Challenged

I’m forgetting that the weather usually gets colder once fall hits.

I have to wear socks and sweaters in my dorm room, which currently seems like a foreign concept to me. Like, I can’t just be in athletic shorts and a t-shirt all the time now? I have to “keep warm”!?!?

That doesn’t mean I’m giving up cold overnight oats though.

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strawberry banana peanut butter overnight oats overfloweth

Also, who knew strawberries were so good in Ireland!? I feel like I already talked about this. Deja vu.

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Lunches have been looking mighty similar these days, but I don’t hate it. Eggs and veggies are always welcome in my belly.

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As are cheese and carbs.

Lunchtime is a madhouse these days, because we often only have a one hour break to come back to the kitchen, prepare our meals, eat them, and then walk back to class. Plus all the cleaning and maneuvering around 10 other people doing the same exact thing. It sounds like I’m complaining, but I kinda love the rush of “we all have to eat! NOW!”

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Food brings people together ūüôā

I would say that the challenge of sharing a kitchen is nothing compared to the moral and mental challenge of my classes so far. It’s not that they are too academically difficult (yet), but¬†all my courses (contemporary Irish society, ethics in healthcare, and healthcare practice and policy)¬†have something to say about¬†the Catholic Church and all the hot topics that surround it these days.

And I get itРjust a mention of the Catholic Church stirs up a lot of hubbub.

Sure, I get uncomfortable in class being one of the two practicing Catholics here (especially because everyone knows¬†that I’m a devout Catholic),¬†but I’m loving every minute of it. Not because I want to get all defensive or play the victim, but because I¬†need¬†to be challenged in my beliefs. I¬†want¬†to know what others think of “people like me”. I¬†need to dig deep into why I believe what I believe, and facing the (sometimes stinging) commentary of those who oppose my beliefs is one effective way of doing that.

(p.s. I’m not leaving the Church anytime soon.)

The best part? We all still get along and respect each other. And there have been a couple of very kind people who have shown their appreciation for my POVs, even if they¬†don’t necessarily agree. This was especially¬†comforting yesterday after I expressed my opinions in class, practically shaking with nervousness. (I’m not kidding, but I’m also not asking for pity.)

I might make a vlog expanding on all my thoughts later. My brain is exploding with thoughts and reflections all the time these days!

Anyway, let’s get back to food for some relief from this rather serious topic. Dinner this week has been pork chops with saut√©ed onions, potatoes with red pesto, and roasted broccoli. A delicious and satisfying meal. Yay for fats!

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Moves and grooves have been short and sweet. Except on Monday when I did a 50 minute Fitness Blender HIIT workout. Tuesday was 35 minutes of yoga + a slow and easy 12 minute lunchtime workout, and yesterday was a 100 burpee workout! ūüôā

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that’s all the time it took! gotta leave time for stretching!

It’s nice to get in some kind of movement before I sit for 5-6 hours of class throughout the day. But sleeping is also a priority, which is why my workouts have been “squeezed in” so much lately. I’ve been waking up wanting to go back to sleep FOR.EV.ER. (whoa, that sounds¬†more morbid than I intended).

I used so many parentheses in this post.

I hope you all have a fabulous Thursday! I will be playing Gaelic football and possibly some other Irish sports today for class. God help me.

So tell me:

Have you ever felt challenged in your beliefs in school?

What have you been eating for dinner this week?

Do you forget that the weather changes too?

What is your favorite quick workout?

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Work Hard, Rest Hard

It finally happened this summer.

I went to bed at an ungodly hour on a Saturday night and woke up at 11. Ughhhhh.

I’m not too mad about it though, because I got to spend some quality time with high school friends who I hadn’t seen in forever.

Other weekend happenings:

Thursday

Not part of the weekend, but I made some good food that night! “Made” = throwing things in a bowl. Like this salad with baby kale mix, leftover saut√©ed brussels sprouts, sweet cherry tomatoes, sliced beets (from a can ‚ěĒ college d-hall memories), and avocado.

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Late night baking adventures involved Amanda’s Greek yogurt banana oat bread! I baked it in two 8×8 pans to speed up the baking time since it was late (and I’m impatient).

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I brought most of the banana bread to work on Friday, and it disappeared by the end of the day! I was that girl who brought whole grains into the midst of (freaking delicious) brownies and chocolate chip cookies.

Friday

You know when you’re¬†go-go-go all day, and then you finally sit down? Then you realize that you never ever want to move your butt off that chair? That was my Friday after work.

