Recent Fun Facts

1) I turned 22 last Thursday.

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This past year being 21 was probably the most difficult year of my life, academically, spiritually, and emotionally. Makes me both terrified and AMPED for 22!!! I am grateful for this beautiful life. Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday through text, Facebook, Instagram comment, in person, or over the phone!

2) I have needed someone to roll me home after dinner this whole weekend. Figuratively, that is. But it would have been nice hilarious to have someone actually do that for me.

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My family and I went to Montreal this past weekend for my friend Monica’s graduation from McGill University, and we went all out with the food. Poutine, hand-pulled noodles, Montreal bagels, excessively expensive sushi… It was delightful and indulgent to say the least. But the main star of the show was this gal!! We are so proud of her.

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Rachel also took me out in Boston the night before my birthday to a place called Alden and Harlow, where we got the “Secret Burger” (a food bucket list item of ours!), among other delicious fare. The Secret Burger has a crispy freaking CHEESE DISK under the top bun. Good g r i e f.

 

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semolina pistachio cake with strawberry sauce of sorts + peanut brittle was also fabulous

3) I tried three weeks of a delivery meal service (the ones where the company sends you all the ingredients + recipe instructions and you make it yourself). One week of Hello Fresh for a free trial from my brother’s girlfriend, Elaine. One week of Hello Fresh that I paid for because I forgot to cancel the subscription after the free trial (*rolls eyes at self*). One week of Plated for a free trial from my friend Christie.

I typically would not buy these meal services for myself because your girl cannot afford that, but it was a blast getting to try it! It was fun exploring new recipes and using cooking techniques that I never would have tried on my own. It’s even more fun cooking and sharing the meals with another person. I recommend trying it at least once (i.e. asking a friend who subscribes for a free code hehe).

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Some recipes from Hello Fresh: balsamic onion jam burgers with arugula and aioli on brioche buns // pork tenderloin with crispy potatoes and roasted vegetables // chicken cheddar fajitas. One from Plated: spicy crunchy tuna bowl

There was not a recipe from either company that I didn’t like! It’s great that each recipe also takes less than an hour to cook. “Hangry” prevention is key.

4) I have not been sleeping enough despite having no work to do since finals ended. I am craving routine again. Work starts next week!

5) I have not done a workout more than 45 minutes in the past year it seems. That will need to change as my friend Ben and I are doing another Spartan Race in August, except this time it’s a Spartan Super (10-ish miles) instead of a Spartan Sprint (5 miles), which is what we did last year, and even that wiped me out. HAHA oh my word, I have zero endurance right now.

6) I peed while on the Tappan Zee Bridge.

…Because I was on a coach bus that had a bathroom on it 🙂 Did I freak you out??

7) I kind of want to do another vlog like this one (“half a week in the life”) from last year. That was so fun to make! A little bit of an unnecessary time sucker, but hey, #summer.

8) My talented friend John (← check out his portfolio!) took some fun graduation photos for me and my friends. These people make me so happy.

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eMoTiOnz.

Too bad I have two more years of school left.

9) I am newly obsessed with Sean Lew and Kaycee Rice, two incredibly talented nugget dancers who know more about life at the age of 15/16 than I do.

Hits my soul pretty deep and makes me want to be a better person, to be honest.

10) I made a friend over the age of 80 yesterday, and she made me cry with her sweet and beautiful words of faith, hope, and love. What a gift.

GOOD NIGHT (as I type this into the wee midnight hours).

So tell me:

Some recent fun facts about yourself!

Have you ever tried a Montreal bagel OR poutine?

What is something that has touched your heart recently? 

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Great and Small Things I Learned This Semester

{Second Semester of Grad School}

It’s been another relatively long hiatus, but we BACK. Finals were stressful. This senior year of undergrad/first year of PT grad school was wild. But we did it; we finished undergrad!!

I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Health Studies this past weekend. People call it a “fake” degree, because it’s sort of just a dummy bachelor’s degree to acknowledge that we’ve received an undergraduate education, but the Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the end of this 6-year program is what we’re really here for. Two more years until that, God willing!

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Although I haven’t been blogging much at all in these past 9 months, I can’t neglect to do my traditional “what I learned” post at the end of the semester. I have no idea where this one is going to go, to be honest. I have learned truly countless lessons that cannot be exhaustively listed in this blog post. However, I’ll do my best to recount this grand ol’ journey in list form!

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1. Dairy probably makes me break out, but not enough to make me want to give it up for more than the 40 days of Lent.

2. I do laundry more often than most college students (I do it every 7-12 days), and it’s costing me a FORTUNE (especially since it’s $10+ for wash and dry at my laundromat!!!).

3. Alllllll about the lower extremity. Hip, knee, ankle problems? Let me have a look at it (with my non-professional student PT eyes)!

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4. Also a whole crap ton about neuroscience that I did not expect I would learn going into PT school. Even my neuroscience major BFF (Rachel) was impressed with how much we were learning.

5. The pain of doing God’s will.

6. The incomparable beauty of doing God’s will.

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7. How to do split screen on a Mac computer.

