedding. All other weddings I’ve attended up until this weekend had been for aunts and uncles who seemed to be at a life stage that was eons away from where I was. But here we are kicking off the start to what I’m sure will be many friend weddings in these next few years.

I’m not complaining, because I LOVE WEDDINGS.

On Saturday, my friends Sean and Alicia entered into the beautiful sacrament of Holy Matrimony. I met Sean through the Catholic Center when I was a freshman and he was a senior, and he became one of my “older brothers” during my first year at BU.

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“Can I be obnoxious and ask for a selfie with you guys?”

Sean and Alicia are high school sweethearts (CUTE), and they continue to be a stunning couple. It was a privilege watching two holy people unify in love for the glory of God.

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Their beach-themed wedding reception was also wonderful. It was a blast being there with some other folks who met Sean through the Catholic Center.

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The speeches were short and sweet, the evening was gorgeous, the conversations were fun, the food was DELISH…

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h’ors d’oeuvres and beer at cocktail hour + fab sun-dried tomato bread and butter + bomb salad + delicious chicken with rice and veggies + a slice of vanilla with raspberry mousse cake (ok, two slices)

…and the dancing scene was ON POINT. The bride, groom and respective parties made some solid song requests. Wedding dancing is one of my favorite things in the world, especially with the right people.

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Congratulations again, Sean and Alicia! Thank you for allowing me to celebrate such a joyful occasion with you and your loved ones. I’m definitely in the top 10 people who were most excited about your wedding 😉

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I LOVE YOU GUYS. May God bless both of you as you start this beautiful journey together.

I pray for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. I hope you are all safe and well.

So tell me:

Do you like weddings?

Do you remember your first friend wedding?

WAS IT WILD (like, “everyone’s getting old ahhh” WILD)? What did you do this weekend?

 

Virtual Breakfast Date

virtual breakfast date

…I would squeal that we get to chat over my FAVORITE MEAL OF THE DAY!

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overnight oats in an almost empty pb jar + granola on top for crunch

…I might yawn and say, “excuse me,” because I woke up at 6am (which is E A R L Y for this night owl) to work out with my dear friend Elayne.

Elayne: “Oh my gosh are you limping!?”

Me: “No I just can’t walk this early in the morning.”

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‘Twas so worth the sleepy sweat fest.

3 sets each:

  • 10 DB overhead burpees (10#)
  • 15 side plank hip dips (each side)
  • 20 KB swings (25#)

1 min. burpees

  • 10 renegade rows to plank jump
  • 20 alternating single leg v-ups
  • 20 overhead tricep extensions

1 min. burpees

  • 10 bird dogs
  • 10 plank kick throughs (each side)
  • 10 tabletop sit throughs

1 min. burpees

…I would ask you if you saw the solar eclipse, even though you’re probably 120% done with that convo. Madre and I saw it from home in New York, where we had 76% coverage. My brother’s girlfriend kindly gave us the special eclipse glasses for optimal viewing!

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AND for optimal photo-taking. (Hundred percent accidentally looked directly at the sun for a millisecond.)

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I was so stoked to get this shot of the eclipse right around peak time for us!

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…I would tell you about this weird breakfast I had at home, made with whatever we had on hand. I warmed up some frozen bananas, mashed them, mixed it with some brown rice Madre had just cooked, and topped it with cinnamon raisin peanut butter. IDK. It was delicious though! Rice-pudding-like.

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…I would surprise you by saying that I bought running shoes (more accurately, Madre gifted me new running shoes – thank you ma!). I’m not currently planning on running any races or anything, but a pair of comfy Asics were on sale at TJMaxx, so I just went for it. I do run occasionally, so it’ll be nice to have proper running shoes.

I ran a couple miles in them on solar eclipse day, and then I played around with these pistol burpee handstand ma-jiggies:

…I would excitedly tell you that my family and I ate a fantastic Italian dinner as we got to meet my brother’s new significant other 🙂 So much love for them.

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burrata to share as a starter (SO CREAMY AND DREAMY)

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salad that came with my pasta

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rich and delicious lobster ravioli with artichokes and roasted red peppers

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amaretto cake (and unpictured profiteroles) to share for dessert

…I would say that I love my brother. We only had an hour to really hang out and catch up with each other before I had to leave for Boston, but it was great QT. Grateful for this goon!

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are the feelings mutual? *shrug*

…I would tell you that I had homemade baklava with homemade skyr (Icelandic yogurt) for breakfast before driving to Boston. Ben’s girlfriend made a huge batch for all of us!! So sweet (literally and figuratively) of her. It was perfect.

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…I would remark at this gymnastics/stretching mat that Madre bought for me as a surprise. My room is a mini PT clinic.

