Goodness Gracious, Galway

Is there a place on this island that won’t steal my heart!?

My goodness, Ireland might be one of the most underrated beautiful nations in the world. Then again, I haven’t been around too much of the world yet, but I can appreciate this little country for what it is!

Friday

I did some chores and work in the morning before a few of us headed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin city centre.

img_3294

img_3301 img_3315 img_3319 img_3322 img_3327 img_3330

This place is truly a masterpiece. Arches, carvings, stained-glass window, stairways, tombs— like a fantasy novel setting! It’s also Anglican, not Catholic, which I did not know!

Then I did homework on Friday night. Lame award of the year. But it was for good reason because I was also packing for a weekend trip to Galway. Even though it was a two day trip, I was more nervous for this weekend jaunt than leaving the US for Ireland. I think it was because this is the first trip I planned completely without my parents’ intervention at all. Just Megan, me, and the good ol’ Internet (← in other words, we had infinite resources at our fingertips).

Saturday

I woke up at around 5:50 to get in a super quick workout before we hit the road. I did a warmup + 12 minute workout before gathering my things, eating some pb+j banana oats, and walking to bus #1.

img_3362 img_3367

We successfully made it to the airport, where bus #2 departed. But we used the airport restroom and found this dispenser, which was…handy?

img_3368

Megan: “Why can you get toffee from the same machine as your tampons?”

So we ran away to Galway. It was about a 2.5 hour bus ride, and we emerged in the new city (SUCCESS) without a plan until dinner time. First stop: lunch at The Dough Bros.

img_3376 img_3377

They had free crunchy chocolate chip cookies at the order counter, so that was our appetizer 😀

img_3378

And then we shared the “Hey Pesto” pizza, which had homemade basil pesto, goat cheese, smoked semi-sundried tomatoes, balsamic red onions, and fresh rocket (arugula).

img_3380

BOMB.

With happy bellies, we walked around the streets of Galway city, which were just charming. Our secret mission was to find dessert (I had scones on my mind for whatever reason), so we circled around before finding a little strip of street vendors.

img_3393 img_3394

I sampled four different kinds of bread from The Happy Loaf, and then I finally bought a white chocolate blueberry spelt muffin (that he baked right there in some outdoor oven contraption!).

Megan bought a caramel slice from a different vendor, and we brought our desserts to the River Corrib, where we blissfully enjoyed our treats with a view.

img_3397

the muffin could have used more blueberries, but it was still delicious!

img_3396 img_3410

img_3399

“the garbage swan” ➔ Megan’s unofficial name for this thing

We walked up to the ocean area called Salthill, which offered a delightful sea breeze and a peaceful atmosphere.

img_3437 img_3430

img_3435

img_3497

We couldn’t stay too long, because we had to catch a bus to Kinvara for dinner. However, in our haste, Megan twisted her (semi-recently sprained) ankle 😦 Darn cobblestone.

Luckily there was an ambulance literally right there where she twisted her ankle, so I asked the EMTs for an ice pack. One guy, Tom, kindly ran around the corner (to who knows where) to get one, while another guy, Eoin (pronounced “own”) came to chat with us and check on Megan.

Not only were these two gentlemen very helpful in Megan’s plight, but Megan and I agreed that Eoin was a darn good-looking and friendly man, who made the situation slightly less stressful. He even recommended a good fish & chips place.

God provides.

Tom came with the ice (and even an ACE wrap), so Megan was able to elevate and ice her ankle on the 40 minute bus ride to Kinvara (couldn’t have been a better situation, given the circumstances!).

img_3438

She had to buy a brace once we arrived, but she’s a trooper. We walked a few minutes over to Dunguaire Castle, where we were scheduled for a medieval banquet!

img_3441

First, we toured. This thing is over 500 years old!

img_3445 img_3448 img_3449 img_3451 img_3462

location of the banquet we would enjoy in the evening

img_3464 img_3495

super narrow at the top

Then I got antsy and did some weird things on the lawn, which definitely got in the way of some people’s photos from afar.

img_3496 img_3502

Megan: “I took a picture of you doing your weird squats over there.” 

