Permission

On this Memorial Day, let us never forget those who served our nation for the sake of our freedom and safety.

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A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.

– Joseph Campbell

How was the weekend!? Or how IS the weekend (for those who have today off!)?

This weekend (alright, this whole week), I’ve given myself permission to embrace this period of almost zero obligations. I had to get over the phase of discombobulation of having nothing to do, but it’s been a pleasant week of acclimating to living farther from campus and relaxing.

Friday

There have been some errands and work in there too (keeps me sane TBH), like on Friday. I gave a campus tour, since a lot of BU’s tour guides are out of town these next few weeks. In classic me fashion, I was running late and had to speed walk for 1 hour to make it right on time.

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Luckily it was a beautiful day for rush-walking + touring!

Afterwards, I gave myself permission to do a quick 16-minute workout, even though I had all the time in the world and all the gym space in the world (three cheers for the summer lull!).

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‘Twas a fun one! 4 rounds, 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest:

Then I nommed on the lunch I packed that morning (part of the reason I was running late). I gave myself permission to take my time to eat this. I’m sure some of you understand that weekday lunch is often more or less inhaled on many days.

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leftover peas and roasted broccoli + egg, avocado, pepper jack, sriracha sandwich + blackberries

I had big plans to get a lot Brideshead Revisited reading done for book club, but I got through thirteen pages before I gave myself permission to take a nap in the library’s armchair.

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never goes to the library during the school year // falls asleep in the library during the summer

Before going to the library, though, I tried being that person to read on the stationary bike at the gym, but doing that kinda nauseated me. That + gym music = entirely ineffective reading.

I was awoken by an announcement that the library was closing in an hour. Thankfully, my friend Ben welcomed me to hang out with him before dinner, because I was groggy and without anything to do (what a nice problem to have).

Lauren, Nico, Ben and I went to Shawarma King for dinner. I got the vegetarian combo plate, which had falafel, hummus, babaganoush (omg so good), stuffed grape leaves, tabbouleh, cucumber tomato salad, rice, and pita. HOT DANG. I finished 85% of it.

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Then we went to Athan’s Bakery for dessert! I got their pistachio gelato, which was the most sub-par gelato I’ve ever had, but it was still a delicious frozen treat.

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We finished the night watching the original Grease movie. It’s the best bad movie of all time.

Saturday

Overnight oats to start the morning!

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strawberry banana overnight oats topped with the last of my KIND peanut butter granola

This fueled another nice long walk towards campus…

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please interpret this art

…for another Saturday Spartan workout with Ben!

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Ben planned out this fun workout for us:

4 rounds:

  • run around baseball field
  • 15 triangle pushups (slightly inclined)
  • 2 flexed arm hang holds, any grip (15 seconds each or until failure ← definitely only held it for 5 seconds at some points)
  • 25 Roman chair leg lifts
  • 15 inverted rows
  • 10 step up hops each leg

Topped it off with 10 minutes of core work.

I packed a snacky lunch to eat between the workout and a meeting with my spiritual director (basically someone who teaches me how to better give God permission to speak to me through prayer and to work in my life — the most important permission I could ever give).

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rosemary Triscuits with pepperjack cheese + carrots with hummus

I gave myself permission to actually think about the taste of this snack (I guess people call it “mindful eating”), and it was 10x more satisfying than any other time I’ve eaten carrots and hummus/crackers and cheese.

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loads o’ popcorn

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I rushed through the popcorn and KIND bar, but they were still tasty.

I also gave myself permission to buy water from Starbucks for $0.27 because all the places where I usually fill up my water bottle on campus were closed.

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This was less about permission and more about a fundamental need for water. I am endlessly grateful for constant, easy access to clean drinking water.

After spiritual direction, I video chatted with my uncle, aunt and cousins for two hours. We had a beautiful conversation. Ugh, I love them. I got to spend most of the two hours outdoors before I had to charge my phone.

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The only downside was standing up and realizing that the bench I was sitting on gave me splinters all over my backside.

I picked up some groceries afterwards and gave myself permission to take an Uber back home instead of walking or taking the bus (the fact that an Uber was only $2.20 at the time was also a big factor).

Look what I found at the store!

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Burpee plants!

Back at home, I showered, warmed up some leftovers for dinner, and spent time with Christie’s boyfriend’s dog, Koga. I got a taste of the neediness that most dog owners talk about. It’s annoying in the most adorable way.

Sunday

I gave myself permission to SLEEP. IN. I slept until 9:40! I promised I’d make French toast for all of us in the morning though, so I quickly got to work on that.

