A Deep Breath of Gratitude

I could C R Y.

It’s been oh so long, friends. Posting this blog post (after a 2+ month hiatus) feels like a huge virtual hug to any person out there who is reading this right now.

This semester has been a wild ride. Graduate school (+ life / growth / relationships) has proven to be quite different and much more challenging than I could have expected, but c’est la vie, eh?

But in the spirit of {American} Thanksgiving tomorrow, I thought this would be a fine time to take a hot minute to breathe and show gratitude for the things of life — the happy, the hurt, and every detail in between.

This semester…

I’ve experienced profound friendships.

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I’ve studied more than I ever have, but at the same time earned the most humbling and disappointing grades in my college career.

I’ve eaten some good-for-the-soul food.

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I’ve doubted my ability to become a competent physical therapist several times.

I’ve been ceaselessly encouraged by friends, family, and God to keep on keeping on.

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I’ve seen blue skies, gray skies, purple skies, and orange skies.

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I’ve had fun nights filled with line dancing, cheers-ing, and singing at the top of my lungs.

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I’ve had nights that didn’t seem to end even when the sun rose.

I’ve seen friends, family and strangers with even longer nights of the soul than I could imagine.

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I’ve made myself some wholesome foods.

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I’ve made myself think I’m eating wholesome foods.

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I’ve felt hurt in ways that I’ve never felt before.

But I’ve felt joy and the feeling of being cared for in ways that I’ve never felt before.

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I’ve seen what it means to be among beautiful women of God, who love to the very end.

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I’ve hurt others in ways I never intended but still wish I never did.

I’ve had to humble myself and apologize for my wrongdoings, which happen more times than I can count.

I’ve accomplished things in mind, soul, and body through God’s grace, and I’ve seen others do even more.

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I’ve seen tears of sadness, tears of guilt, tears of anger, and tears of joy.

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I’ve cried until I didn’t know why I was crying, and I’ve smiled until I didn’t know why I was smiling.

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I’ve dropped the ball in some friendships and allowed others to help me pick it up.

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I’ve seen God in every single day, in all of these things which remind me that, although we are dying, we are living all the more. I am beyond thankful for every person and every motion of the heart that has made this semester, this year, this LIFE… something beautiful.

God is good. All the time.

p.s. if you want to read something nourishing for the soul, please do yourself a favor and check out my friend Kelsey’s blog – she writes about beauty and about humanity so eloquently it hurts.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am grateful for you.

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I Have a Dream + Lately

I posted this yesterday morning, but for some reason, some readers only saw half the post while others saw the whole post. So I took it down and here I am re-posting it!


This post is not about Martin Luther King, Jr.

(Although he is obviously a character to be revered and happens to be a Boston University alumnus #holla. And may we also remember his courage especially during this time of the events in Charlottesville and Burkina Faso. Let us pray for the souls lost, those who are injured, all those affected and those who have hurt others.)

This post is about a dream that I have that was prompted by a bowl of ramen. Allow me to explain.

Last Saturday, I went to a quasi-famous little ramen place called Yume Wo Katare with my friend Justin, and the experience was fantastic, in the truest sense of the word. There was a line of people waiting outside before it opened for dinner, and we got to see the staff’s pre-opening ritual (perhaps?), which involved shouting things in a circle, jumping up and down and getting FIRED UP.

So they bring you into their little shack of a restaurant, which is made up of an open kitchen and three rows of 6 seats each, all facing the chefs. Our host gave us a rundown of what the restaurant is all about — good food (ramen) and good people who share their dreams and support others’ dreams.

The bowl of ramen is symbolic of your dream (could be a short term or long term dream). Eating the bowl of ramen is symbolic of you achieving your dream. Why? Because there will be people, doubts and circumstances that will try to get in the way of your dream, but you have to just push through the obstacles to achieve your dream.

peep the fatty broth, the fat rim on the pork, and the FAT SPRINKLE ON TOP WHAT THE FRICK

The bowl of ramen is similar in that the fattiness and saltiness of this epic bowl of ramen will try to slow you down and keep you from finishing it all, but you just have to persevere and try to get to the bottom of that bowl.