I was stretching my hips!

At 5:30, our banquet commenced. They served us mead at the beginning, which is honeyed wine. It was meh. I didn’t have much of it, but it was fun to sip it while listening to harp music.

img_3470 img_3471

We made a toast and headed upstairs to the banquet! Sorry for the bad quality pics to come; medieval times aren’t generous with the lighting, ya know?

Each dinner course was announced, and our meal/social time was interlaced with lovely singing pieces. The singers were so talented!

img_3480

smoked salmon + capers and veggies

img_3481 img_3482

soda bread with butter (Megan’s favorite food of the whole banquet. It was really good bread.)

img_3483

potato leek soup from a pitcher (my favorite food of the night, especially with the bread dipped in)

img_3494

no spoons!

img_3484

chicken in mushroom sauce + veggies and fried potatoes

img_3485

apple slice with fresh cream

img_3486

I had a single sip of red wine. I just don’t like alcohol apparently.

There was a longer performance after our meal was complete. Overall, Megan and I had a fun experience and were glad we did it. We were definitely the youngest ones there, but the couple sitting next to us was super friendly, and we loved talking with them!

img_3488

So stuffed and so happy.

Our first Airbnb experience was GREAT! Our host, Valerie, was phenomenal. She even picked us up from the castle after I told her that Megan was injured. Her room for us was so clean and cozy, and the bathroom was AMAZING (because any step up from a dorm bathroom is amazing). Also, her dog is the happiest dog on earth.

img_3493 img_3490

she left us tea, water, and “buns”!!!

We slept well that night.

Sunday

Valerie prepared a nice breakfast for us, consisting of brown bread (can’t get enough) with butter and jam + tea + cereal.

img_3512 img_3513

‘Twas hearty and filling for the journey back to Galway city. Valerie is the best; if you ever stay in Kinvara, go to her!!

Megan and I meandered around Galway city again once we got back there. We wanted to go to Mass at the Galway Cathedral at 12:30, but we had some time to kill. We visited the Spanish Arch, which was kinda underwhelming, but it’s old and historical!

img_3527

What we really got excited for was this playground.

img_3595 img_3597 img_3598 img_3544

“living her best life”

Then we paid 50 cents to use the cathedral washroom before doing our church thing. Prayer, confession, photos, and Mass. The Galway Cathedral is just stunning!

img_3536 img_3554

After Mass, we walked to Brasserie on the Corner for lunch. There was a two-course meal deal for €18.95, which was fantastic. Especially because of…

THE SODA BREAD.

img_3558

we’re slightly obsessed and vow to not eat anymore unless we are served it

I ordered the salmon with pea and bacon cream for my entree. The entrees came with potatoes two ways + steamed vegetables. Everything was so tasty!

img_3559 img_3560

I had to eat very slowly, because this stuff was rich. But the dessert compartment stayed open for this peanut butter parfait (not the kind of parfait we’re used to back home…parfait is more of a frozen mousse here, kinda like a semifreddo) with vanilla ice cream and honeycomb.

img_3562

This meal kept us full until almost 10 pm!

And so we just strolled some more until our bus ride back home. We saw a few churches and revisited Salthill to walk down the whole bar and feel the wind in our hair. A very Titanic moment.

img_3585

img_3584 img_3603

what a precarious moment lol

img_3583

We barely talked, except for the few times we starting singing “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. We just wanted to soak in the views and the breeze.

Megan and I also had a weird obsession with the award plaques on restaurant fronts. We just wanted to touch all of them.

img_3591

We’re adults. We travel on our own.

And now I’m back at the dorm, gearing up for our second week of classes. It’s funny, because finals are in less than a month. YAY.

But seriously, I am so grateful for this weekend in Galway with Megan and for the experiences I’ve had here in Ireland so far. God is good.

(All the time!)

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Galway?