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one whole wheat + one brioche topped with butter sautéed bananas, peanut butter, maple syrup, and slivered almonds + strawberries + glass o’ almond milk

Definitely taking full advantage of Christie’s pretty dishes and silverware for my food photos 🙂

I planned on running to the park ~4 miles away to meet my friends for a picnic in the afternoon, but my hip/quads/knee (!?) have been hurting these past few days, and running was a solid no-go yesterday. So I gave myself permission to pass on the picnic, walk home and do yoga instead.

The pain? Google says it could be some muscle tightness. Could be a labral tear. Hopefully not the latter.

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I forget what I did for the rest of the day, but in the evening I walked to campus for Mass, and my friend Evan kindly drove me home afterwards (God bless gentlemanly friends).

Chopped salad for dinner! (Read: Salad cut up with a pair of kitchen scissors.)

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spinach, feta, strawberries, avocado, sunflower seeds, and homemade honey mustard vinaigrette

Followed by dried figs with peanut butter and Greek yogurt. A classic.

Now I’m going to give myself permission to continue lying in bed and read Brideshead Revisited for real this time.

Hope you all have a wonderful Monday/Memorial Day!

Give God permission. — St. Teresa of Calcutta

So tell me:

Do you find it hard to give yourself permission to relax?

What is one thing you gave yourself permission to do this weekend?

Any good books you’re reading? 

 

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Last Undergraduate Days

Classes are OVER.

The title is correct— I’m done with undergraduate classes! But I’m not graduating yet. I’m in the 6-year physical therapy program, so now that we’re done with three years of our undergraduate classes, it’s time to move on to the graduate portion of the program for another three years (but we still walk with the Class of 2018).

Halfway done!!

Here are some scenes from my last undergraduate days, which look quite similar to some of my freshman days…

As I did freshman year, I am once again hoarding bananas from both the grocery store and the dining hall, so there are many frozen bananas and banana-pb breakfasts (surprise!). You’d think I lived through a banana famine in the past.

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plain Greek yogurt mixed with apple sauce (I have a big jar that needs to be used, so it’s going into everything), cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds, strawberries, banana, granola, pb

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strawberry banana overnight oats with granola and sunflower seed butter

This is me doing laundry when things are getting desperate (read: I have no more pants to wear and almost no underwear left). I don’t know if this is reminiscent of freshman year, but it seems like something a freshman would do. And apparently a junior.

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This is me taking my vitamins (basically candy, which is the only way I will take vitamins daily), opening up my laptop to do work, and then taking a nap instead.

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In this post from freshman year, I stated, “I still need naptime and snacktime, so I’m basically in preschool.” ← still true.

Snacktime in class, exhibit A:

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I’ve had many dining hall meals to use up these past couple of weeks, so it’s been fun feeling like freshman/sophomore me, going to the ol’ d-hall every day.

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The server gave me, like, three servings of barley on that plate, but I ate it all because I was so hungry. It was one of times when I could feeeeel the glucose nourishing my brain.

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Zoe put her cookies in there on purpose

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pepperjack mac and cheese!!!

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look at all our salads + mac and cheeses

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snickerdoodle cookie x2 because they were that good

I would say that the dining hall draws me to eat more desserts, but we all know that’s not true.

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a cup of two different kinds of gelato that I bought on sale before Easter 🙂

It’s been nice not having to buy as many groceries as the semester closes out and I have dining hall meals to use, but that means that when I do eat at the apartment, it’s usually eggs or canned fish of some sort.

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egg sandwich with sun-dried tomato butter

The weather has been very mild and quite nice recently. The trees are bloomin’ and beautiful!

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But just like freshman year around finals week, my allergies are up the wazoo! I can’t stop sneezing and crying.

Some days I go to the gym or work out outdoors, and other days, I take it back to dorm workouts on the mat. Like this 30 minute yoga from Fightmaster Yoga!

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Ya know how I don’t love running? Or at least how I always say I don’t love running? Well I’ve been running with my friends once or twice a week for these past few weeks, and I can dig it.

Convo with Sarah:

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Just like freshman year when I started running 4-5 miles for a few weeks randomly, even though I claimed to not like running. Well it had been over two years since I had run 5 miles, and I did just that with Sarah yesterday morning. ‘Twas glorious!

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perfect running weather

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I do like running. I do. I think I like it more now because I don’t pressure myself to hold a certain pace, I enjoy running with friends, and I play it by ear. If I wanna run, I will. If I don’t want to, I won’t. NOVEL CONCEPTS.

