Dear Alison… {A Look Back at 2015}

The last three days of 2015 have been going out with a bang, I’d say!

Some good food for the body…

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Some good food for the soul…

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dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house

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banana peach green tea slush in a BOWL (they know what’s right)

Some more Christmas cheer…

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my lovely family caroling for senior citizens

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talented gingerbread house designers

Some “big kid” fun in blizzard weather…

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smiling through the pain of freezing rain blowing into our faces

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delicious chicken taco because I was hangry waiting for ramen

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“sakepolitan” (alcoholic cranberry lime juice, essentially)

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ramen that hit. the. spot.

And lots of baby cuddling…

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photo creds to my uncle!

We also did yoga and bouldering yesterday! I felt like I was in Boulder, CO with all their fit, hip, and healthy citizens. It was a fun day!


Since today is the last day of 2015, I feel obliged to reflect on 2015 with my second annual letter-to-self. So without further ado, here are month-by-month letters to Alison (myself), highlighting the moments that made this year a beautiful and transformative one.
dear alison

Dear January Alison,

Well weren’t you just living it up in Florida!? Disney World, air boat rides, that time you almost ran into an alligator in the wild, your first spa day… What a way to kick off your year!

I forgot that you tried starting a budget spreadsheet. Haha. I also forgot that you posted a couple workouts and you did lots of burpees. You were a maniac with burpees.

You started your second semester of freshman year, but winter storm Juno shaved off what felt like half of your class time. Not that you were complaining.

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Dear February Alison,

Second semester kicked your bootay, despite the snow days you had every Monday. I’m proud of you for getting through anatomy, organic chemistry, linguistics, and a tedious writing class all in one go.

You also became a certified tour guide for Boston University, woohoo! I know you were stressed about remembering all the information, but you pulled through.

Lent started and you gave up music. THAT WAS HARD. But spring retreat with the Catholic Center totally recharged you and made you remember what truly matters.

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Dear March Alison,

You posted about your eating disorder struggles for NEDA week. That was heavy, but it was good for you to reflect on your progress and hopefully good for others who have similar struggles.

Spring break was a BLAST! You hung out with your BFF, Daliza, and I think this is when you realized that you have a college BFF too (Rachel!). Of course, y’all bonded over food. BIG TIME.

You joined intramural softball even though you hate baseball/softball. You weren’t good at softball and you’re still not good, but I hope you learned to try new things anyway.

You cried for the first time over schoolwork, but are you really in college if that doesn’t happen?

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Dear April Alison,

Wait whoa, this is your last month of freshman year already. You celebrated your first Easter away from home with some beautiful people.

First Boston Marathon experience! Watching it at least. Get pumped for another year of screaming your lungs out and getting inspired by the participants.

You learned even further that there’s more to life than food and fitness. I’m glad you expressed this.

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Dear May Alison,

Finished with freshman year, what whaaaat.

You went to Colorado (hiking was beautiful, but work on that lung capacity, eh?) and Blend Retreat, which was like a dream to you. Wasn’t it so cool to meet bloggers like Emily, Amanda, and Tina!? *starstruck*

Back at home, you started your physical therapy internship, which turned out to be an amazing experience.

Last but not least, you made one of the best decisions of the year in May— to take it easy with exercise and up the calorie intake.

Oh, you turned 19, which means you’re legal drinking age in Canada 🙂

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Dear June Alison,

Look atchu with your new short hair! I dig it, even if other people don’t.

Vlogs with Daliza are always a fun idea.

Don’t forget that stretching, mobility and progressions are crucial in terms of physical fitness. Be a good physical therapist.

You met Arman AND you FaceTimed Julia. Still recovering from the fan-girling.

You also met up with college friends in the city! So cute, cool, and college.

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Dear July Alison,

Fourth of July in Boston was the best weekend ever. Tori Kelly live in concert is even better than recorded. How?

You talked about 99.9% recovery and the idea that 100% recovery might never be attainable, but to be honest, I think you’re gonna have to do a followup on that post…

Oh yeah! You had jury duty! That was a good experience. But it’s nice that you don’t get called back for another few years.

The barefoot walk for sex trafficking awareness is something you should do every year.

Keep working on becoming a better grownup, but hey, keep being extraordinarily ordinary.

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Dear August Alison,

Rachel visited New York again! Fun times. Except when Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian ignored you. At least he retweeted you.

You made a lot of quick trips this month. First, you spent under 24 hours in Kansas City after a whole day of traveling there. The things we do for Midwestern hospitality. 😉 But seriously, St. Louis was lovely, especially since your baby cousin got baptized!

You and Pop also made a “quick” drive up to Canada for a few days, and you did cool things like bouldering and knife throwing.