There are three sizes: regular (a lot of food), buta (translates to “pig”, means bigger sized bowl with more pork belly), and extra large (for the insane). I got a regular and Justin got a buta because he’s one of those metabolic machines (read: a young man).

So you wanna reach your dream by finishing the bowl of ramen, right? If you finish everything, including the broth, the staff shouts, “PERFECT!” If you finish everything but the broth, they shout, “GOOD JOB!” If you leave some solid food and broth, they say, “Almooooost.” If you leave a lot of food left, they say, “Next tiiiiime.”

I got a “GOOD JOB!” and got cramps afterwards, but it was a glorious bowl of ramen. The noodles were my favorite part.

But before they grade your ramen bowl, they give you the option of stating your dream to the other 17 customers + staff in the room. I didn’t know what I wanted to say as my dream, but I decided I would say something anyway.

I ended up saying:

My dream is to make everyone I meet in life know how much they are loved.

That is some of the mushiest cheese that I have ever spoken, but it’s true. As a nomad of life and an indecisive person, I have no specific professional or personal dreams, but making everyone feel genuinely loved is very important to me.

I can only say this because I have been genuinely loved by other souls throughout my life, even (and sometimes especially) when I don’t deserve the love. “To whom much is given, much will be expected.” – Someone Wise

And now for some updates on life! I’ve missed blogging so much. Finals were kicking my DERRIÈRE, but WE ARE DONE AS OF TODAY!! For two weeks at least.

Colby (← her new website is BOSS) finished her summer in Boston a couple weeks ago 😦 As a “see ya later” send-off, we went to a Power Stryde class at MyStryde in Boston’s North End, because moving and grooving together is what we do best. It was a fun class!

can’t wait to see your face again, Colby ♥︎

We followed that with a trip to Boston Public Market (my first time there after living here for three years?)!

I bought brown sugar blueberry bread from Jennifer Lee’s allergen-free bakery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this delicious bread for dessert/study reward the next three nights. Served a la mode with peanut butter, of course.

On one night a couple weeks ago, it was raining, I desperately needed to go grocery shopping, and Target decided it was a good time to switch over to paper bags. Ergo…

But now I don’t live so far away from campus, so this doesn’t have to happen anymore! I moved from Christie’s place to an apartment closer to campus with Rachel and our friend Lauren, which has been great. I’m tolerated a decent amount of disaster in my half-unpacked room as finals finished up, but now I can start fixing up this crib.

It’s an off-campus apartment, so I get to stay put for a WHOLE. YEAR. HALLELUJAH.

the lighting is nice in the living room too, just saying

Before I left Christie’s place, I had one last night with her dog, Koga, and boy did we have a memorable night together! Koga is a really good dog, but he apparently had way too much water to drink that day, so the poor thing peed inside while I was alone at home with him.

How could you be mad at this face though?

Moving was a (relative) breeze thanks to Christie and Andrew, who helped me move and drive all my stuff to the new place, and my parents, who came up to deliver my bed frame and mattress last weekend. Blessed.

Another #blessed moment was when Rachel spotted a curbed dresser a block away from our apartment and convinced me to take it for my room, since I have practically zero furniture. But when we quickly discovered that the dresser was absurdly heavy, a knight in shining armor kind and burly man sitting on his deck offered to help us move it into my room. It was still a ridiculously sweaty and difficult task with the three of us, but the man’s strength and chivalry was SO appreciated.

I’m baking him cookies sometime this week.

My legs get more attractive by the day, lemme tell you.

(bruises from moving the dresser)

Studying for four exams within 7 days has been…a lot. But some bonafide pray, eat, move and groove action has made it all beautiful.

still doing workouts with Spartan buddy (feat. “the best chocolate milk in the world” – Ben)

getting peer pressured into going to Tasty Burger with friends on Sunday night instead of going straight to studying *shrugs* – worth it

banana pancakes!

chicken enchiladas with homemade sauce (← so much easier than I imagined)

5.3(!!) mile run with Janice and Justin (they definitely slowed down for me, but I think we all enjoyed it!)