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But I love days like that (after I get to sit down).

Part of the hustlin’ day included cooking up a hearty dinner. I baked some chicken thighs with half a sliced onion, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of artichokes, lots of garlic, oregano, fresh basil, sweet cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper, then topped with fresh mozzarella near the end of baking.

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that broiled, crispy mozzarella is magical

Then I boiled some whole wheat spaghetti for the base.

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TGIF.

These babies also happened:

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balsamic roasted brussels sprouts (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper @ 400F for ~30 min)

Whenever I roast vegetables, I eat my fill straight off the pan when they come out of the oven. ūüėÄ

Saturday

Early morning overnight oat smoothie bowl (almond milk, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, cinnamon, blueberries, frozen banana, vanilla protein powder, greens + granola on top) before some praying and morning Mass.

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I came back home and napped before movin’ and groovin’ in the backyard. I didn’t have too much time, so I did 5 rounds of Jess’ KILLER 1000 rep workout. I used two 15# kettlebells and a 36# bar, so I made some substitutions:

This workout is quite difficult in an AC’d gym. HALF of this workout is MADNESS in the humid heat. God bless naps and rest days that allowed me to power through that.

I definitely snacked on some brussels sprouts and tomatoes before that workout too.

After showering in cold water, I headed to lunch with two of my good high school friends, Sam and Je’lyn! We met up at The Beehive for sandwiches (after a long bout of menu indecisiveness).

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I went with the turkey club (oven roasted turkey, thick cut bacon, lettuce, tomato, and pesto mayo) + side salad. I was hungry, so I wanted something hearty. I got what I wanted, because I think the earth shook when this landed on our table:

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thinking, “is this all three of our orders on one plate?”

A double-decker, half-foot-long (maybe longer) turkey freaking CLUB.

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Literally three meals. I had this portion you see in this photo (eaten as a single decker + an open-faced sandwich), Ben had another portion for his dinner that night, and I had the last portion yesterday for brunch. Talk about a deal!

The three of us caught up on our lives and had great conversation before heading home. I hung out with Ben for a bit, ate some frozen bananas and kettle corn, and then we went to Mass (counting for Sunday Mass). I was still pretty full from my late lunch/late snack, so I ate veggies and crackers with hummus for a light snack.

I dropped off Ben at the train station since he had his first overnight work shift in the city on Saturday night. Oof.

While he was over there making dough, I was spending dough on ice cream with Sam, Michael and Jordan. More long-since-seen friends!

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blueberry cheesecake + captain crunch berry ice cream

Village Creamery is amazing.

Sam invited us over to hang out at her house. We vegged out on her couches and chatted for several hours. Later in the night, Sam gave me a Tim Tam and made me Vegemite toast, since she just got back from studying abroad in Australia (‘Straya)!

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Vegemite smells like stale bread.

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You’re supposed to butter the toast and add a super thin layer of Vegemite. Verdict? I like it! It’s just…salty. Like, extra salty buttered toast with a hint of yeast flavor. I understand why no one can really explain what it tastes like.

Arman, are you proud!?

I got home at around 1, had a dance party by myself in the kitchen, reminisced on old blog posts for old time’s sake, and went to bed after 2:30 AM. I am fully culpable for messing up my sleep schedule.

Sunday

I got up at 8 AM first to pick up Ben from the train station. Then we both hit the hay again, and I woke up at almost 11.

Big brunch it was!

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last of the turkey club with extra greens and sriracha + unpictured brussels sprouts and cherry tomatoes

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a small piece of banana bread baked oatmeal + blueberries

I decided to truly embrace Sunday as the day of rest (something that I need to work on). I watched Food Network while typing this post for a couple hours, went on a long walk, danced a little, did some reading…

“Work hard, play hard” is fun, but “work hard,¬†rest¬†hard” is what I needed.

Madre and Pop were away for the weekend in California for a family function, so after they arrived back home last night, we went to (a Groupon) dinner at Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse.

Me to Ben: “I don’t know if I’m ready for that much meat.”

If you’re not familiar with Brazilian Rodizio, it’s essentially meat on demand. Waiters come around to your table with giant skewers of various meats and sausages, and you can just say “yes” or “no” to the meat that arrives.

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red side of the card for “no meat, please” // green side of the card for “please bring me dat meat”

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They slice off a piece of the meat for you, and you use your personal mini tongs to grab it. So interactive, I love it.

There’s a salad bar buffet, where you can¬†fill your plate with fresh accompaniments for your plethora of meats.