Do you like Irish soda bread?

Have you ever used Airbnb?

Have you ever had an unfortunate experience, but somehow all the circumstances to deal with it were in place?

What did you do this weekend? 

Advertisements

Nothing Like A Little Friendly Competition

Everything huuuuurts.

This weekend was packed with good and fun things (at the expense of sleep and my safety at times), which explains why I’m posting this today instead of yesterday. What’s been happenin’!?

Friday

‘Twas a pretty standard day— class, bible study, gym (two rounds of this workout— another one of my faves @Jo), work, “trying” to do homework in my dorm on a Friday night.

IMG_0456

I was actually in a good mood

IMG_0451

IMG_0452

they had avocado! *praise hands*

IMG_0453

very much wanted to eat the chicken I cooked at work

Saturday

Are you ever up in the middle of the night and tired enough that you can’t read a book but “on” enough that your brain can’t shut up? That was me this day.

IMG_0457

I must keep telling myself that I am indeed thankful for functioning kidneys.

Saturday was a big day because some folks at the Catholic Center (myself included) participated in a fun, athletic competition called the “St. Sebastian Cup”. My friend Lauren sent me a snapchat of herself that morning making a protein shake with the caption: “Are you scared?”

IMG_0454

I had overnight oats, so no, I was not scared.

IMG_0455

The competition consisted of three games of Ultimate Frisbee…

12977139_1175653815792500_6217010341993991759_o

copyright Cecilia R. Photography

My team didn’t score a single point in all three games… but we had HEART. Unfortunately, heart doesn’t get you points.

12976825_1175653809125834_5586802166297899879_o

copyright Cecilia R. Photography

But then there was this banana relay race. We all had to jump across a field and back with a banana between our knees, then run with the banana between partners without using our hands, and finally eat the banana.

12983819_1175653845792497_7232883365902792182_o

copyright Cecilia R. Photography

EXPERT. But only good enough for second place.

Next came the painful part. We played two games of capture the flag, and I may or may not have been plowed over by one of my teammates when we were both sprinting to tag the same person. It all happened in slow motion, and before I knew it, we were both eating dirt and my right hip was talkin’ to me.

But as any elite athlete would, we carried on with the competition.

Lastly, we had tug o’ war with a thin, slippery nylon strap. Safe? Not at all. Blood was shed. Maybe it helps that St. Sebastian is a martyr? (Too dark?)

Anyway, my team got fourth (aka last), and Rachel’s team got first.

12984037_1174871165870765_8834852091035671383_o

copyright Cecilia R. Photography

(*cough* stacked team *cough* what?)

IMG_0458

It was a mighty fun time though, and we all went to the dining hall to feast on good food, including some bomb bread pudding.

At night, I attended a Women’s Retreat about being uniquely made. It was a lovely, heartwarming way to end a hard day of “friendly” competition (things got pretty spicy at some points!).

IMG_0464

The lovely ladies running the retreat made us vegan sweet potato chili! I un-veganized it with cheese and sour cream 🙂

IMG_0467

IMG_0469

freshly baked chocolate banana bread ♥︎ 

I did some reading for class back at home afterwards, and I kept falling asleep. Rachel kept waking me up and motivating me to finish my homework like a good friend. But I wanted to sleep.

Sunday

I think it’s safe to say that everyone who participated in the St. Sebastian Cup woke up moaning in pain on Sunday morning. Convo with my girl, Lauren:

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.18.54 PM

The pain was even worse two days later.

But Sunday was a beautiful day for productivity, Mass, and National Siblings Day!

IMG_0471

banana oatmeal with almond butter for breakfast

IMG_0472

not a cloud in the sky

IMG_0482

finding places to stand and do work outside

IMG_0485

took the siblings out for dinner (Rachel is the “adopted sister”)

IMG_0484

roasted butternut squash, goat cheese, spinach, balsamic pizza

IMG_0487

berry + vanilla creme crepe

And then there was Monday, which was a solid day all around. We had stretch and massage day in dance class, so that was GREAT.

