Virtual Breakfast Date

I was brainstorming some sort of profound topic that I could blog about, but I feel like there has been a lack of good, light-hearted blogging like the olden golden days of DMAG.

With that being said, let’s share my favorite meal of the day together (sorry if it’s not yours, but I’ve already made this banner)!

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…I’d brag about my mixed media masterpiece. By “mixed media”, I mean yogurt, peanut butter, and fruit. #contemporaryart

…I’d tell you that I got a Fitbit for Christmas, and it has motivated me to move more while I’ve been at home. When I’m in Boston, I can easily hit 15K+ steps every day, but usually when I’m home, that number dwindles to maybe 5K per day? It’s really the competitive feature of Fitbit that gives you a run for your money (or the other person’s money who gifted it to you), let me TELL YA. My mom has one as well, and she is definitely pushing me to w o r k.

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I’ve been enjoying nice long walks in the neighborhood while praying, as well as dancing around the house to Mom’s international music selection — the epitome of daily moves and grooves.

My mother is dancing around the first floor as we speak.

…I would assure you that the calorie count on Fitbit is the feature that I look at the least. Not because I think I’ll be triggered, but truly because it is the stat I care the least about right now.

…I would tell you that I go back to Boston to start classes next week. I am excited to learn, less excited for the major schedule adjustment that will have to occur (i.e. looking for things TO DO right now ➔ looking for opportunities to NOT be doing anything starting next week), but grateful all the same.

…I would express to you how good it has been hanging out with my family this winter break. They are the bees knees, and I am thankful to be in their presence, whether that involves eating mom’s home-cooked meals, picking up my dad and brother from the train station, watching foodie/travel Youtube videos with my parents, or going to Mass with all of them.

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…I would tell you that my obliques are majorly sore from this fun/interesting move from Blogilates. Eeeeeeccentric movement, man.

…I would tell you that these Turbana plantain chips have been my favorite snack this week. Crispy, great flavor, and not too oily. I think my mom got them from TJMaxx for $3, so hit ’em up!

…I would point you to this website that my friends started called The Pilgrim Collective. It’s run by friends who I know from the BU Catholic Center, and here’s the mission statement:

The Pilgrim Collective is a group of people seeking to create beauty and expose each other to beauty. We come from far and wide and all create in many different ways. We’re poets, musicians, cooks, bloggers, dancers, painters, writers, and however the heck else we create (and that’s not counting our day jobs). We’ve all been created good and beautiful and we are all called to be creators ourselves. But far too often we don’t think we’re creative enough so we don’t try or maybe we just don’t take the time out of our busy schedules to cultivate that creative side. But we desire to change that. We desire to create a culture of beauty and creativity; an environment where everyone can feel empowered to be the creators they’ve been created to be.

I just wrote a blog post on it. If you are just looking for uplifting music, heartachingly beautiful poetry and prayers, and thoughtful posts on the faith, check it out!

…I’d tell you that today my friend Abby is coming to explore NYC with me before we head back up to Boston to start another semester of PT school! I can’t wait to eat many desserts and things with her in the city.

…I’d ask you:

What are you eating for breakfast?

Do you have a Fitbit or other activity tracker? What do you like about it?

What is a highlight of your week thus far?

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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?

 

 

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? 

Summer Catch Up {Part 2}: Spartan Race and Bachelorette Party

I meant to write this, like, two days ago.

This is my week off and my days have already been full enough to not have time to blog. SCHOOL IS COMIN’!!

It’s been full of mostly fun things though. Example: Last night I went out to dinner with my good pal Zoe and her family at Sweet Cheeks BBQ. We ate al fresco in the cool summer eve, noshed on giant honey-buttered biscuits, and ate lots o’ scrumptious meat. I truly don’t deserve this life.

Spartan Race

Rewind to…THREE weekends ago ALREADY. My friend Ben and I ran a Spartan Super race in western Massachusetts!

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It was 8.2 miles of epic fun. Well, the first 2 miles were miserable for me. Running felt really difficult at the beginning, and after the first wall obstacle, I told Ben, “Not gonna lie, I feel pretty damn terrible.”

