Summer’s Coming

It’s been forever and a half since I thought out loud with the lovely Amanda!

Thinking-Out-Loud

what’s thinking out loud?

1) I am never not surprised that it’s almost May. What the heck!?

2) Last week was the “Easter Octave”, which means that the Church celebrated Easter for eight days straight, since the joy of the Resurrection cannot be contained within one single day. Let me tell you, I celebrated. With lots of alleluias and just as many desserts (I definitely had two desserts on several days).

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thanks for the cute cookie, Megan!

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Sometimes I went for a slightly more nutritious dessert, but nevertheless, I let loose with my sweet tooth.

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Amanda’s banana bread mug cake — one of my favorite things ever

3) The day after the Boston Marathon, I went on a beautiful run with my two beautiful friends, Kelsey and Sarah. You all know I’m not a huge fan of running, but my body didn’t want to do any sort of strength/HIIT or even yoga, so I asked Kels and Sarah if I could run with them after Mass on Tuesday evening.

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I would say that I was inspired by the Boston Marathon, but…

Kels: “Do you wanna run a half marathon with us?”

Me: “…ehhhhhhhhhhhh.”

For now, I’ll stick to spontaneous runs when I feel like it 🙂

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3) I didn’t sign up for a half marathon, but my friend Ben and I did sign up for a Spartan Sprint Race!!! We talked about it on Marathon Monday and decided it would be a fun thing to do this summer. I’ve always wanted to do an obstacle course race for fun, so the time has come!

Our training regimen is really coming together:

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Finbar is our priest’s dog

The Spartan Sprint Race is a 3-5 mile course with 20+ obstacles. Although I want to be relatively in shape for the race, I’m not really changing anything about how I work out right now. My mind and body are happy with my 4-ish workouts per week, varying based on how I feel that day.

But I’m SO EXCITED FOR THIS RACE! There’s also beer at the end I think, and I’ll be 21 by then 🙂

4) It’s strawberry season/the grocery store has strawberries on sale!

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5) Last weekend was filled with so much a cappella, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My talented friends Adrienne and Connor each had their last a cappella concerts of their college careers, and they were both phenomenal.

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Our whole Catholic Center fam came out to support like proud (and very loud) relatives. Adrienne and Connor, you guys are amazing!

6) I am officially in finals mode now (even though classes end next Wednesday). I am finished with regular exams and now just have one research paper for religion & medicine, a final for health policy, and a final for gross anatomy. Nighttime study sessions are all the rage these days.

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7) Should it be warmer than 60*F at this point in the spring? Boston will have one day per week when the temperature exceeds 70, but the rest of the days are still pretty chilly. I don’t even know what normal temperatures are anymore (going from Ireland ➔ Florida ➔ NY ➔ Boston in less than two months).

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There have been some gorgeous days, though, as you can see. I do like the mild weather too, so I guess I shouldn’t complain before the heat hits.

8) I feel like I haven’t been cooking as much in the apartment recently, but when I do, it always feels like I’m trying to use up as many leftovers/things in the pantry as possible. It’s never too shabby though!

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omelette with spinach, onions, lots of cheese, and ketchup

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salad with sundried tomatoes, artichokes, feta, and grilled chicken

9) Campus dining has had some pretty good hits too.

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Thai chicken salad + sandwich (roast beef, gouda, veggies, artichoke herb spread [omg so good!] on whole grain ciabatta) + apple

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breakfast-for-dinner at the dining hall: actually, this vegan breakfast burrito was just okay (breakfast burritos definitely need real eggs and bacon)

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Sarah got this delicious-looking Monte Cristo at breakfast-for-dinner night

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fantastic maple banana bread pudding a la mode (Easter Octave is over, but when do I ever not have dessert?)

10) This week was filled with a lot of goodness, but I also had rough patches. I realized that I always try to emerge from trials a little more perfect than before (which isn’t bad in and of itself — God calls us to be perfected in Him), but I end up discouraged and even surprised when I find myself in the same weak and confused state that [I thought] I had overcome before.

I needed to re-learn that, even when I feel confused, weak, or like a failure: a) it’s okay to feel that way, because I am a weak human being; b) I don’t have to try to fix myself before asking others/God for help to be better. I can’t fix myself once and for all. That would be trying to dodge this thing called life.