Hope you all have a fantastic week! Play outside and get into some friendly competition (just be careful).

So tell me:

What is your favorite competitive athletic activity?

Is there something that you get very competitive about?

What did you do this weekend? 

Sharing Food and Sharing Life in NYC

I am wearing fuchsia yoga pants right now and I feel fabulous.

IMG_9844

trying not to pull my tight hamstrings

I decided to attend ballet class at my old dance school tonight last night, but I don’t think I fit into any of my leotards and tights anymore. Ergo, these bright and fun capris! I never wear this color, but I’m a fan.

(Thanks for buying them for me, Madre ♥︎)

These past couple of days I have been meeting up with a few friends to share food and share life. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in college, it’s how to be a better listener and sharer. Last year, I developed a deeper and much more sincere interest in other people’s lives (especially people I don’t know that well).

I’ve also come to believe more that my own life experiences are worth sharing in conversation. I mean, I share my life to the whole world on this blog, but no one has to read it if he or she doesn’t want to. In real time conversation, however, I used to be afraid to talk about my life because I didn’t think it was interesting or that the other person wouldn’t care. Sometimes that’s true, but you never know which little stories could turn into great conversations.  It sparks human connection. I’ve said it before: Your story matters and it’s beautiful!

WHAT-I-ATE-WEDNESDAY-NEW-BUTTON-PEAS-AND-CRAYONS

Anyway, let’s talk about Monday. It started off with breakfast, an 8 minute ab workout, and a train ride to Grand Central.

DSC_2091

whipped banana oatmeal: 1/2 c. oats, half banana, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, chia seeds, an egg, and peanut butter

I was on my way to see my girl Colby, who was one of my cabin-mates at Blend Retreat last year! We met up at Grand Central before walking to The Picnic Basket for some bomb-dig sandwiches.

IMG_9803 IMG_9801

French Goat Cheese – chicken, sundried tomato pesto, grilled zucchini, figs, tomatoes and fresh greens on multigrain

This thing was massive and so tasty. I ate one half and saved the other half for later (ended up being Pop’s dinner on the train ride home!). Then it was time for the 50+ block walk to get the beloved…

IMG_9804

Lloyd’s carrot cake! Remember when Ben and I detoured to get this over Thanksgiving break? Colby saw my snapchat at the time and told me she wanted in on it.

IMG_9805

I wasn’t mad about it.

IMG_9841

does she love me or the carrot cake?

We housed our hefty slices of carrot cake WITH raisins and walnuts (major key) while our fingers froze off. FUNNY STORY: When we were walking back, we stopped at a Barnes and Noble to use the restroom, and my fingers were so cold that I couldn’t re-button my jeans. I am telling you, I could. not. do it. My fingers were deprived of the energy to do any sort of fine motor movements. Luckily, I was wearing a big ol’ belt, so I just buckled that over the button and called it a solution.

Moving on.

We walked only 20-ish blocks back before we decided to take the subway to Grand Central where Colby and I parted ways. It was such a privilege to spend the day with this girl! She is so genuine and kind, and I admire her balanced outlook on food and fitness.

IMG_9816

From there, I had two hours to kill before dinner with my lovely friend, Christine. After half an hour of catching up with some things on my phone, I explored Grand Central.

IMG_9826

casual squash tournament of champions going down

IMG_9832

Grand Central Apple Store

IMG_9829

Grand Central Market

You literally have everything you need there.

My phone was running low on battery, so I walked to a Duane Reade pharmacy and stood awkwardly behind a wall of paper towels and nail polish to charge my phone at an outlet. Then it was time for dinner at Lan Larb with Christine!

IMG_9837 IMG_9836

spicy basil pork with rice

I thought I was still full from carrot cake until I finished this whole thing. I guess that’s what walking over 23,000 steps does to ya!

IMG_9840

p.s. I never check this app, but I was interested on Monday since we walked so much!