Elayne made us a healthy skillet cookie one night before an exam ♥︎ 

study snackage

our friend Joy made blueberry cheesecake that night too, and it was phenomenal (we had some for breakfast the next day too heh)

chatting, studying and sharing a giant blueberry muffin with my girl Janice = happiness

Lastly, this happened before 10 am Sunday:

Rachel and I went to MET Back Bay for brunch, since their Croque Madame was on our food bucket list. LOOK AT IT. The photo does not do the cheese weight and deliciousness justice. The fries with crispy sage and garlic dipping sauce were also ridiculous. We split that and the California Hen House Hash…

…which was a deep skillet of potatoes, chicken, onions, peppers, 10 more pounds of cheese, avocado and two eggs.

Just as we needed to put our forks down before finishing that monstrously epic meal, I need to put my fingers to rest with this freaking long post.

Hope you all have a blessed week! You are so loved. Promise.

So tell me:

What is your dream (short term or long term)?

Three things that have made you smile this past week!

Best thing you’ve eaten recently. I am so spoiled and can’t even choose. Probably the croque madame though.

Burning, Sweating, Smiling

I genuinely wonder how many gallons of sweat have been excreted from my body in this past week.

Summer is in full force, which is 75% of the reason why it’s been so long since I’ve posted. The other 25% is school. Those numbers are definitely supposed to be switched, but alas, this weekend definitely involved more summer fun than schoolwork.

There has been a lot of burnin’, sweatin’, and smilin’ happening here!

Wednesday

Yes, I’m starting all the way from last Wednesday, but I promise these are just the highlights.

After a full day of class, Colby, my friend/classmate Elayne and I used our ClassPass trial on a TRAINx360 class at a place called Everybody Fights in Boston’s financial district.

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The gym looks pretty trendy and is packed with all kinds of equipment. Our energetic instructor took us through several stations, including four different boxing stations, air dyne bike, battle ropes, KB burpees, jump squats, rowing, med ball high knees, and suspension trainer pikes. We did 6 rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds active rest at each station, and we were beat by the end of it.

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Oh, and the instructor ended it with a squat finisher that burned my quads.

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I freaking LOVED it though! The atmosphere, the group effort, the workout format, the movements. Highly recommend this gym if you’re in the Boston area!

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burning, sweating and smiling

All last week I noshed on my favorite chicken drumsticks with brown rice and some sort of vegetable.

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Thursday

The most exciting news from Thursday was seeing a turtle on the way to campus…

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…and using another one of my ClassPass trials on Happy Hour Yoga at BurnFit. This was both a relaxing and challenging class with some groovy tunes playing in the background.

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Friday

After classes, I headed to the gym and completed this workout:

5 rounds:

  • 500m row (2:18 pace)
  • 10 burpees

12 minute abs:

Then I met up with some friends at Le’s Vietnamese Restaurant for some bomb pho. Rachel and I shared a bowl of pork/shrimp/egg roll vermicelli and a large bowl of meatball pho. It was everything we needed.

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Fun fact: it has always been a rainy day when I’ve gone to Le’s. Pho weather is a thing.

Afterwards, we headed to Ben’s place to watch John Mulaney comedy on Netflix while eating ice cream right out of the carton. Casey, Lauren and I were sharing four different pints at once, and it was bliss.

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everyone give attention to Casey’s corgi sweatshirt

Casey bought the birthday cake flavor of Halo Top, which everyone raves about, and for good reason because it was so good!!

Saturday

The sun was out and burning bright. Perfect for kayaking (given that you have loads of sunscreen)!

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Photo compliments of my friend Nico

My Boston friends + Colby (honorary Boston friend now 🙂 ) and I headed to Cambridge to rent some kayaks and explore the city by water for a couple hours. ‘Twas glorious.

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Thank you x2 for capturing this, Nico!

Colby was my kayak buddy, but we made the mistake of putting her in the front. The stronger person is supposed to go in the back, so I think her mighty strength at the front of the boat (and my less mighty strength in the back) caused us to have some steering issues at the start, but we figured it out (sorta) by the end.

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So much fun!!

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Shoulder muscles and skin burning, definitely sweating, still smiling.

I didn’t have shorts to wear that day though, so I was wearing capris. This was the result.

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That’s not disappearing until 2018.

After kayaking, we were more than ready for nourishment, so we took our kayaking receipts to Za for 10% off pizza! Lauren and I split a portobello/roasted red pepper/roasted garlic/goat cheese pizza + garlic scape/tomato/feta pizza.