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And there are these complimentary Brazilian. cheese. puffs.

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These¬†pao de queijo¬†were so¬†incredible that we asked for a second basket. Madre, Ben and I each had three, ignoring most of the other side dishes. They’re made with tapioca flour, which makes them the DOUGHIEST little nuggets of gold you ever tasted. I definitely Googled how to make them when I got home,¬†which was a great yet terrible move, because I learned that they’re so easy to make…Cheese puffs ALL THE TIME.

Other side dishes that came with the meal included some superb rice, baked beans, pickle-y salsa, yucca flour (??), and fried bananas (‚Üź we ate as dessert).

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I must have tried 8 different meats, but my favorites were the top sirloin, chicken, bacon-wrapped turkey, and beef rib. They also had some bomb grilled pineapple at the end!

Me: “I think I’m going to go vegetarian for the rest of this week.”

^^^Lies.

What a wonderful dining experience to end the weekend!

Now Ben and I are skipping around between watching¬†Sharknado (the most horrendously bizarre show I’ve ever laid eyes on), American Ninja Warrior, and Harry Potter. I’m also baking some more banana bread baked oatmeal for the week!

Hope you all have a delightful Monday!

So tell me:

Two things you did this weekend!

What are your favorite rest activities (oxymoron, I know)? Baking, walking, meditating, and jamming out to music are my faves.

What is the biggest sandwich you’ve ever ordered?¬†

Have you ever had Brazilian Rodizio? 

Summer Job + Recent Eats and Moves

I’ve had some pretty sick tan lines for the past few weeks, and I’m proud of them in an odd way.

There are two different shirt styles printed on my back though. Like, mostly a racerback tan line, but also a faint bathing suit¬†tan line. It’s a good thing I’ll be working in business casual clothes and scrubs all summer.

Speaking of which…

Yesterday I started my job at a rehabilitation hospital!

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It’s called¬†HELP (Health Experience¬†Learning Program), specifically designed for college students studying to be health professionals. We’ll be exposed to various health professions through classroom and clinical learning experience, and I could not be more excited!

I felt like a nervous child on her first day of school going into it yesterday, but as the orientation went on, I felt more comfortable and made some friends (I hope)!


I haven’t done a classic show-and-tell of my eats, moves, and grooves recently. I don’t know about you guys, but these are some of my favorite kinds of posts (ex: Kath’s “Lately” posts) because I like a nosy quick and dirty rundown of someone’s food and fitness.

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Gina’s oatmeal cookie dough cereal with blueberries and bananas

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avocado, smoked salmon, roasted red pepper, artichoke, spinach in a Flatout wrap

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whole wheat toast: one with avocado, egg, sriracha + one with pepperjack cheese and egg

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overnight oat green smoothie

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spinach, tomato, chorizo, cheddar, avocado egg white omelette for Pop¬†‚ÄĒ I was so wishing that I made this for myself though

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Italian chicken, mozzarella, basil, balsamic toasted sandwich

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salad at a local Mexican restaurant (eaten with corn tortillas taco style) with the family

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summer watermelon

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dried figs with plain Greek yogurt!

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my new favorite pasta dish inspired by Fr. Barnes: whole wheat spaghetti tossed with olive oil, marinated artichokes, mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, spinach, Italian herbs, minced garlic, and lots of black pepper, topped with chicken/shrimp. WOWZA

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leftover oatmeal dried fruit cookies from Christmas (thank God for freezers)1

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overnight oats in a peanut butter jar on my first day of work

Moves and grooves these days have been really…organic. My workouts are chosen and done on a day-by-day basis, depending on what else I’m doing, how I’m feeling, and the weather. Honestly, this go-with-the-flow attitude allows me to have the most fun¬†working out.

Last week involved a lot of rest and light hikes at Fiona’s summer house, but there were some other great workouts sprinkled in there!

Last Monday I knew I wanted to go outdoors for a workout. I also really wanted to use this wall, so I put on my creative cap (which I don’t have with me more often than not) and did this doozy of a workout:

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsI broke that dumbbell at the very end of the workout because I dropped it on the ground in my exhaustion. At least it was 25 years old and had a good life.

On Friday, I¬†did Tina’s At-Home Chipper Workout outside also. For the squats and lunges, I used my makeshift sandbag (a canvas bag filled with a bunch of random free weights ~26 lbs.). The burpees and pushups were the hardest!

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Also, I know how I should do hollow rocks, but I feel like I am a useless, cranky banana when I do them.