Portland and Seattle are cool places. I think you need to go back there soon.

Two year blog anniversary, high five! Keep it up. I think you like this whole blogging thing.

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Dear September Alison,

You’re back at BU and loving it. So good to see your best friends again! Sophomore year, baby.

Also, don’t forget to own it. Yeah, you look stupid sometimes, but that’s what makes people/life not boring.

Kicking off a food bucket list with Rachel, I see. Typical you.

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Dear October Alison, 

Oof, you’re getting busy. But with really good things, like fall retreat.

Apple picking is still one of your favorite fall activities!

Also, first couples Halloween costume…with Rachel, haha! PB&J because you guys are so freaking predictable.

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Dear November Alison,

You finally asked Rachel to do a vlog with you! You guys also finished a whole tray of brussels sprouts. Please calm down.

There were a lot of emotions happening, especially with the terrorist attacks surfacing to the news. They really brought you back down to earth.

Thanksgiving was relaxing and wonderful in every way. Please always be this grateful.

Also, run. Even if you’re slow, just run if you feel like it, because you don’t hate it. I repeat: You don’t hate it.

OMG you also got something really exciting!!! Praise God.

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Dear December Alison,

Apparently, you have a “look of wellbeing.” I can tell you that it’s largely because of the people around you.

And just like that, half of sophomore year is done and gone.

Which brings me to this moment. Alison, never take what you have for granted and always trust in the Lord. Have no fear, because He has a good plan. I think this is the overarching theme of everything you’ve learned this year. Take this invaluable lesson and grow in it in 2016.

Keep on swimming.

-Alison on December 31, 2015


 

So tell me:

What would you tell yourself as you reflect on 2015?

Do you have any specific goals for 2016? Nothing specific for me. I’m not really a big New Year’s resolution person. I kinda just try to be better every day… #lame.

What are you doing for New Year’s? Hanging out with family here at my cousin’s house!

 

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The Great and Small Things I Learned {Freshman Semester II}

First semester of my freshman year in college came and went…

…second semester came and went…

…and that’s it. But what the heck!? How?

When I was leaving my dorm room for the last time on Friday, I ran into a guy who was in my group from FYSOP— the outreach program I did for my very first week at Boston University. We would say hi to each other on the streets or in the halls throughout the year whenever we saw each other, but this time, we were saying bye because we’re done with freshman year. I felt like we just met at FYSOP.

I guess that anecdote just sums up how weird it feels to be done with freshman year. But just as I learned a lot from my first semester, I learned plenty of great and small things from my second semester.

The Great and Small Things I Learned This Semester II

1. I am the slowest paper writer ever. It takes me an hour per page, at least.

2. People will judge me for my eating choices, but “you do you, I do me, we be civil.” (<— quoting my friend Charli)Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetLike when I whip out my jar of pb and bring an overly brown banana to the dining hall

3. This.

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[source]

4. So many women and men who are close to you struggle with eating disorders. Be kind and gentle, and make resources known.

5. Anatomy and organic chemistry (as basic as those classes were in the grand scheme of things) taught me that the human body is ridiculously beautiful. God is quite the Architect.

6. That being said, anatomy and chem lab suck the life out of me.

7. How to ask other people to go on {friendly} lunch/dinner dates, as opposed to waiting to be asked.

8. Boston doesn’t play around when it comes to winter (*cough* 109 inches of snow).

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9. Sometimes it’s worth hanging out with your friends for just a leeeeetle bit longer before digging into the books.

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10. There is always time for prayer.

11. Just when I thought I couldn’t have a better roommate, she proves me wrong.

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12. I often need to remind myself to step out of my comfort zone.

13. When finals come around and I need to be the most focused, I don’t want to do ANYTHING AT ALL and then motivating myself to study is like climbing Mt. Everest.

14. A little extra friendliness with the faculty and staff will truly make the campus a better place.

15. A little extra friendliness with anyone will truly make the world a better place.

16. Always check your meal plan balance— you never know when you’ll find an extra $185 of dining points in your account.

17. Music is a big part of my stress relief.

18. I miss dance and yoga.

19. I actually do like bacon.

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20. How to be kinder and gentler, thanks to my very kind and gentle friends.

21. I have discovered the fun and motivation of a workout buddy.

22. Boston University food is better than Northeastern University food. Confirmed by the bro.

24. I’ll run, but only when I really feel like it.

25. Rachel and I can live for a week+ together without getting totally annoyed with each other 😉

 

26. The Boston Marathon energy is unreal and so inspiring!

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27. Make sure to check footwear before walking out the door.

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28. It’s okay to miss more workouts than usual.