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…I would proudly say that I finally picked a good pineapple. The last time I bought a pineapple, I had to drown it in honey and microwave it because it was THAT bad.

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…I would talk about how grateful I am for Rachel. It’s been so good living with her again, because now we can have girl chat with a glass of wine (or sangria) on the couch at the end of the day. That might change once classes start for me, but for now it’s delightful.

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proud of this working woman

…I would show you last night’s tasty dinner. I made Budget Bytes’ glazed pork chops, (← so easy and good!) roasted broccoli, and a random cheese quesadilla on the side (ended up dipping it in ketchup #sorry).

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…I would say that God has reminded recently to not be anxious about saying “yes” just to the big things He asks me to do, but to more importantly say “yes” to the very little and mundane things He asks me to do in daily life. If I cannot do His will in little things, there is no way I can do His will in big things. Loving in the littlest ways is sometimes the HARDEST.

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…I would squeal once again that I’m going to my friend’s wedding tomorrow! I LOVE WEDDINGS. AND I LOVE MY FRIENDS.

…I would ask you:

What did you eat for breakfast today?

What are some things you want to share? Happy, sad, cool, “aha” moments?

What are your favorite little ways to spend time with loved ones?

Plans for the weekend?

Less Salad, More Bacon

Now, now. I still love vegetables.

But bacon has made its way into my heart (figuratively, maybe literally too, it’s all okay). It has helped fuel life lately, and life has been a blast! A busy blast and not always an easy one, but c’est la vie.

I used to eat salads every single day. If you’ve followed me for a long time, you might remember that a typical meal might be a huge bowl of spinach with leftover meat/pasta/stew just thrown on top (Rachel thinks that’s so weird, BTW).

For example:

Green, leafy (edible, non-smokable) things are obviously great for you, and I highly recommend them. However, I don’t recommend stressing over eating a salad a day. There are other ways you can reach your veggie intake each day, such as…

…rainbow colored carrots (how fun! from Trader Joe’s!)…

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…arugula in an avocado, egg, BACON, sriracha sandwich…

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…OR with tomatoes (actually a fruit, but for all intents and purposes a veggie) in a homemade BACON cheeseburger…

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…frozen brussels sprouts heated up in a pan with some spices…

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with leftover Annie’s mac and cheese, some rice, and turkey meatloaf

…OR you could eat almost-dead arugula as a side salad, just to compliment your avocado, BACON, egg toast.

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If you’re wondering, I get the uncured apple smoked bacon from Trader Joe’s!

Bacon has honestly helped me recognize that adding flavorful (often fatty/dense) foods to my meals makes me 10x more satisfied, so I’m less likely to think about food in the hour or two after I’m finished eating. I do love food, but it is so nice to not think about it all the time.

All this to say: Tune into what will truly satisfy your body at the moment. Is it really a salad? Or is it really something more dense like a bacon cheeseburger? It can be either one (I do still crave salads sometimes), but try to be honest with yourself. 🙂


What else has been happening this week!? (spoiler: so much.) Here are the highlights.

A much-needed Friday night hanging out with my BFF, Rachel. Complete with Annie’s mac and cheese for me….

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…and banana bread mug cakes a la mode for both of us.

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Lots of studying for functional anatomy.

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Studying is much better with friends like Elayne and study spaces like these.

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Sunday was Colby’s birthday, so she hosted a little picnic at Boston Public Garden! This lady is 21! *glasses clink*

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We drank mimosas out of Dunkin Donuts cups and ate fruit, Terra chips and scones…

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although I made these scones from a box mix and 75% of the people at the party were gluten-free and dairy-free, soooo…. 

…handstanded…

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♥︎ ♥︎ ♥︎

…and I got to meet Nancy from Approaching Paleo (@approachingpaleo)! I’ve “known” her through social media and Fit University for so long now, but I finally got to hug this wonderful woman in person on Sunday.

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The internet can help us meet the most marvelous people, lemme tell ya.

Sunday evening involved the usual (yet always extraordinary) Mass and “ice cream Sunday” tradition! We went to Cold Stone.

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“cheesecake fantasy” that was melting so fast I nearly drank it like a milkshake

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We finished the night off with The Game of Things (NOT Game of Thrones), which never fails to make me double over in laughter.

I developed a pesky and painful blister under my second left toe that caused me to limp a lot earlier this week, so I bought some moleskin and got to work on taping that baby up.

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It’s not a gigantic blister, but the location was awkward and I had to make the taping biomechanically sound.

Lastly, one of the best parts of my week was last night when Ben, Rachel and I went boxing at The Ring.

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After LOVING boxing at Everybody Fights via ClassPass last week, I found a Groupon for The Ring last week and recruited friends to join me. We went to our free trial class last night!