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We also discovered that we got matching blisters after our run.

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wimpy

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I thought it was necessary to show you all that we got a blister in the exact same spot on our feet (the spot is innervated by the medial plantar nerve in case you were wondering #GrossAnatomyStudyingALLTHETIME).

And now I should continue studying. Blogging was a great break as always. My friends Domenica and Nico did Uptown Funk Zumba with me for 5 minutes just now too. Keeping life zesty.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend! Good luck to my fellow college students who are facing finals. Forge on!

p.s. I think I lost my early bird streak the night after I posted my last blog post lol.

So tell me:

Have you been running outside recently?

College friends: What’s life looking like for ya?

What is the best thing you’ve eaten this week? That mac and cheese wins.

Current Simple Joys

Life is hectic and cluttered enough, so let’s keep things simple today.

current simple joys

Snow days.

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{last Thursday}

Making waffles with my roommate on said snow day.

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and glasses of milk in mason jars

Ecstatic Californian friends who have never experienced a snow day before (@Sarah).

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crooked smiles because I’m pretty sure the left side of my face was frozen

Sipping hot cocoa and talking about the mystery of the universe with friends after coming inside from the frigid cold.

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Situations/statements that make me or someone else laugh like an idiot.

When people do spot-on impressions of other people.

Workout dates with Christina.

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Followed by lunch dates + good lighting for food photos.

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@ Mei Mei’s Street Kitchen – we shared corn fritters…

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…and I got a classic double awesome 

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When my best friend gets me a piece of carrot cake with a glass o’ milk at the dining hall.

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Waking up after less than 7 hours of sleep but still feeling alert.

Bending over to stretch and letting blood rush to my head after a long day.

Perfect avocados.

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Which turn into perfect avocado egg toasts.

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When hundreds of gross anatomy flashcards pay off.

Friends who are undyingly loving of one another.

Gelato on sale.

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Painting my nails while studying.

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Standing close to the stage for an acoustic concert with my best friend.

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Hailey Knox opened – she is insanely talented!!!

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just supporting my close pals

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they are incredible ♥︎ 

Discovering a new song to play on repeat.

Breakfast that’s already made.

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Having pockets of time to move and groove in some way every day.

Mountains of guacamole.

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not a joy – stomach ache after eating this whole thing #whoops

FaceTiming with the family.

Having something to look forward to this weekend (retreat + long weekend + Rachel turning 21!).

So tell me:

Three current simple joys in your life!

What are you doing this weekend?

Cheers, Dublin

HELLO, AMERICA!

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could not wipe the smile off my face when I saw this

I can hear Frank Sinatra singing, “New York, New York”.

It’s like I never even left this side of the pond. I’ve gone right back to eating sushi, driving, and using toilet paper that comes in roll form.

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I swear I did not ask for this to be taken, but Madre takes as many random photos as I do

No, but seriously, my brain is still processing the fact that I studied abroad in Ireland for the past 3.5 months. It was a whirlwind, a challenge, and a blast. I’ll save the reflections for another post and just focus on the transition from Europe back to America in this post.

My peers and I celebrated what felt like the end of an era during our last days in Dublin. Megan and I were basically obligated to go to one last brunch:

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The Lovely Food Co.1 was the first brunch place we ate at in Dublin, so we chose it as our last brunch destination to bring it full circle. ‘Twas a fabulous decision because this was the best brunch we had in Ireland. She ordered the eggs benedict, and I ordered the eggs royale (same thing except with smoked salmon instead of ham).

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The crusty bread was unconventional, but it totally worked. For brunch dessert, we split an order of their brioche French toast, since that’s what Megan ordered her first time there, and she could not stop thinking about since.

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For good reason!! This little guy was perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Served with cream, berry compote, and classic maple syrup. #dead.

We may or may not have bought two desserts from the bakery to take away.

After walking around city centre to look for books for our plane ride (I ended up buying the fourth HP book because I needed to return the one I had to the library, but I still had 200+ pages left), we had a late farewell lunch with all the students and program directors at Il Corvo Italian restaurant.

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I had the lasagna with a side of veggies and happily finished it all. I also almost cried after one of the program director’s farewell speeches. All good things here!

Later that night, a few of us walked back to city centre for some gelato and store-perusing.

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“Florence cream” flavor from Gelato di Natura (it tasted like saffron!)

Megan and I also watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them while eating our sneaked-in dinners in the back of the theatre.