8. How to set aside time for people who mean a lot to me, despite a busy schedule.

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9. I like Shawn Mendes’ music (“Youth” is my JAM currently).

10. Curried tuna salad is a FANTASTIC Friday meal.

11. How to have a little less of a big mouth.

12. How to be less judgmental of others.

13. The discipline of not listening to music after 10pm (as I realize that it’s 10:30pm and I forgot to turn off my Spotify… whoops).

14. I can blog if I set aside a short time for it every day.

15. How to be okay with the mess.

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16. How to communicate better and to be honest with myself and others.

17. How to fall in love with God even more.

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18. Body shape-wise, I’m the roundest/fullest I’ve been in several years (or ever?), but I’m probably the happiest with my body and can do more physically than I ever have been able to do.

19. I have medial tibial stress syndrome (aka shin splints), and I don’t even run that much. The best/worst part is that I know how to help myself.

20. Long term acute care PT is right up my alley, and I could see myself working in that kind of setting.

21. I’m still into selfies.

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22. How to lead a retreat.

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23. Uncomfortableness is a very good thing sometimes.

24. How to reflect on all these things that God does in my heart, just like the Blessed Virgin Mary did throughout her life.

25. God is good. All the time.

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That’s what I have for now! Hopefully the first half of summer will lend to some more blogs (maybe VLOGS!?). I’ll be staying in Boston working as a gross anatomy teaching assistant again, and then I have clinical starting in July. It’ll be busy but good (hopefully)!

Thanks, Madre and Pop ♥

So tell me:

What are some things you’ve learned this year!? 

 

 

The Mess of Life

Hello.

Greetings from NY! I figured I should write a blog post while I’m on spring break. It’s sad and strange that I don’t automatically think to write a blog post in my spare time anymore. This blog means so much to me, but I feel it slipping through the cracks (JK it slipped through the cracks, like, 6 months ago).

This blog has evolved as I have evolved as a person. I still have great interest in food and fitness, but there are simply (or rather, less simply) more things to which I need to direct my attention and energy in this season of life.

One of those things is academics. Things are still busy, but now that the great learning curve of my first graduate semester has passed, PT school has become a bit more exciting, and I have yet to approach the brink of despair (*overdramatized for effect*) as I did last semester. I also completed a 6-week, part-time clinical in a long term acute care hospital, which I loved (not just because I got to wear scrubs aka the work-acceptable pajamas). It’s all still hard work, but I’d be worried if it wasn’t so.

could be worse

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Academics is 50% of life. The other 50% is just this wild freakin’ ride that my heart and soul are on right now. It’s like one of those rickety wooden rollercoasters (actually my fave kind) that have superb thrill factor but could also snap and break at any moment.

There is only so much I am willing to share about this roller coaster of my life, but overall, I have learned a lot.

I’ve learned about what is too much for my heart to handle.

I’ve learned about what makes my heart truly joyful and at peace.

I’ve learned how to be honest with myself regarding both of those things.

I’ve learned that I make so many mistakes over and over again, despite having good intentions.

I’ve learned about my weaknesses and what I really need from others.

I’ve learned about my strengths and what I can give to others.

I’ve learned to find the good in others, but also to put down my foot when others are not good for me.

I’ve learned that it is better to find beauty in pain than to find pain in what seems beautiful on the surface.

I’ve learned to be okay with all of the above, because life is a MESS. A. Darn. Mess. That’s my word of the year so far, and I’m okay with that.

I’ve learned that God is here in this mess and that I don’t have to run away from it all. He never changes and reminds me always that He has never abandoned me and He never will. He is faithful, and He makes all things new.

And on top of all that/to change subject, my best friend is engaged (and she asked me to be her maid of honor AHHHH)!!!

Rachel visited NY for spring break earlier this week too! It was nice to spend time with the bride-to-be. Truly just having heart to heart conversations from morning ’til night.

I also co-directed the Catholic Center retreat this semester with my friend Austin, so that was a doozy. But more than anything, it was a wonderful and humbling experience. The theme was “beauty through humility and obedience,” which I suggested in the first place, but I didn’t realize how much I personally needed that message this semester until we were on retreat.

hearts that are His #retreat #totustuus

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Me: “What’s something we both like to do?” ➔ Austin: “Uhhh, work out?” ➔ Me: “Okay, we shall flex.”

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the seniors ♥ 

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Sarah, a source of peace and joy

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sums up my friendship with Janice (so much love and appreciation for her)

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the killer retreat team

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“More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the LORD, alone probe the mind and test the heart…”

— Jeremiah 17: 9-10

^^^Too true.

Alive and well. Breathing and smiling. Failing and learning. Praying and growing.

My mess is minuscule compared to others’ messes, but it’s all one big Jackson Pollock painting — pretty cool in the end.

So tell me:

About the mess in your life.

Something new you did this past month!

 

Virtual Breakfast Date

Hey, hi, hello, let’s meet and eat.