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It was a doooooozy but so. freaking. fun. I am seriously such a big fan of boxing (haven’t sparred in my life, though, so don’t let me get too far ahead of myself), and the HIIT workout these gyms do to train are right up my alley.

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So now we get to box for free for a week and then get 5 extra classes with our Groupon on top of that. I’m SO STOKED. We even got our own wraps and gloves to keep!

Oh! One more thing that is long overdue. I was a guest on Emily’s podcast from Beauty in Christ a few weeks ago. We talked about intuitive exercise. Check out the podcast here if you’re interested! (p.s. Emily is a wonderful friend of mine and a beautiful light in the world, bringing both body positivity and the Love of God to everyone she meets.)

I hope you all have a great pre-Friday! Eat some bacon (or, like, full fat coconut milk if you’re vegan).

So tell me:

What is a food that is flavorful and satisfying that you like to add to your meals?

Have you ever tried boxing?

Two things that you’ve done this past week!

What You Didn’t See

Between the week in the life vlog I posted last week and the Spartan Race on Sunday, I’ve shown a lot of the good and fun things happening around these parts.

Indeed, things have been good and fun, and I am grateful for that. I also like to think that I don’t just show the nice parts of life, but also the turbulence. Nevertheless, there are plenty of emotions and happenings that you didn’t see these past few weeks, so here’s a peek into what you didn’t see…

What you didn’t see before the week in the life vlog was my lack of productivity and my fear that I would not be able to become productive for work and classes. The weeks before starting work as a teaching assistant, I felt like my days would waste away and I would fail at doing simple tasks like reading my book for book club. I was genuinely concerned that I would crumble once I started work and classes.

(I have since reminded myself that having things to do makes me productive. Having nothing to do drains 99.9% of all motivation from me.)

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Do any other single people out there find it takes forever to pack meals for the next day? How do parents do this for other humans every day??

What you didn’t see was my failure to keep up with book club and attend any meeting after the first intro meeting. (I still want to finish the book in my own time though!)

What you didn’t see before the Spartan Race was the real concern that my family and friends had for me when I reconsidered racing after my hip injury (← still don’t know what it really was). Some people were in disagreement with me attempting the race, and although I wanted them to trust my judgment, I am grateful and humbled to have people who care for me and keep me in check to make sure I was being a good PT-to-be.

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avocado toast with bacon, eggs, sriracha + some veggie has been my dinner many times these past two weeks

What you didn’t see was the number of times I double-booked phone call dates and night plans in the past two weeks. I guess it was only one time each, but still — two more times than I should have done.

What you didn’t see was me yelling at a driver while I was walking to work yesterday morning. I’m not usually an angry person on the road as a driver or pedestrian, but I was pretty upset that someone making a left turn purposefully accelerated, nearly hit me, and honked at me for walking in front of her, to which I responded, “I have the walk sign!!” because I did indeed have the walk sign.

After steaming and shaking my head in annoyance for a few minutes, I hoped she had a better day after whatever was going on in her morning.

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I had overnight oats in me at that point too, which helped.

I share these things because sharing all experiences — even the silly ones and the ones we’re less proud of — brings us together as #humans.


But now for some more fun things that you didn’t see yet!

Like these professional photos from the Spartan Race! I cannot stop laughing at them. Look at the seal on the first two photos — Spartan KIDS. Are we kidding!?

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casually checking for some dirt under the nails. just a lil bit in there.

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my friend Evan: “Is that the part of your day when you’re spinnin sick beats in da club?”

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the traverse wall — one of my favorite obstacles of the course!

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my life flashing before my eyes. BUT LOOK AT HOW HIGH BEN JUMPED!!

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I am Mulan.

HAHAHA I die.

I made my favorite meatloaf (← so easy and tasty, highly recommend) on Tuesday night, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it this week with some quinoa and roasted broccoli.

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the sauce is ketchup, mustard and brown sugar, and it is BOMB

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This is less fun, but it was fun while it lasted. I finished my bag of dried figs with Greek yogurt and peanut butter.

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On Wednesday night, my dear friend Megan treated me to a drink for a belated birthday celebration! It was so great to catch up with this radiant soul.

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We got mango margaritas! She called it the classic BU white girl drink, but guatever, I’m on board with fruity drinks. It was my first time having a margarita, and I was a fan. She got a sugar rim and I went with salt.

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It was the perfect accompaniment to my fish tacos + honey ale cornbread (!!!).

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Thank you again, Megan! ♥︎

Today is my last day of work as a gross anatomy TA, and I must say that I will miss it! The other TA I worked with has been amazing, and it was fun teaching the lab section of the course. I’ll get to know most of the students better in these next three years though, because a lot of them are my classmates! Grad schools starts Tuesday eeeeeeep.

Happy Friday!

So tell me:

Something I don’t know! 🙂

Do you like meatloaf?

Two things that happened this week!