But somehow I caught a first wind at around mile 3 and felt great for the rest of it. I owe Ben a lot of credit for leading the way at the beginning when I just wanted to go back to Boston to sleep and for lending his knee to help me up all of the tall walls. And just for being the greatest Spartan buddy.

FAVORITE MOMENT OF THE RACE:

So at last year’s Spartan Sprint race, I was *this* close to reaching the top of the rope climb, but I didn’t know how to use my feet for leverage, so my arms became super fatigued. I was a pull and a reach from the bell, but instead I slid down and got a rope burn on my ankle (in front of many spectators) that I still had by the Spartan Race this year. Since then, I’ve been determined to complete the rope obstacle, buuuuuut I don’t know where to find a rope for practice, so I’ve never trained for it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anyway, at the race this year, there were some Army men/women standing at the rope obstacle (idk, moral support?). I was struggling to even START climbing the rope, so I asked one of the Army guys, “Do you know how to do the foot thing to climb the rope?” Army man coached me through it, and after a couple of failed attempts, I finally got the hang of it and started my way up the rope. At half way I wanted to quit because I was already fatigued and felt like I wasn’t using my energy efficiently, but Army man said, “You’re halfway there, don’t give up.”

Fine.

I kept inching my way up (literally like an inchworm), and when I was at about the same place as last year, I reached for the bell but missed. But I honestly had to just think of Jesus Christ on the cross (#dramatic but whatever, He’s always relevant) in order to not let go. So the tired leggies and the super tired arms did one more pull, and then I rang the bell!

…and then I slid down and rope burned the same part of my ankle as last year, except five times worse (it’s still scabbed and healing). And when my butt made its grand touchdown to the mat, I thanked Army man and all his friends as if they had just saved my life. It was a proud and humbling moment all the same.

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had to assure people that I am safe and not being harmed by myself or anyone else; “it was just a spartan race”

Hardest obstacle: The bucket carry. It just felt so bad for my back, no matter how well I tried to maintain my body mechanics and use my core.

Honorary mention obstacle: Dead ball (maybe around 50-75# for the women?) carry with burpees.

The weather was overcast (which was actually lovely!) and slightly rainy towards the end, but everything was a cow-manure-smelling, soggy, muddy slip and slide. I almost ate it at least ten times. Monkey bar obstacles were complete fails, 30% due to the conditions, 70% due to my lack of grip strength.

But we did it! In 3 hours, 18 minutes.

Our post-race meal (besides the free banana/protein bar/electrolyte super water they gave us) was ramen and ice cream. A fine celebratory meal, I say!

We’re already thinking of doing another one next year.

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Rachel’s Bachelorette Party

If you didn’t know, my bff is getting married in a couple months, and she asked me to be the maid of honor ♥

This was just F U N. Part one was a surprise party complete with some of Rachel’s favorite foods, a gold fringe curtain, polaroids, booze, some G-rated question games (since pinterest bachelorette party ideas are really gross, tbh).

Then we went out on the town and danced up a STORM at a couple bars. We were living. Also, I learned that people are so dang generous and enthusiastic to bachelorette parties. Free drinks and hugs left and right, man!! Creepy men left and right, too, but we held our ground.

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The collage obviously shows our ~tame~ side as well. Part two of the weekend was a quiet getaway to an idyllic farm Airbnb in middle-of-nowhere Massachusetts. Rachel requested this type of weekend for just her and her bridesmaids, so we delivered! It was wonderful in every way. The Airbnb hosts were great (we stayed here — highly recommend if you wanna stay on a peaceful farm lol) and sold us a whole fresh chicken that we roasted for dinner. They even set up a bonfire for us, which we used for s’mores at night as we chatted under the intensely bright moon.

Ugh, it was just phenomenal. It was “glamping”, essentially — all the perks of camping without having to sleep outside nor deal with camp stoves.

Most importantly, Rachel loved it, so it was a successful weekend 🙂


School starts on Tuesday! Hope you all have a delightful weekend. Do we feel that fall air coming on yet!?

So tell me:

Have you ever done an obstacle race before?