It was so fun catching up with Christine and having some great girl talk. She is such a sweetheart (with substantial sass!).

IMG_9838

I need lessons from Christine on how to pose in photos

Bonus: Yesterday I met up with an old friend from high school for lunch! She was kind enough to reach out to me so we could catch up.

IMG_9843

tuna cucumber and eel avocado roll (my faves!)

And that, my friends, is how to share food and share life. 

Just kidding, do it however you like. This was all a grand time though. I am so grateful for good people and nourishment.

So tell me:

Are you an open book, closed book, or somewhere in between when it comes to sharing life stories in conversation? I’m still somewhere in between, but I’m more of an open book than before! Also depends on the person/context obviously. Fun fact: I used to be more introverted, but according to my most recent Myers-Briggs test, I’m an extravert!

Have your fingers ever been SO cold that you literally couldn’t move them?

What is the best thing you ate Monday/yesterday? The carrot cake for me. Duh.

The brightest color of clothing you own!

Chronicles of Becoming a Grownup

Thinking-Out-Loud

Head over to Spoons for lots of thinking out loud!

1) I’m very tempted to see if I can cook an egg on the sidewalk. It is blazing hot here in New York!!! It was 92F yesterday, but I’m pretty sure it felt like 110.

DSC_1726

for now I’ll stick to cooking my eggs on the stovetop

2) Let’s talk about transitioning into a grownup. I guess I’m at a point in my life where I have a million revelations about how the world works, how other people work, and how I myself work. It’s really cool to be learning so much about life through new experiences, rather than just learning about them through textbooks and lectures.

3) So here starts my chronicles of becoming a grownup. Account #1: I was taking in the trash bin from the curb, and the lid was open. As I went to close the lid, I looked inside and saw a profusion of maggots at the bottom of the trash bin. Cue ALL THE HEEBIE JEEBIES.

yuck_that_70s_show

[source]

Rather than waiting for my dad to get home, I put on my big girl pants and used our garden hose + dish soap to spray the trash bin a bunch of times and rinse out the nastiness. Biggest accomplishment of the summer, in my opinion.

3) Account #2: I’ll clean the floors meticulously, admire the newly cleaned floors, walk two feet forward, and find more dirt/crumbs/scuff marks. Then I’ll clean that spot, walk away, come back to that spot 15 minutes later, and find that I missed a whole section of dirtiness thanks to the different lighting.

wqzpzn

[source]

4) Account #3: I paid for my own year-supply of contact lenses for the first time ever ($$$$). Then I realized those contacts weren’t fitting my eyes correctly.

13-you-live-in-the-city-now

[source]

I’m getting that worked out, don’t worry.

5) Account #4: I’ve been making several doctor appointments, going to those doctor appointments, making decisions for myself (“OKAY I’LL TAKE THAT SHOT SINCE YOU SAY IT’S GOOD, DOC. I DON’T FEEL PRESSURED OR ANYTHING.”), and figuring out how insurance cards work…and stuff.

taylor-swift-gif

[source]

Copay? Erm, yes? No? Can I phone a friend?

6) I often wonder how I’m going to get through life. I’ve been raised in a comfortable, loving environment; I’ve been pretty spoiled. But I’m trying to learn as much as I can, taking each experience (no matter how ordinary) for all it’s worth, and slowly learning how to be a grownup. All with God’s grace. #LordHelpMe

7) And don’t get me started on the mental/emotional/spiritual changes and revelations that are occurring as I become a grownup. To be chronicled in the future…

8) Let’s lighten up this post with some food photos. I’d like you to know that pesto and goat cheese go together mighty well.

DSC_1717

pesto chicken, goat cheese, greens on an English muffin

And that summer peaches are one of life’s simple pleasures.

DSC_1725

9) I tried a sample Vega One French Vanilla nutrition shake (from Blend, surprise surprise) mixed with just water yesterday (since I was drinking it on the go).