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Sunday’s workout involved these:

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The stairs may be going up, but it kinda feels like hell.

3 rounds:

  • STAIRS UP
  • 5 pistol squats
  • 10 pushups
  • 15 v-ups
  • 20 tricep dips
  • STAIRS DOWN
  • 5 pistol squats
  • 10 pushups
  • 15 v-ups
  • 20 tricep dips

And then up the stairs uno màs.

My body still felt¬†like a stone from Friday’s workout, so I let myself take decent breaks in between rounds.

those DAM stairs are always killer. nice to be back home for the summer ūüĆě #fituniversity @gofitu

A video posted by Alison (@alison_grooves) on May 22, 2016 at 9:54am PDT

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsI also took a 1 hour walk on Saturday night in the drizzly dark while jamming out to music. Pretty sure all my neighbors thought I was an angsty teen.

Lastly, this yoga video saved my body from the tension and antsy-ness of sitting in orientation all day yesterday.

Hope you guys have a lovely day!

So tell me:

College students: What are you up to this summer?

What was your favorite summer job you ever had?

Do you like these kinds of posts?

Best way you moved this week!

Best dish you cooked this week.

Day in the Life of a Second Semester Sophomore

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A Tuesday in the life of a second semester college sophomore…

8:10 AM // First alarm goes off. Shut it.

8:15 AM // Second alarm goes off. Snooze.

8:25 AM // Third alarm goes off. Roll out of bed. {Should not have spent useless minutes scrolling Insta so late the night before.} Bathroom, brush teeth, put in contacts, etc.

8:35 AM // Morning prayer.

8:40 AM //¬†Change into athletic clothes, just for the morning while I’m still studying (I try to wear real pants as little as possible).

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8:50 AM // Head across the street to the dining hall for breakfast! Work on my nutrition project while eating.

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hard boiled egg (with sriracha) + whole wheat toast with pb and banana + frozen blueberries

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9:40 AM // Go back to my dorm building and read biomechanics in the study room.

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10:20 AM // Head back up to my room for some foam rolling and a 30-minute yoga video.

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11:00 AM // Change into real people clothes, tweeze my brows, and put on makeup.

11:20 AM //¬†Film this week’s “Five Minute Friday’s” vlog and re-watch it. It’s over five minutes, dang it.

11:35 AM // Leave the room and walk to another dining hall for lunch with Rachel and Kelsey!

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salad with beets, peppers, and some sort of marinated potatoes + grilled chicken with eggplant relish, sautéed collards, and couscous

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plus an orange!

12:30 PM //¬†Nutrition lecture. We learn about the basics of digestion, which isn’t the most exciting, but the professor is still awesome.

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1:20 PM //¬†Get out of lecture early! Walk outside to the river for some fresh air since I have 30 minutes to kill before my next class. Re-film my vlog to see if I can get it under 5 minutes (spoiler: didn’t succeed).

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THIS WEATHER!!!

2:00 PM // Behavioral biology of women lecture. Such a fascinating course! Eat a snack before the lecture starts.

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half pb sandwich packed into napkins during lunch #resources

3:30 PM // Walk to the Catholic Center for a meeting.

4:10 PM // Send some messages to people and study exercise physiology (gotta keep on top of that) in the CC study room.

5:00 PM // Attend daily Mass in the upstairs chapel.

5:40 PM //¬†Descend¬†into the basement for the beloved free Tuesday pasta dinner! Have a grand ol’ time catching up with friends.

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6:45 PM //¬†Start setting up for our weekly “Catholics on Campus” talk.

7:00 PM //¬†Kick off the talk. Last night, one of the most hilarious nuns I’ve ever met came to talk to us about Catholic Church history. She transformed a history lesson¬†into something that had my abs and cheek muscles hurtin’!

8:15 PM // Help clean up after the talk and walk back to my dorm. Eat a peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookie (compliments of my Aunt Sharon from Christmas!).

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desperately need to do something about my nails/cuticles

8:45 PM // Shower, make appointments, write out my to-do list for Wednesday, brush teeth, chat with suite mates for a bit.

9:50 PM // Go up to the study room to take my online exercise physiology quiz.

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10:20 PM //¬†Finish the (easy) quiz and curse myself out for getting one question wrong because the directions said “place in order from low to high glycemic load” and I put them in order from high to low. I deserved that.

10:30 PM // Start typing this blog post!

11:20 PM // Finish up the post, head back to my room, pray.