Have you ever been to a bachelorette party?

 

 

 

First Week at the New Unpaid Job

Also known as my 6-week PT clinical.

My heart overflows with gratitude for this past week! As part of the graduate PT program, I have been placed at an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy clinic to learn from the PTs and start doing some “real life PT” stuff. You can liken it to an internship or rotation. I have already learned oodles, grown as a PT student, and grown as a person just in this first week.

I have two clinical instructors who are basically my mentors, and both of them are welcoming, open to my input, supportive, and just fun people. They are also fantastic, experienced PTs, and I look forward to learning more from them these next 5 weeks.

The staff at the clinic asked for a fun fact about me during a meeting, and I told them about this blog that I’ve been writing for almost 5(!) years now. So if any of them are reading this, HELLO! You are all great.

My commute (by bus + train) in the morning takes about an hour, and the way back takes about 1.5 hours, which is not ideal but not terrible by any means. Lots of time for prayer and people watching.

I even get a day off during the week! I work four days per week, with some days 7:30-4:30. Other days I work 10-7. That makes my out-of-work schedule a little wonky, but we’re makin’ the best of it. Although, one night I stayed up until almost midnight cooking food when I needed to get up at 5:20 the next morning. I ended up sleeping through my alarm but THANKFULLY, Rachel happened to know when I needed to wake up, AND she woke up at around the same time as me that particular day (she usually wakes up a little later), so she knocked on my door and asked, “Aren’t you supposed to be awake??”

Omg yes, tysm, Jesus and Rachel.

Since I can’t make it to Mass on work days, I’ve been praying in the evenings with the sunset.

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one night Kelsey invited me to go with her to adoration and confession

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most other nights I’m here

The Lord blessed us with gorgeous weather last week (besides one day of torrential rains that soaked me to my underwear LOL), so these nights were refreshing as heck. This week’s forecast says it will storm almost every day. Still tempted to watch the “sunset” through the clouds though. What’s a little water and electricity, right?? (answer: danger and potentially death, don’t do that, Alison)

Bible study + belated international ice cream day celebration:

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Favorite moves and grooves from last week:

Supersets (3x each):

  • 12 step ups each leg (25”, 25#) // 40 side jump lunges
  • 10 pistols each leg // 20 hamstring ball curls 

12 min EMOM:

Favorite song of the week:

Rachel and I went bucket listing on Saturday at The Gallows for their Scotch Egg, which is a soft boiled egg, surrounded by pork sausage and deep fried with panko crust.

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’twas perfectly savory and crispy

I hadn’t eaten pork in a while, so my tastebuds were like OOO YES PORK, THE NEW CHICKEN.

We also shared the breakfast skillet, which was phenomenal and everything we needed (i.e. potatoes, cheese, bacon).

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Great food, just a little pricey. Cool atmosphere, except the wall looks like a ouija board, which is like, ehhhhhh…..pass.

After brunch, Rachel and I deep cleaned our apartment to prepare for the new tenants (my friends Casey and Zoe!), as well as our own peace of mind. It took us 6-ish hours, but we cleaned, scrubbed, swept, mopped, reorganized 5/6 rooms in the apartment and moved me into a different room.

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f l o o r space!!!

I have never been happier living in this apartment without the ten thousand pounds of dust bunnies and grime that have been accumulating. We are hygienic people, but we are also lazy/busy young adults who are not the best at maintaining an already old, grody apartment.

Rachel made us Dark and Stormy’s to celebrate a clean apartment. I am seriously so grateful for this gal for motivating me throughout the day and having such an organized plan of action.

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The only really negative thing that happened this week was a random man asking if I wanted to come over and “do something” and commenting on my a$$ on my way to work. I may have definitely cursed at him in my head…but mercy is better.

It’s been a long but beautiful week. Not because anything spectacular happened, but because…

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I found my favorite devotional (Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts) during the move and all the sticky notes that my friend left in it. His sticky notes highlight a lot of wonderful reminders.

Hope you have a lovely week!

So tell me:

Highlights of your week!

How is your commute to work?

Have you ever eaten a Scotch Egg?