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.”

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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.”

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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.

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(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

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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.

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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”?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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^^^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.

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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?

 

The Great and Small Things I Learned This Semester {First Semester Grad School}

OooOooohohohoOooooOOOOh where to even BEGIN!?

I already gave a glimpse of this wild semester when I posted way back during Thanksgiving, but I must say again…it has been eventful. A plethora of thoughts and emotions stampede through my mind when I even begin to think about these past four months — so many, in fact, that I more often than not feel numb to everything and have to cerebrally reflect on how much I’ve experienced.

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With that, here’s my attempt at rehashing my first senior year / PT grad school semester.

  1. Grad school is hard. I was definitely expecting it to be different from my undergraduate experience, but I was not expecting such a steep learning curve.
  2. I still like physical therapy (praise the LORD).
  3. I very literally would not have made it if it were not for the support, encouragement, and joy of my friends in the PT program with me.IMG_0936
  4. I must study with other people in order to do well in PT school. I swore by self-studying for the past three years of college, but now it is an absolute necessity to study with others 80% of the time in order to succeed.IMG_1055
  5. Grades truly do not reflect one’s ability to be an excellent professional.
  6. Nor do grades reflect personal worth (I knew this before, but I was challenged to deeply believe it for myself this semester).
  7. Oh. so. much. about physical therapy. And we’ve only scraped the surface.IMG_0591
  8. I kind of like PT in an acute setting, even though the class that taught acute PT interventions was r o u g h at the start for me.
  9. I’ve discovered that I have poor motor control of my right thumb, potentially due to phone scrolling. Embarrassing.
  10. I used to run with poor foot strike form, but Janice helped me to run with a softer forefoot strike. (Hereafter, I stop talking about PT. Thanks. Sorry.)
  11. Janice also helped me to love running more and make me believe that I can be a decent runner if I wanted to be. Do I want to be though…? Question for another day.IMG_0488
  12. I need to improve my communication skills via text / email to avoid misinterpretation, disappointment, and unintended hurt.
  13. I can definitely eat overnight oats every day of my life and not get sick of them.
  14. Putting shredded zucchini in my overnight oats makes my friends cringe, but it’s now one of my favorite and easiest ways to eat more vegetables (it’s like spinach in a smoothie; ya can’t taste it, I swear).IMG_E0464
  15. Praying every day is as critical to my life as breathing is, and taking 30 minutes to attend daily Mass when possible is always worth it.
  16. If I am not intentional as heck (← stole that phrase from some lovely friends of mine) with seeing friends and talking to loved ones, it won’t happen in grad school. It either goes into the calendar the minute I want to make plans, or it never happens.IMG_0924
  17. Packing breakfast / lunch / dinner for the next day takes eons. How do mothers do this for their minivan full of children???
  18. Food and fitness have not been the least bit stressful to me this semester, probably because I’ve had no brain space to stress over it, and that is a beautiful thing. It’s been there for health, survival, and enjoyment, and that is it.IMG_0893an example of food for freakin’ enjoyment (that’s cheesecake on top of the milkshake @ Boston Burger Company)
  19. Keeping up to date with current events is a big weakness of mine that I want to improve.
  20. I am never alone. Every movement of the heart has been experienced by someone else and often by Jesus Christ Himself.IMG_1062
  21. I am terrible at saying what I mean.
  22. How to be a girlfriend. (!!)IMG_0631
  23. SO MANY darn things about patience, humility, how to receive love, and how to give love, heavily due to #22.IMG_1019
  24. How to learn from others. Yes, I learned how to learn from others. It’s called humility and openness to trying new things.IMG_1049
  25. How to answer difficult questions and use my brain until it almost physically hurts.
  26. How to utilize every last inch of a drying rack for my large loads of laundry.
  27. I don’t know how to keep myself from filling my backpack to the brim with stuff every day. It looks like I’m about to hike Everest on a daily basis.
  28. Best friends are faithful.IMG_0386
  29. We’re gonna freakin’ make it.
  30. Saying, “…but it’s a beautiful life,” in the midst of the most stressful moments is a good and helpful thing to do.DSC_3910
  31. God is faithful. When God tells us, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,” {Is 41:10} He means it. He allows hurt and painful growth, but He always helps.

There’s no way to avoid this sounding like an Oscar acceptance speech, but guatever…

Thank you to every single person who I’ve encountered this semester; every friend who has talked, studied, ate, laughed, cried, screamed, and prayed with me; every person who prayed for me; every moment that hurt me; every moment that made me feel on top of the world; every person who genuinely loved me; every person who did a random act of kindness for me or for someone else; you for reading this; my family; and the Author of Life, who gave me the privilege of experiencing it all for yet another semester.

So tell me: What have you learned these past four months!?

 

A Deep Breath of Gratitude

I could C R Y.