29. I am not as punctual as I thought I was. #whoops

30. I curse more than I used to. #OhSh—Crap

31. How to take myself less seriously.

32. How to constantly strive for improvement with God’s help.

33. I have a family away from home, and it’s still growing!

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34. I’m a better person coming out of my freshman year of college, thanks to said family.

35. Bitter goodbyes will just make for the sweetest hellos.

A special thank you goes out to my real family (Madre, Pop, and Ben) for being supportive and loving throughout my whole college experience. I literally could not do this without you!

I hope you all have a fabulous Tuesday!

So tell me:

Three things you’ve learned in 2015 so far (or from college this year).

One thing you can continue to improve in yourself. 

Day in The Life {Last Month of Freshman Year}

Hello for the third time this week!

I thought I’d check in with y’all again this week with another one of my favorite kinds of posts— day in the life! Everyone keeps asking me if I can believe that I’m almost done being a college freshman. My answer is always, “Sometimes I have to tell myself that I’m in college.”

I still need nap time and snack time, so I’m basically still in preschool.

Nevertheless, here I am in my last month of freshman year at Boston University, and here is what a typical day during this hectic time of year looks like!

6:40 AM— Alarm goes off // Realize that sun is peering through the windows and panic for a split second, thinking I overslept. But alas, it’s just springtime finally. // Check emails on phone

6:45 AM— Bathroom, brush teeth, put in contacts, etc.

6:55 AM— Eat some frozen banana pieces // Pray

7:05 AM— Get stuff ready and run to the gym // I wear my workout clothes to sleep if I know I’m going to the gym in the morning.

7:15 AM— Arrive at the gym and meet my buddy PJ there // Work out

  • dynamic warmup
  • upper body strength
  • rowing + thruster workout

8:10 AM— Walk back from the gym

8:30 AM— Arrive at the dining hall and eat breakfast with PJ, Sean, and Rachel // I failed to take a photo, but I ate scrambled eggs, bacon(!), and oatmeal with coconut, honey, peanut butter, and banana

9:15 AM— Go back to room to shower // Realize I’m still hungry (yes, even after that large breakfast) and eat a mini blueberry oatmeal bar

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9:40 AM— Run out the door to meet a friend before class to go over some homework

10:00 AM— Organic chem lecture

11:00 AM— Anatomy lecture

12:00 PM— Writing class // class got out 10 minutes early, hooray!

12:40 PM— Lunch // A mighty delicious lunch! I enjoy every last bite.

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salad of mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, tuna, feta, and honey dijon + turkey and roasted vegetables

1:00 PM— Decide that I want to write this post!

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1:30 PM— Walk back to the dorm to get some gum [to fix the tuna breath] and a bigger jacket for my tour // See that it’s supposed to snow in an hour. SO MUCH FOR SPRINGTIME, BOSTON.

2:00 PM— Tour! // A little sleet never hurt anyone…

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3:30 PM— Go back to the dorm to change my soaking wet jeans // Steal some dining hall peanut butter out of desperation after running out of my own peanut butter // Eat snack of frozen banana with the PB

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4:00 PM— Meet a friend to study for our linguistics exam

5:15 PM— Dinner with PJ, Jon, and Rachel // “ballpark night” at the dining hall

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salad with carrots, tomatoes, beets, roasted red peppers, Greek dressing + Italian sausage and peppers

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apple crisp a la mode because it’s my FAVORITE

6:00 PM— Anatomy lab // look at cat cadavers, cows and pigs in utero, and…never mind

7:10 PM— Go back to the dorm to drop off my backpack and put on some warmer clothes for intramural softball with the Catholic Center team

7:25 PM— Start walking to the field across campus // Get a text from my friend that the game is cancelled // Back to the dorm

7:40 PM— Check emails + work on planning next semester’s schedule // Find out that I will be dead last for class registration this time around…Oh dear. // Snack on banana and peanut butter

9:00 PM— Homework and studying // Some more banana and peanut butter in there

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12:00 AM— Finish typing this post

12:30 AM— Get ready for bed! (I have a 11AM class on Thursdays, don’t worry 🙂 )

A busy but wonderful day indeed! I’m also realizing that I ate a lot of fats yesterday. Bacon, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, more peanut butter, ice cream, sausage… But hey, don’t fear the fat!

So tell me:

What did you eat for lunch yesterday?

What were you doing at 7 AM, 3 PM, and 8 PM yesterday?

What kinds of fun fats did you eat yesterday?

There’s More To Life Than…

Wowza.

It has been a whirlwind of a weekend and week so far! Actually, it may seem clear from my lack of posts that these past few weeks as a whole have been a hurricane, tornado, and earthquake. All at the same time.

Boo hoo, Alison. Welcome to this thing we call life.