11:45 PM //¬†Hit the hay. Feeling ever so slightly hungry, but I already brushed my teeth and I’m lazy. I DO THIS EVERY NIGHT UGH (9/10 times I just eat and brush again).


Every day is so different, but this is the gist of life right now. Some days I’m ultra productive, and other days I let myself get a little too distracted with friends/social media. Some days, it’s a nice balance of both.¬†I like to think it’s “mental health”.

I’m having fun though! I’m feeling more comfortable with tackling the work in each of my courses, and I’ve been blessed to encounter¬†so many people from whom I can draw inspiration and motivation. Including you guys!!

Some new Tori Kelly therapy for you all today:

Hope you all have a lovely Wednesday!

So tell me:

Do you have on and off days in terms of productivity?

What was the best thing you ate yesterday? The chicken with eggplant relish and couscous was pretty darn delicious!

A silly mistake you’ve recently made. (‚Üź for my own selfish, empathy-seeking purposes. ūüėĬ†‚ô•Ôłé)

A Look Into My Interesting First Week of Second Semester

Thinking-Out-Loud

Thinking out loud today with my fave!

1) We’re almost done with our first {short} week of classes, and I’m pretty pumped up!

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It’s been exciting to reunite with friends, and my classes are equally as exciting. I’m taking intro to nutrition, behavioral biology of women, exercise physiology, biomechanics, and modern dance (again!). Geeking out!

2) There have been some less exciting things happening this week as well though. I (and a lot of my friends) came down with a cold, and I strained the back of knee somehow after my extra long day of physical activity on Sunday. The latter gave me a limp for a few¬†days, but I think it’s on the mend… Except now there’s a huge knot in my mid back that kinda hurts when I breathe.

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^^^I’m really okay though.

3) Rachel and I¬†got right back to work on our food bucket list on Monday. We chose Anna’s Taqueria for some burritos!

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My burrito: rice, chicken, grilled vegetables, lettuce, salsa, cheese and guacamole lovingly hugged together by a warm, whole wheat tortilla.

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Rachel and I¬†agreed that these weren’t the most flavorful burritos we had ever eaten, but we were hungry and cold, so these totally hit the spot!

4) Although I miss cooking my own meals, I certainly cannot complain about the food here at Boston University.

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lighter breakfast of whole wheat toast with almond butter and banana, blueberries, and a hb egg

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part of a sick day lunch: tomato kale florentine soup + cornbread

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free pasta supper at the Catholic Center!

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salad + pork and rice with mango salsa

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plain yogurt with granola and banana

5) I ate three bananas yesterday.

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6) Speaking of food and classes… For my nutrition class, I will have to record a whole day of my typical eats for a project. This includes breaking down the calories, macronutrients, and micronutrients, and then we will analyze what we should add/subtract from our diets.

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I’m not really nervous about the project, but I’m definitely¬†thankful¬†that I’m taking this class now rather than earlier, when I may not have been as secure in my eating habits. Nevertheless, I will take all analyses¬†with a grain of salt!

7) Scenario #1 from yesterday:

Girl at the gym: *points to the small bottle hanging off my backpack* “Is that antibacterial hand ¬†stuff?”

Me: *embarrassed* “…Uhh no it’s hot sauce.”

Girl: “It IS Sriracha! I thought so. I was going to be so disappointed if it wasn’t.”

People get me sometimes.

8) Scenario #2 from yesterday:

*I’m walking down the street bundled up in the frigid cold while listening to music.*

*A middle-aged, white-haired man wearing a Big Bird costume (carrying the head part) walks past me. He looks frazzled and seems to be asking another student for directions. It all just looks like part of a montage as I listen to my music.*

*My jaw drops slightly.*

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Pretty sure this was my exact reaction.

9) To end on a meaningful note… There’s an ongoing service project that a few of my dear friends help organize every week called Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen. The participants make sandwiches and bring snacks, socks, blankets, gloves, and other clothing items around downtown Boston by foot to people who are homeless. I walked with them for the first time this past Sunday, and it was a humbling, upsetting, joyful, and inspiring¬†experience all at once.

If you live near a fairly large city and are looking for a way to reach out personally, I think this is a simple yet effective service project. (Strength in numbers! Make sure to bring friends, both male and female.)

10) Hope you all have a marvelous day! Dance like Brad Pitt a little.

So tell me:

What were/are some of your favorite college/high school courses?

Has anything surreal happened to you recently (like my Big Bird encounter)?

What do you like in your burritos?

Do you have a favorite service project?