It’s been oh so long, friends. Posting this blog post (after a 2+ month hiatus) feels like a huge virtual hug to any person out there who is reading this right now.

This semester has been a wild ride. Graduate school (+ life / growth / relationships) has proven to be quite different and much more challenging than I could have expected, but c’est la vie, eh?

But in the spirit of {American} Thanksgiving tomorrow, I thought this would be a fine time to take a hot minute to breathe and show gratitude for the things of life — the happy, the hurt, and every detail in between.

This semester…

I’ve experienced profound friendships.

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I’ve studied more than I ever have, but at the same time earned the most humbling and disappointing grades in my college career.

I’ve eaten some good-for-the-soul food.

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I’ve doubted my ability to become a competent physical therapist several times.

I’ve been ceaselessly encouraged by friends, family, and God to keep on keeping on.

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I’ve seen blue skies, gray skies, purple skies, and orange skies.

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I’ve had fun nights filled with line dancing, cheers-ing, and singing at the top of my lungs.

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I’ve had nights that didn’t seem to end even when the sun rose.

I’ve seen friends, family and strangers with even longer nights of the soul than I could imagine.

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I’ve made myself some wholesome foods.

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I’ve made myself think I’m eating wholesome foods.

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I’ve felt hurt in ways that I’ve never felt before.

But I’ve felt joy and the feeling of being cared for in ways that I’ve never felt before.

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I’ve seen what it means to be among beautiful women of God, who love to the very end.

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I’ve hurt others in ways I never intended but still wish I never did.

I’ve had to humble myself and apologize for my wrongdoings, which happen more times than I can count.

I’ve accomplished things in mind, soul, and body through God’s grace, and I’ve seen others do even more.

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I’ve seen tears of sadness, tears of guilt, tears of anger, and tears of joy.

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I’ve cried until I didn’t know why I was crying, and I’ve smiled until I didn’t know why I was smiling.

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I’ve dropped the ball in some friendships and allowed others to help me pick it up.

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I’ve seen God in every single day, in all of these things which remind me that, although we are dying, we are living all the more. I am beyond thankful for every person and every motion of the heart that has made this semester, this year, this LIFE… something beautiful.

God is good. All the time.

p.s. if you want to read something nourishing for the soul, please do yourself a favor and check out my friend Kelsey’s blog – she writes about beauty and about humanity so eloquently it hurts.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am grateful for you.

Ice Cream Sundays + Start of Grad School

Two very different yet equally important things.

I’ve been meaning to post this for the past two days, but here we are on a Wednesday. Now that I have to fill my days and nights with studying, blogging will probably be reduced to once a week again. C’est la vie.

It’s been a blessed past five days though!

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even my pineapple was smiling at me! (but this was a terrible pineapple)

Friday

Friday was my last day of work as a gross anatomy teaching assistant, and I must say that I had a great time working that job. (Definitely a better time than the students were having. What troopers.)

I kicked off the weekend with Colby! We picked up our pottery that we painted last weekend, and they turned out so well.

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Afterwards we walked over to Shawarma King for some Mediterranean goods.

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I got the falafel wrap, which totally hit the spot.

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Then we went to Paris Creperie for dessert, necessarily. I got the petite sized bear claw crepe (cinnamon and cookie butter), which was not really worth the price (I was hoping they’d have vanilla ice cream to top it with – negative) but tasty nonetheless.

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As always, time with Colby was the best part 🙂

Later in the night, I joined some friends at Rachel’s place for a Princess Diaries movie night. If it were any other movie, I would have gone to bed instead, but the original Princess Diaries is so worth it.

Saturday

I was suuuuuper tired getting up early Saturday morning, but I was still so happy to go to a 7:30am “Cardio Core Fusion” class at Exhale Back Bay with my friend Elayne!

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She had told me that ClassPass (a membership that gives you discounted prices for fitness classes throughout the city) was having a 4 classes for $4 deal for their 4th anniversary, so we jumped on it. This Cardio Core Fusion was a great, involving lots of planks and punches and fun beats, but my body was NOT having it after a week of less-than-ideal amounts of sleep.

But any opportunity to move and groove with friends is a good time!

I made sure not to book anything else for Saturday so that I could nap (for 2.5 hours thankyouverymuch), clean the apartment, do laundry, pray, cook, FaceTime with the fam, and go to sleep early-ish. I hadn’t forced myself to have a (nearly) commitment-free day in a long time, but after Saturday, I was reminded of how valuable those kinds of days are.

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meatloaf + arugula salad

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banana bread mug cake + greek yogurt while FaceTiming the fam

Sunday

…started off with THE BEST smoothie ever. On Saturday night I threw together in a bowl:

  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. oats
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • big spoonful of peanut butter

On Sunday morning, I poured the whole mixture into a blender with a little more milk and about 2/3-3/4 of a frozen banana. And voila! The thickest, most luscious pb banana smoothie of all time.