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sandwiches and salads — your typical theatre fare 

p.s. the movie was great! a little confusing, but fantastic nevertheless. Eddie Redmayne *swoon*

And then, of course, we had to join the rest of our friends for one last night out on the town!

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baby Guinness shots (the first and last shot I will have ever had in Ireland…until next time!)

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I wish I could say I was cool and went pub-hopping that night, but I went home after the first bar and called it a night.

Saturday morning called for a quick workout and the last scramble to pack our whole lives into our suitcases (“It’s TWO POUNDS over 50!!!”). Eventually, we made it through the airport and onto the plane. My last meal in Ireland was this sandwich with veggies, relish, and an absurdly thick slice of cheese.

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Followed by a pretty tasty airplane dinner a few hours later. They served us turkey and stuffing meals with pasta and veggies, soda bread and Kerrygold butter (♥︎), and raspberry white chocolate mousse. What luxury!

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“milk in a stick”

Purchasing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the plane ride was one of the wiser decisions I’ve made in my life. It occupied me for the almost the whole 7 hours! (It also blew my MIND.) I was also very surprised that I never napped or even got up to pee during the entire flight.

When we arrived in New York, my family greeted me at the airport, and I almost cried again. I was so happy to see them. Also, one of the first things my brother told me after I hugged him was that they bought me Lloyd’s carrot cake. I appreciate how well they know me.

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Even though it was past midnight Dublin time, it was only 7:30 pm when I met up with them and they hadn’t eaten dinner yet. By then, I was pretty hungry for a midnight snack/dinner too, so they took me to eat some delicious sushi, since I had not eaten any in Europe (I had trust issues).

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Also, Madre bought me a portable massage table for Christmas (upon my request, since I’ve been learning how to give good massages in Dublin), so Pop broke it in for me as I gave him a massage that night. The gift that keeps on giving, I say!

Regarding jetlag, I’m actually pretty adjusted already! I persevered and stayed up until 11:30pm NY time (4:30am Dublin time) and woke up at 9 am yesterday.

I was feeling ready to move and groove in the morning, but I had limited time before Mass, so I did 100 burpees for time. I tied my previous PR (6:12), but not without my heart feeling like it would explode. Holy smokes, I had not done a “sprint” like that in a while.

This dinner last night was nothing out of the ordinary except that I cooked the eggs on a gas stove (instead of electric like in our Dublin dorms, which I didn’t realize until now takes 10x longer to heat up) and that I topped it with SRIRACHA. Oh, how I missed thee.

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Followed by cake for dayyyyyyz.

Today I’m headed up to a very special city for a couple days 🙂 More to come!

I have so much to say and reflect upon in regards to my study abroad experience in Ireland, but for now, I’ll say:

Sláinte, Baile Átha Cliath (Cheers, Dublin)!

So tell me:

What did you do this weekend?

What is the best airport/airline food you’ve ever eaten?

Are there any things about coming home that you didn’t even realize you missed during an extended vacation/trip?

Virtual Brunch Date

If we were having brunch…

…I would sit down with wild hair, out of breath, and slightly overwhelmed. But look at all this brunch! Megan and I have adopted a tradition of eating brunch in town after Sunday Mass. It’s always a heart-healthy affair highlight of the week!

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two weekends ago at Herbstreet: “breakfast of champions” cassava rosti with smoked salmon, spinach, avocado, a poached egg, and capers — top notch.

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yesterday at San Lorenzo’s: crab cakes with poached eggs and hollandaise + char-grilled asparagus, tomato, arugula, and home fries 

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sorry and you’re welcome for this photo

…I would tell you that I cleaned my plate both weeks.

…I would tell you that our good friend from Boston, Briana, who is studying abroad in Spain, visited us in Dublin a couple weeks ago! Of course, we had to get some bread and butter pudding with her 🙂

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…I would tell you how pleasantly surprised I am with the Dublin Zoo. A few of us went two Fridays ago, and we had so much fun! It was pretty cold, but a lot of the animals were out to say hello. But we were reminded very easily that zoos are mainly an attraction for people ages 5-13.

“Moooom! MOM. Mooooooooom, look!!! It’s a TIGER!”

I was just as intrigued by the tykes as I was by the animals, tbh.

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ostriches are the most fabulous/terrifying creatures

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…I would tell you that, although I didn’t miss peanut butter too much in Switzerland and Italy, it was good to be reunited with my fave when I got back to Ireland.

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…I would tell you that the weekends are not just about brunch. Dessert is also our idea of a good time.