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Both were fantastic. The crust was perfectly doughy and crispy all at once.

For the rest of the day, I stayed home and got some schoolwork done. That time in the intense sun also wiped us all out.

Sunday

I woke up early-ish to meet Ben for a quick workout before BEACH DAY! We ran a little less than 2 miles in the very muggy heat and then did a mini circuit of tricep dips and split squats before we needed to down a million gallons of water.

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lol at the butt sweat, ew

Rachel kindly drove us to the beach because she’s an adult and has a car now. We were headed for one beach, but parking was full when we got there at around 11, so we went a few miles farther to Singing Beach, which worked out well!

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The sun was hot but the water was NOT. I was literally kneeling in it so I could ice my injured knee. I couldn’t even keep my feet in the water for more than 30 seconds.

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But Rachel is a cold-blooded fish apparently.

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I don’t get it.

I was just trying to read some functional anatomy while not getting a weird textbook tan over my legs or anything.

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We all packed our own sandwiches for lunch, and Rachel and I packed the same sandwich (except for the bread we used): pepperjack, turkey, arugula, bacon. I also had berry preserves and mustard on mine because I’m greedy for flavor.

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Speaking of greedy, Lauren and I just listened to Ariana Grande’s song “Greedy” for the first time this weekend and are obsessed with it. That KEY CHANGE after the bridge!!

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thanks for this photo, Austin!

After we frolicked at the beach all afternoon, we headed back home for showers and a quick turnaround to get to Mass at 6pm. Following Mass, we wanted fooooood. More importantly, we wanted to continue our ice cream Sunday tradition by going to J.P. Licks, so we planned around that. Yelp told me that Chilacates was cheap and delicious Mexican food, so we chose that for dinner.

I got three tacos that hit the spot. So much flavor!

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al pastor (pork and pineapple) // chicken tinga (spicy chipotle sauce) // papas con chorizo (potatoes and chorizo) 

We all scream for ice cream!

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I got a scoop of peanut butter cookies ‘n’ cream. Mmmmhmmmm.

The rest of our night involved The Game of Things, aka the greatest game to play with close friends/family. This photo of Ben and Austin laughing/crying sums up the night.

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Monday

I had planned on hiking and going to brunch with the gang, but my knee was hurting from my short run with Ben on Sunday (the same pain I felt after the Spartan Race…I think it’s IT band syndrome), so I decided to stay home and rest. My moves and grooves of the day was Blogilates’ Extreme Abs 3, which never fails to annihilate my core.

Studying, laundry, a trip to the library, getting more quarters for laundry and cooking also needed to be done! Lunch intermission was an avocado, arugula, bacon, egg, sriracha sandwich. 😀

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I made these spicy peanut chicken soba noodles for dinner, which I hadn’t made since Rachel’s birthday five months ago. These are THE BEST. I made so much of it, so I have leftovers for dayyyyyzzzz.

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Tuesday – Fourth of July!

God bless America!!! This day was so wonderful.

I started off with some banana pudding for breakfast, followed by some studying and a 16 minute workout.

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4 rounds, 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off:

  • tuck jump burpees
  • DB thrusters
  • skaters
  • dive bomber pushups
  • plank jack burpees
  • reverse lunge to front kick (one side at a time)

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burnin’, sweatin’, smilin’

I took a long walk to Rachel’s place for the festivities and picked up some groceries on the way. Rachel and I double teamed and cooked up some burgers before everyone arrived.

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Many chips with much dip, Lofthouse cookies (← forever have a place in my heart), apple pie, brownies, homemade chocolate chip banana bread a la mode…

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100% brought peanut butter just for the banana bread

#BoozeAndGrooves was also in full swing. Ben brought some Jell-O shots, and I choked down this red one, which tasted exactly like cough syrup. The blue one was a little better. Lauren also made lovely prosecco grapes!

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Alcohol doesn’t amaze me, but I appreciate fun and festive alcohol “snacks”(?).

After several hours of grazing, dancing, more grazing, and chatting, we cleaned up and headed out towards the river to get ready for the fireworks show. The fireworks weren’t until 10:30 pm, so we killed our time with some walking, playing “Contact” (← also a fun game!), and…

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cigars burnin’, all of us were sweatin’, but only some of us were smilin’

…smoking cigars (NOT cigarettes, Madre and Pop!). I learned that you do not inhale the smoke from cigars, but you’re supposed to swirl it in your mouth to taste it and then puff it out. “For conversations about philosophy.”