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Hope you all have a great Thursday!

So tell me:

Have you ever done an obstacle course race?

How’s the weather where you are? Rain all week for us :/

Which in-season produce are you excited for?

Two fun things you did this past week!

Day in the Life {Second Semester Junior} 

I’ve attempted to write a day in the life post for this semester maybe three times already.

I’ll start taking photos of everything and making mental notes about what I’m doing throughout the day, but then it hits about 7pm, and I give up, either because I realize I have too much work to do or because I forgot to take pictures after breakfast.

I kicked those two gross anatomy exams to the curb on Tuesday, and now I feel like I can do anything with my life.

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shoutout to Janice for being the best study buddy ’til the wee hours in the morning

Duty still calls, but I at least I have a little more time to type up this day in the life!

Wednesday

7:00 AM — Alarm goes off. I immediately know I’m going to need a nap later in the day.

7:08 AM — Roll out of bed, go to the bathroom, brush teeth.

7:15 AM — Crawl back into my bed to do some reading for my “Religion, Health and Medicine” class (the reason I had to wake up earlier than I usually would on a Wednesday).

7:30 AM — Roll back out bed to pray and eat breakfast. I continue reading while eating this zesty jar of overnight oats.

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1/2 c. oats, 1 tsp. chia seeds, 1/4 c. greek yogurt, 1/2 c. milk, half banana, 1/3 of a champagne mango(!), pinch of salt, lime zest ➔ topped with salted cashews in the morning

8:00 AM — Go back into my warm bed to finish reading. Eventually decide that lying in bed is not conducive to reading something analytically/staying awake, so I drag my butt to my desk.

8:50 AM — Cut it close to start getting ready for dance.

9:05 AM — Leave for dance class in Cambridge. It’s snowing and I’m not lovin’ it (but it’s not icy, which is the important part).

9:35 AM — Arrive slightly late to dance, but class usually starts a little late, so I’m right on time! (Unfortunately, life doesn’t often work that way.)

11:10 AM — Dance class ends (my last one of this semester! ☹️). It was a great one! Walk back to my apartment.

11:40 AM — Arrive back at the crib and eat loads of kettle corn and a random piece of chicken. Check my email.

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needed some umami

12:10 PM — Walk to my religion and medicine class.

12:20 PM — In class today, we discuss how social context cannot be separated from mental diseases such as depression and anxiety. Mental illnesses may have specific biochemical bases, but that does not mean that we should treat them one specific way cross-culturally (via antidepressants, for example). Rather, sociocultural factors hold a great weight in the presentation of mental illness, so they should be considered and incorporated when treating patients.

INTERESTING.

1:35 PM — Class ends and I walk back to the apartment for lunch! Part 1 is the last of this tasty massaged kale salad I made on Monday.

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red kale with olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt, pepper

Part 2 was the classic avocado egg toast with sriracha. ♥︎

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(Interruption for avocado appreciation photo)

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what a beauty

Part 3 was a clementine.

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do clementines come from Connecticut?

Part 5 was a couple handfuls of pita chips to fill the tank.

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I read some blogs as I ate.

2:40 PM — Oof, I indulged in a nice long lunch hour. Clean up and get to some studying.

3:50 PM — Remember when I woke up and knew I would need a nap? That hour had come. I nap like a rock for 35 minutes.

4:25 PM — Alarm goes off and I don’t want to move. Lay in bed for a while, checking messages and probably Facebook.

4:50 PM — Get myself together and rush to Mass at the Catholic Center.

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But stop to take this photo. It looks gorgeous out, and it was, but it was also FREAKING COLD. The wind hurt.

5:02 PM — Sneak into Mass a little bit late, but very happy I made it.

5:25 PM — Chat with a few people in the Catholic Center. Eat a banana, some cashews, and a few honey wheat pretzels (the BEST pretzels!).

5:35 PM — Leave to catch the T to Cambridge (again), this time for a workout with InnerCity Weightlifting! Start typing this post on my phone on the commute.

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Christina (@foodietunes, Fit U ambassador, dietetics major, personal trainer, overall wonderful human) organized the event with ICW. Read her super cool post about ICW here.