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I miss it.

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I walked to a church downtown for confession afterwards and then met up with Ben for a workout on the esplanade. It was a hot and beautiful day, so it seemed like all of Boston’s humans and domestic and wild animals were playing outside.

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We utilized the equipment and came up with this fun workout that also made me feel like I was working out on top of a stove. The rubber flooring of this thing is a heat sponge.

3 rounds:

  • 20 tricep dips
  • 15 goblet squats (with a random cement block we found there)
  • 20 decline situps
  • 10 burpee bench jumpovers
  • 10 step up hops each leg
  • 10 side to side uneven pushups
  • 10 lateral hopover burpees
  • 25 double unders
  • 20 reverse rows

We drank oh so much agua afterwards and walked over to a different park to hang out with more friends!

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We picnicked, frisbee’d, read, jumped rope, and made fun of each other. Quality friend time ♥︎

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I packed and ate this sandwich for the park – pepper jack, ham, arugula, bacon, sriracha mayo *squeal*

After playing outside for a few hours, I walked back home while FaceTiming my friend Briana. Then I showered, ate meatloaf and veggies in record speed, and rushed back out the door for Mass back on campus.

My friends and I have unofficially decided that we now have a post-Sunday-Mass ice cream ritual. I really just kept bugging people about ice cream all day, but who was gonna say no? We went to White Mountain Creamery last Sunday, so it seems like it’s “ice cream Sundays” should be a thing now.

This week we went to Emack and Bolio’s, which has been known to just be “meh,” and for me it was still just that, but it was ice cream. It was also my fault for ordering too chocolatey of a flavor for my taste.

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chocolate salted peanut butter cup + bananas foster (the latter was delicious though!)

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some of my favorite humans

Rachel invited us over to her place to hang out/watch the Cardinals v. Pirates baseball game, but I was there for the hanging out, popcorn and beer. The baseball was nice white noise.

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Monday

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I’ve been having overnight oats 5/7 days per week probably, and I am never mad about it.

I worked through the morning at my side job and then headed to the gym for a very short but efficient workout (read: my legs were jello by the end).

Supersets (3x)

  • 10 pistols each leg + 20 KB swings (12kg)
  • 15 weighted jump squats (10#) + 20 hamstring ball curls + 20 jump lunges

I warmed up before and stretched afterwards, but this was IT.

Sidenote: I was fueled by this bomb sandwich I packed with me.

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avocado, arugula, two eggs, bacon, sriracha *angels singing*

Sandwiches make the world go ’round.

After the gym, I went to the bookstore to pick up a textbook for my class and then headed home to cook, eat and FaceTime with my dear friend Emma for THREE hours! There was apparently a lot on our hearts that needed to be said. Praise God for wonderful friends.

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dinner – more meatloaf with brown rice and veggies sautéed in sesame oil and rice vinegar

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post dinner – leftover green pancakes from the freezer, warmed up and topped with pb and maple syrup

I ate this dinner and snack kind of early (finished at 6pm) but ate a chicken drumstick at around 9pm after FaceTiming Emma. So I was full going to bed, but for some odd reason, I woke up starving at 3:30am. I hesitate to use the word starving for fear of overdramatizing my hunger, but I really was hungry to the bone and felt like I could have eaten a large burger with fries and milkshake in the middle of the night.

Of course, I got up and ate bread with pb&j. But when I went back to bed, I was still so hungry and ate half a frozen banana with yogurt. And then third times the charm, I got up again and ate several handfuls of sunflower seeds.

It was a very odd occurrence that I did not like at all, but I just honestly, inadvertently didn’t eat enough before going to bed. Happens…but I’d prefer if it didn’t.

Tuesday

First day of PT school!!!

We had orientation at 8am, followed by class from 9-12 and 1-3. Five hours of classes in one day is not my cuppa tea, but alas, summer school is here.

After our long first day of Functional Anatomy, our program directors kindly set up a fun social event for all of the post-bacs and continuing undergraduates (like me) to mingle and meet one another. We bonded over bowling and lots of delicious food (praaaaaaise)!IMG_9250

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I helped myself to half a ham sandwich, chips, salsa, egg rolls, chicken wings, fried mac and cheese(!!!!), lemonade, and, like, a couple veggies.

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new and old friends! (shoutout to Erin who always hypes up my blog around new people haha ♥︎)

Now I have things like homework to do at night, so I think I’m going to read a textbook, pray, EAT A FREAKING HEFTY SNACK, and hit the hay.

Hope you are all having a marvelous week!

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So tell me:

Do you have a fun weekly or monthly “ritual” of any sort?

Two things you did this weekend!

Do you ever schedule in a full day off?