I know, I know.

But there is still so much joy! It is true that I have had less time to do things like sleep, work out, blog, etc. Don’t worry— I am making sure to be kind to my body as best as I can. However, with the end of Lent and the glorious start of Easter amidst all the craziness, I have learned that there is so much more to life than worrying about every last health detail.

In the past, the stress of missing a workout, eating something unhealthy in a pinch, or losing an hour (or two) of sleep would have added to the pre-existing stress of homework, activities, appointments and exams. Today, I realize that striving to be the picture of health can actually work against me during busy times. I realize that…

…there’s more to life than worrying about all the cream cheese, sour cream, butter, and cheese in your Easter brunch.

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Ham, potato casserole, broccoli and cheddar rice casserole, and fruit salad made by some great people at the Catholic Center!

…there’s more to life than sugar guilt.

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coffee cake + baby cinnamon roll

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white chocolate and chocolate chip cookie + vanilla ice cream + strawberries, courtesy of the faculty member living on our floor

…there’s more to life than staying in to study when you can be singing in choir and celebrating with friends on Easter Sunday.

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ladies in dresses and gents in bowties ♥ 

…there’s more to life than worrying about the partially hydrogenated oils in dining hall peanut butter, because some peanut butter is better than none.

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…there’s more to life than going to the gym. Bodyweight workouts and rest days are just what need to happen when there’s so much going on.

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I was initially bothered by the fact that my “healthy living blogger” self has taken a back seat recently, but when life gets hectic like this, I am humbled and reminded that bodily health is just one piece of the puzzle. Yes, we are temples of the Holy Spirit and should thus care for our physical health, but it’s not everything. Likewise, academics are definitely important, but they’re also not everything. Emotional and spiritual health need not be forgotten when we’re working our little hearts out.

You’re all busy bees as well, I’m sure of it. Make sure you do something that makes you smile today and every day. You might have expected it, but my advice would be to pray, eat, move, and groove. 🙂

So tell me:

What did you eat for Easter or Passover or just Sunday night?

There’s more to life than_________. 

Day in the Life of a Second Semester Freshman

Hooray for day in the life posts! These are my absolute favorite posts to read, and luckily, they’re just as fun to write. Here’s what went down in the life (and noggin) of Alison yesterday:

6:15 AM— First alarm // “No.”

6:20 AM— Second alarm // *grooooooan* // check phone

6:25 AM— Out of bed, bathroom, change

6:35 AM— Eat a banana and some trail mix, pray, finish getting my stuff together for the gym

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{recycled photo}

6:55 AM— Trek it over to FitRec across campus

7:15 AM— Move and groove // Dirty Burpee Workout

7:50 AM— Walk back to the dorm // “So sweaty under this sweatshirt and heavy jacket, but it’s too cold to take them off ahhhh.”

8:10 AM— Shower and gather up my stuff for the day

8:40 AM— Breakfast, plus some reading and essay planning

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oatmeal with honey, shredded coconut, peanut butter, and banana + scrambled eggs doused in black pepper after this photo was taken

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9:30 AM— Discuss, listen, and learn in class // “I always need to pee every half hour after I work out.”

12:30 PM— Drop off a bag of donations for a clothing drive

1:00 PM— Lunch and blog reading

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salad with Greek dressing + roast beef, provolone cheese, and honey mustard sandwich on wheat

1:30 PM— Stop by my dorm room to exchange books in my backpack and start typing this post

1:50 PM— Go to the children’s library in the School of Education and to read picture books (they are sources for my writing course called Aesthetic Constructions of Childhood, aka a writing course about picture books 🙂 )

3:00 PM— Organic chemistry discussion class

4:00 PM— Walk to a place with a nice view to do homework // “Who knew picture books would consume two and a half hours of a single day?”

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4:50 PM— Snack on some Snap Pea Crisps and take a #basic sunset picture

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6:45 PM— Dinner! // “One of the best dining hall dinners I’ve had in a while!”

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turkey souvlaki pita + curry chicken

7:15 PM— Walk over to the Catholic Center to hear a talk about exorcism and deliverance // “This is so intense and now I want to bless ALL the things with Holy Water.” // But really, it was more fascinating and informational than freaky, promise.

9:00 PM— Back at the dorm for the night // Eat frozen banana and peanut butter

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9:15 PM— Emails, housekeeping stuff, finish up some homework, type this

10:40 PM— Get ready for bed because tomorrow (today) is another long day!

Hope you all have a fabulous day! You are awesome. BE NOT AFRAID.

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Joining Jenn’s jolly linkup!

So tell me:

Three random things you did yesterday…

Two things you ate…

And one way you moved and grooved!