You can see that I was just utterly pleased with the experience. I probably wouldn’t do it again because it doesn’t taste great, I still don’t like smoke that close to my lungs, and I don’t love that I’m emitting smoke around others. BUT I’m glad I tried it once, and to my friends’ pleasure, I didn’t absolutely hate it.

Weather-wise, it was a perfect night to celebrate our nation.

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The fireworks were spectacular, but these people easily outdo them.

Wednesday

Back to reality. I had class all day and then went back to Everybody Fights with Elayne for our last ClassPass trial. This time we did the BAGSxBODY class, which involved a lot more punching of heavy bags. It was A BLAST. I need to box more!

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burnin’, sweatin’ A LOT, smilin’ 

I just housed more soba noodles, 1/3 of a pan of roasted brussels sprouts, a frozen banana with pb, and some cereal after that boxing class.

It’s Thursday already!?

So tell me:

Americans – What did you do for the Fourth of July?

Have you ever tried boxing?

What is your favorite group game to play?

Three fun things you did this past week!

Ice Cream Sundays + Start of Grad School

Two very different yet equally important things.

I’ve been meaning to post this for the past two days, but here we are on a Wednesday. Now that I have to fill my days and nights with studying, blogging will probably be reduced to once a week again. C’est la vie.

It’s been a blessed past five days though!

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even my pineapple was smiling at me! (but this was a terrible pineapple)

Friday

Friday was my last day of work as a gross anatomy teaching assistant, and I must say that I had a great time working that job. (Definitely a better time than the students were having. What troopers.)

I kicked off the weekend with Colby! We picked up our pottery that we painted last weekend, and they turned out so well.

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Afterwards we walked over to Shawarma King for some Mediterranean goods.

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I got the falafel wrap, which totally hit the spot.

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Then we went to Paris Creperie for dessert, necessarily. I got the petite sized bear claw crepe (cinnamon and cookie butter), which was not really worth the price (I was hoping they’d have vanilla ice cream to top it with – negative) but tasty nonetheless.

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As always, time with Colby was the best part 🙂

Later in the night, I joined some friends at Rachel’s place for a Princess Diaries movie night. If it were any other movie, I would have gone to bed instead, but the original Princess Diaries is so worth it.

Saturday

I was suuuuuper tired getting up early Saturday morning, but I was still so happy to go to a 7:30am “Cardio Core Fusion” class at Exhale Back Bay with my friend Elayne!

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She had told me that ClassPass (a membership that gives you discounted prices for fitness classes throughout the city) was having a 4 classes for $4 deal for their 4th anniversary, so we jumped on it. This Cardio Core Fusion was a great, involving lots of planks and punches and fun beats, but my body was NOT having it after a week of less-than-ideal amounts of sleep.

But any opportunity to move and groove with friends is a good time!

I made sure not to book anything else for Saturday so that I could nap (for 2.5 hours thankyouverymuch), clean the apartment, do laundry, pray, cook, FaceTime with the fam, and go to sleep early-ish. I hadn’t forced myself to have a (nearly) commitment-free day in a long time, but after Saturday, I was reminded of how valuable those kinds of days are.

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meatloaf + arugula salad

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banana bread mug cake + greek yogurt while FaceTiming the fam

Sunday

…started off with THE BEST smoothie ever. On Saturday night I threw together in a bowl:

  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. oats
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • big spoonful of peanut butter

On Sunday morning, I poured the whole mixture into a blender with a little more milk and about 2/3-3/4 of a frozen banana. And voila! The thickest, most luscious pb banana smoothie of all time.

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I miss it.

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I walked to a church downtown for confession afterwards and then met up with Ben for a workout on the esplanade. It was a hot and beautiful day, so it seemed like all of Boston’s humans and domestic and wild animals were playing outside.

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We utilized the equipment and came up with this fun workout that also made me feel like I was working out on top of a stove. The rubber flooring of this thing is a heat sponge.