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post-zoo, pre-dinner crepe with banana and salted caramel + vanilla ice cream

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spiced pear ginger cake a la mode on some random night

…I would tell you that I’ve also been cookin’ up some colorful, more nutritious foods. I basically cook one thing to eat for lunch/dinner the entire week. Some say it’s sad and boring to eat the same thing every day for five days straight, but I don’t mind at all.

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beet and goat cheese salad with balsamic

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two weeks ago: whole wheat rotini with sundried tomatoes, basil, chicken, and garlic (best thing I’ve cooked here in Dublin!)

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last week: white jasmine rice with chicken, peppers, and Jalfrezi sauce

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salmon salad (greek yogurt, spicy mustard, cracked black pepper, and raisins— don’t judge, it was good!)

A lot of eggs also.

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goat cheese, spinach, eggs, ketchup on toast

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avocado, goat cheese, mustard, spinach, egg sandwich

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classic avocado toast with eggs

Would it be more economical to invest in an actual hen at this point?

…I would tell you that I am enjoying my internship at a physiotherapy clinic so far! Some of the highs:

  • I get to observe some of the sessions and compare physiotherapy in Ireland to physical therapy in the States.
  • The people at work are super kind and fun.
  • They play Boyce Avenue all day at the office.
  • I get to wear long athletic pants and sneakers (BLESS).
  • They dry needle and massage me for educational purposes.
  • I get to participate in the Pilates classes.
  • I can take the bus (and read Harry Potter on the ride) OR walk if I’m feelin’ it.
  • The owner of the clinic bought me a superb doughnut one day last week.

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I don’t even like chocolate, but this was amazing

Some of the lows:

  • Sometimes the desk part of the job involves more sitting than my butt prefers.
  • I made an extremely poor choice of footwear one day last week…

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they were squelching with water by the time I arrived at work — completely saturated

…I would tell you that dry needling is not common in the US, but it is in Ireland, and I kinda love it. It’s like aggressive acupuncture? A super thin needle is inserted into your myofascial trigger points (your muscle “knots”) repeatedly, and the muscle grabs onto the needle and releases, causing it to “break up” the trigger point. It’s a sore process during and afterward for a day or so, but it works!! She did my traps and calves. Yeeeeeeeesh.

“Your calf reaction is pretty intense.”

Yeah, I felt it.

…I would tell you that I laid low this weekend and loved it. I barely did anything on Friday after class. I wasted time on my phone, ate pizza and gelato with friends, and watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with Megan and Cristen (I’m such a fan now. A whole new world has been opened unto me.)

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dinner at Milano: dough balls with garlic butter to start (yeah, it’s everything you want)

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Roman-style thin crust pizza with goat cheese, caramelized onions, red onion, spinach + a salad in the middle — divine.

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I sense the holidays 🙂

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mint chip gelato at Gino’s!

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a bite of Megan’s pistachio gelato cannoli — so pretty!

…I would tell you that Megan and I wanted to WALK on Saturday, so walk we did! Almost 10 miles just around Dublin city centre. We learned that TJMaxx here is called TKMaxx and that Burger King’s chicken fries are actually delicious.

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Comes to Ireland. Goes to Burger King for chicken fries.

And God bless Megan. As we walked back home after several hours of semi-aimless window shopping, she said, “Let’s make scones tonight!”

So we did! We picked up the ingredients for less than €5 and got 12 scones out of this recipe. This is dangerous, friends. DANGEROUS.

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we made a few cinnamon swirl, a couple plain, a couple chocolate chip, and a couple cinnamon raisin 

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These were freaking fantastic (on their own OR with butter OR with butter and jam), not gonna lie. Comparable to, or even better than, all the other scones we’ve had here in Ireland!

We also made Irish flapjacks, which are not pancakes. They’re oat bars with golden syrup, brown sugar, and butter.

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“It’s like really unhealthy granola.” -Megan. AKA your dream that you try to suppress.

Shhh. Let it happen.

…I would tell you that moves and grooves have been happening as they may. Recently I’ve felt pretty tired and sore overall (probably lack of sleep for no good reason), but that just means that workouts are even more fun and appreciated when I feel up to them!

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…I would apologize for this being so long and for being bad about blogging recently. I am always so appreciative of the loving comments and support!

…I would also thank all those who shared their thoughts and feelings with me regarding my random vlog yesterday, “Why Am I Catholic?”

…I would ask you:

What are you eating for breakfast/brunch this morning?

Tell me two things about your life lately!

Have you ever tried dry needling or acupuncture?