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

in a Quest shaker bottle, also from Blend

I don’t know if I’m just not a fan of the whole protein powder + water thing, but this was gnarlyyy. In a bad way. It was kinda goopy and mealy, and the green color (from the veggie content of the powder?) did not help the cause. I still finished it, but it was a little bit of a choke.

I’m not discrediting Vega One. I’m sure it would have been great in a smoothie or something, but with just water? Never again.

10) This seems like such a complain-y post, but it’s all for a good laugh (if you’re not laughing, at least I’m laughing at myself). God is good, and I am grateful.

Hope you have a day filled with learning, discovery, and good vibes (<— idk, trying to be hipster).

So tell me:

If you’re around my age, what’s a recent experience that made you feel one step closer to being a grownup?

If you’re already a grownup, do you still have trouble doing grownup things? (This question is to comfort and console me for the future.)

Have you ever tried just protein powder and water? 

Snapchat, Podcasts, and Current Snack Addiction

Thinking-Out-Loud

1) I used to think Snapchat was the worst social media platform ever. Sending anyone photos that will be forever deleted (or so they say) after a few seconds seemed funny, but also very….dangerous? My fear was opening a snap and being like:

AHH - Oh my

[source]

2) But now Snapchat has this whole “My Story” phenomenon, and I don’t hate it. You don’t have to scroll through a feed to see what people are up to, and I find some people’s stories to be quite entertaining. Mine aren’t that cool, but if you want to follow me and see me livin’ life (in case you don’t see enough of that here), my username is alisonmty. Option two would be to scan this:

IMG_7056

3) Continuing on the theme of social media, what is the deal with accounts like this?

IMG_7057

Zero posts, not following anyone, over 19,000 followers. I don’t know, I just don’t.

4) Yes, I am continually doctoring my social media obsession. I did a pretty good job a few weeks ago by limiting my time on social media to about half an hour total every day. Then I fell off that bandwagon, but I should hop back on.

5) Okay one more thing regarding technology, but this seems more productive than social media. I’ve started listening to podcasts! What I mean by that is I’ve started listening to two podcasts— Girls Gone WOD (found out about them through Tina’s blog) and The Catholic Guy’s Show. They’re both funny, informative, and thought-provoking. Listening to podcasts is like being a passive listener to a really good conversation that fascinates you.

I would appreciate any podcast recommendations! (I do know about Serial.)

6) Popcorners are the most addicting snack in all the land. It’s like opening the door to Narnia when you open the bag.

DSC_1685 DSC_1681

times 5000

*Dad opens bag*

Me: Be careful, those are addicting.

*Dad chuckles*

*I go over to eat one…then two*

Me: They’re just so good!

*I go for another one*

Me: See, as soon as you open the bag…!

Dad: Yeah. Close it. Close it.

7) Sandwiches on English muffins have been rockin’ my world. Not because sandwiches between two pieces of regular bread aren’t fantastic, but when English muffins are BOGO, you hop on it and put yummy things inside.

DSC_1677

goat cheese and turkey meatloaf

DSC_1679

avocado, goat cheese, two eggs

8) After a hot and humid weekend, the weather eased up beautifully yesterday! My morning walk was crisp and pleasant.

IMG_7053

9) “25 Things Girls Put On Instagram That Annoy All Women”. Okay, going back to Instagram for a quick sec because I just found this. Although I definitely don’t agree with some of the things on this list, I do find the post hilarious. “Bathroom selfies: Oh well your house is just lovely, laundry on the floor and all.”

10) I promise there’s more in my brain than social media and petty first world problems. Those things just keep it lighthearted around here. 🙂 Hope you all have a splendid day!

So tell me:

Do you use Snapchat?

Your current snack addiction?

Do you listen to podcasts? Have any favorites?

What annoys you on Instagram? Chances are, if someone’s posts are annoying me, I’m not following the person. That being said, I’m not a fan of random selfies with an emoji as a caption. I’m fine with selfies in general (meaningful caption, with friends, at a cool place, etc.), but the emoji caption is just…alrighty then. There you are.