3 rounds:

  • 20 tricep dips
  • 15 goblet squats (with a random cement block we found there)
  • 20 decline situps
  • 10 burpee bench jumpovers
  • 10 step up hops each leg
  • 10 side to side uneven pushups
  • 10 lateral hopover burpees
  • 25 double unders
  • 20 reverse rows

We drank oh so much agua afterwards and walked over to a different park to hang out with more friends!

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We picnicked, frisbee’d, read, jumped rope, and made fun of each other. Quality friend time ♥︎

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I packed and ate this sandwich for the park – pepper jack, ham, arugula, bacon, sriracha mayo *squeal*

After playing outside for a few hours, I walked back home while FaceTiming my friend Briana. Then I showered, ate meatloaf and veggies in record speed, and rushed back out the door for Mass back on campus.

My friends and I have unofficially decided that we now have a post-Sunday-Mass ice cream ritual. I really just kept bugging people about ice cream all day, but who was gonna say no? We went to White Mountain Creamery last Sunday, so it seems like it’s “ice cream Sundays” should be a thing now.

This week we went to Emack and Bolio’s, which has been known to just be “meh,” and for me it was still just that, but it was ice cream. It was also my fault for ordering too chocolatey of a flavor for my taste.

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chocolate salted peanut butter cup + bananas foster (the latter was delicious though!)

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some of my favorite humans

Rachel invited us over to her place to hang out/watch the Cardinals v. Pirates baseball game, but I was there for the hanging out, popcorn and beer. The baseball was nice white noise.

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Monday

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I’ve been having overnight oats 5/7 days per week probably, and I am never mad about it.

I worked through the morning at my side job and then headed to the gym for a very short but efficient workout (read: my legs were jello by the end).

Supersets (3x)

  • 10 pistols each leg + 20 KB swings (12kg)
  • 15 weighted jump squats (10#) + 20 hamstring ball curls + 20 jump lunges

I warmed up before and stretched afterwards, but this was IT.

Sidenote: I was fueled by this bomb sandwich I packed with me.

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avocado, arugula, two eggs, bacon, sriracha *angels singing*

Sandwiches make the world go ’round.

After the gym, I went to the bookstore to pick up a textbook for my class and then headed home to cook, eat and FaceTime with my dear friend Emma for THREE hours! There was apparently a lot on our hearts that needed to be said. Praise God for wonderful friends.

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dinner – more meatloaf with brown rice and veggies sautéed in sesame oil and rice vinegar

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post dinner – leftover green pancakes from the freezer, warmed up and topped with pb and maple syrup

I ate this dinner and snack kind of early (finished at 6pm) but ate a chicken drumstick at around 9pm after FaceTiming Emma. So I was full going to bed, but for some odd reason, I woke up starving at 3:30am. I hesitate to use the word starving for fear of overdramatizing my hunger, but I really was hungry to the bone and felt like I could have eaten a large burger with fries and milkshake in the middle of the night.

Of course, I got up and ate bread with pb&j. But when I went back to bed, I was still so hungry and ate half a frozen banana with yogurt. And then third times the charm, I got up again and ate several handfuls of sunflower seeds.

It was a very odd occurrence that I did not like at all, but I just honestly, inadvertently didn’t eat enough before going to bed. Happens…but I’d prefer if it didn’t.

Tuesday

First day of PT school!!!

We had orientation at 8am, followed by class from 9-12 and 1-3. Five hours of classes in one day is not my cuppa tea, but alas, summer school is here.

After our long first day of Functional Anatomy, our program directors kindly set up a fun social event for all of the post-bacs and continuing undergraduates (like me) to mingle and meet one another. We bonded over bowling and lots of delicious food (praaaaaaise)!IMG_9250

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I helped myself to half a ham sandwich, chips, salsa, egg rolls, chicken wings, fried mac and cheese(!!!!), lemonade, and, like, a couple veggies.

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new and old friends! (shoutout to Erin who always hypes up my blog around new people haha ♥︎)

Now I have things like homework to do at night, so I think I’m going to read a textbook, pray, EAT A FREAKING HEFTY SNACK, and hit the hay.

Hope you are all having a marvelous week!

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So tell me:

Do you have a fun weekly or monthly “ritual” of any sort?

Two things you did this weekend!

Do you ever schedule in a full day off?