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…I would {obviously} peek at what you’re having for breakfast. Here’s what I’m having this morning:

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To wipe that disgusted/confused look off some of your faces, I’d explain that it’s an overnight oat smoothie blended with greens this morning and topped with the crunchiest purple corn flakes (I just attempted to find which brand it was, because we threw out the box, but I’m not sure which one it is!). I would assure you that it tastes delicious. Wanna try a bite?

…I would say never mind, don’t have a bite. I came down with a fever a few days ago and I feel 95% recovered, but my throat still hurts a bit, so don’t take your chances.

…I would attribute my sickness to two days in a row of theme parks in less-than-ideal weather. But with an ideal theme park companion by my side! My dear friend, Lauren (fellow air saxophone and groovy tune enthusiast), visited us in Florida for a few days after New Years, and we had a grand ol’ time.

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The night she arrived, Madre and I (poor Pop was the first to get a fever that night) took her to Disney Springs for dinner and perusing. We shared so many hysterical laughs at the silliest things, and it was the best.

…I would exclaim that dinner at Paddlefish was STELLAR. They started us off with the fluffiest bread with honey cinnamon butter, and now I think honey cinnamon butter should be on every table across the nation. Lauren got the mahi-mahi special, which had a macadamia nut crust and sat on top of crab fried rice. Madre got the fish and chips, which came with two giant pieces of perfectly crispy fried cod and sweet potato fries (her absolute favorite). And I got the scallops with bacon, crispy brussels sprouts, and cauliflower puree. We all shared bites of each other’s dishes, and everything was blissful.

We finished the meal with their “charred carrot cake,” which was three times larger than I was expecting. It came with excellent vanilla ice cream, shortbread crumbles and little fried carrots *jaw drops*. We took most of it home.

…I would stop drooling over my past meal and continue the story of our fun evening. Following dinner, we walked around and admired the charm of overpriced Disney merchandise.

mom: “kiss the Lego girl!” *obey* mom: “alison you need to be closer” 🤭

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THEN WE DANCED…and participated in a lip synch competition that was 20 minutes longer than we were expecting. I posted some of the craziness on Instagram:

I was l i v i n g. This is basically what I do in my room by myself when I’m bored, except this time I was less loser status and actually had an audience! Having Lauren there was extra fun, because she’s often my groove buddy.

…I would tell you that we went to Universal Studios and Disney’s Magic Kingdom the next two days. It was rainy and chilly on Universal day, so some of the rides were down unfortunately.

after v. before the rain at universal studios #hunchbacksofharrypotterworld

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Lauren and I managed to have a nice time at Harry Potter World though, sipping warm Butterbeer, eating delicious ice cream from Florean Fontescue, and remarking at how Diagon Alley = diagonally, and Knockturn Alley = nocturnally. But the Revenge of the Mummy ride outside of HP World was our favorite. We went twice.

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Magic Kingdom was…fine. Mistake #1 was arriving at 11am, which is way too late for a theme park like Disney. It was utterly packed that day (the wait for Space Mountain kept teetering between 2.5 to 4 hours lol), and also utterly FREEZING for Florida. I was quite underdressed and just miserable by the end of the day, but it was still fun hanging out with Lauren all day and even meeting up with our friend Domenica and her cousins sometime in there (bottom middle photo)!

…I would say that Lauren really made the theme parks fun. If it weren’t for her humor and both of our “well…we’ll work with what we got” personalities, it would have been a rather disappointing two days. But anything can be a great time if you let it be.

…I would wish you warmth! As we road-tripped home from FL to NY this weekend, it felt like the movie The Day After Tomorrow when the ice was invading the city like a wave. Just coldness creeping and increasing with every pit stop. I’m such a baby when it comes to the cold. You’d think I’d be okay with it living in the Northeast for 12 years, but nah.

…I would say that I’ve been eating ohhhhh so well this winter break. But I’m sure you’ve noticed.

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Yes, we did go to Popeyes on our road trip. It was one of the greasiest most delicious things I’ve ever put into my mouth. Other things have included desserts from my brother and his girlfriend (she got me banana pudding from Magnolia bakery!), sushi (I think NY has the best sushi in the northeast), and mom’s homemade food (*angels singing*).

…I would laugh at how I had coffee date with a friend in a heated train station yesterday. My friend who I met abroad in Ireland, Cristen, and I got hot beverages and muffins from The Black Cow yesterday, but there were no seats left in the tiny coffee shop. Thus, I asked the cashier if she knew any place nearby where we could just sit and chat, and she suggested the train station… So we went.

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These chairs were actually attached to the floor because they were more like art pieces, I think. But it was heated in there, sort of. I had to push a button every 20 minutes that said, “PRESS IF YOU WANT HEAT.” YES WE WANT HEAT.

Cristen and I are up for anything though, and we had a lovely time catching up on life. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I had the steamed milk and honey (loved it) and a morning glory muffin.

Soul warmed by conversation and esophagus warmed by hot beverages.

…I would shut up now because this post is so long and ask you:

What are you eating for breakfast?

Have you ever had a less-than-ideal theme park experience?

Tell me about an odd situation you’ve experienced recently.

How was your first week of 2018?

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?