InnerCity Weightlifting is a Boston organization that takes high-risk individuals – those who have been shot, done significant jail time, and/or grown up on a family income under $10k per year – and teaches them how to be personal trainers. They develop their students’ physical training skills as well as the social, academic, and networking support needed, which college students like us take for granted. In doing so, InnerCity Weightlifting makes a huge impact in the community they work with by decreasing street violence and creating a social change. In keeping their gym location a secret, they are able to provide a safe space for their students who have certain conflicts with others. – Christina for gofitu.com

How rad is that!? The trainers are ex-cons, which might seem sketchy, but it’s totally not. The guys who trained us are awesome dudes.

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6:32 PM — Arrive slightly late (theme of the day/my life), but they hadn’t started yet. Christina takes me to the fridge filled with Hint water and tells me to grab one. Don’t have to tell me twice!

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6:40 PM — We start with a dynamic warmup and then get into the workout. Our trainers took us through three circuits, three rounds each:

  • KB reverse lunges
  • pushups/negative pushups (← the negatives!!! holding at high plank, mid pushup, and chaturanga for 3-4 seconds each, repeat. HELLO.)
  • deadbugs (holding a resistance band on stretch, which made my arms shake, especially after the pushups)
  • KB deadlifts
  • single arm KB rows each arm
  • bear crawls (super slow, super controlled, with little sliders on our backs to prove our stability)
  • med ball slams
  • battle rope slams

The weighted parts were actually the easiest, because the weight and reps were relatively low, but all the bodyweight stuff was killer! Such a fun workout though!

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I wear those socks to dance to help with sliding on the floor, but I forgot to change into normal socks later, so this is what had to happen.

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thank you for this photo, Christina!

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7:30 PM — The workout ends, we learn more about ICW, they give us more Hint waters and KIND bars, and I walk back to the T station to head home. Type some more of this post.

8:15 PM — Arrive back home and cook up some veggies for dinner. I sauté some onions and lacinto kale (I have a lot of kale right now because it was on sale at Whole Foods) in mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper (← fave way to cook kale!).

8:35 PM — I had the veggies alongside leftover quinoa and chicken thighs with this Stubb’s rub.

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During dinner I read a couple more blogs, check Facebook, upload the day’s photos, and keep typing this post.

9:15 PM — Decide that I want a sweet snack, so I have some Greek yogurt with cinnamon and raisins. Some of my friends are baby barfing at this right now (#hatersgonnahate on raisins).

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10:25 PM — Somehow still typing this post? Wash up dishes, shower (I reeeeek), and do some more studying.

12:00 AM — Pray and hit the hay!

Hope you all have a fantastic Thursday!

ALSO fun news — my dear friend Emily from Beauty in Christ graciously invited me to be on her awesome podcast last week, so that episode is up now on her blog! Click here to check it out. And just read Emily’s blog/listen to her podcast in general. She is a breath of the freshest air.

So tell me:

One thing you are proud to have accomplished this week!

One thing you did and one thing you ate yesterday.

How do you like to cook kale (if you like kale)?

Do you like to take naps?

American Version of Ireland

It’s 12:15am and I’m eating frozen bananas while standing in front of my radiator.

But I wanted to blog! My brain can only organize things into an incoherent list right now though, so that’s what we’ll work with today.

This past week:

1) We had a snow day on Tuesday and it ruined everything.

My gross anatomy lab practical that was supposed to be last Tuesday is now tomorrow, the same day as the gross anatomy lecture exam. #ILoveEverything.

2) I can’t complain about sleeping in and having warm Slytherin socks though (thanks, Fiona ♥︎).

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3) Megan and I also made a mini snowman after Mass that day.

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same.

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we named him Stello, the counterpart to Stella the storm

3) Megan, Briana and I were craving a taste of Ireland on our snow day, so we baked Irish brown bread (one of our favorite foods when we were abroad) using this recipe. It ROCKED fresh out of the oven with butter and jam/honey. *Irish jig*

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3 mini loaves

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we have finally mastered the art of baking in our hell-hot box of an oven

4) Another low regarding the snow/ice was that I walked 30 minutes to dance on Wednesday morning (and royally wiped out on the ice on the way there) all to find out that class was cancelled. ‘Twas totally my fault for not checking the facebook page for an update after the large snow storm.

5) I forgot how much I liked getting sandwiches/wraps at the dining hall until I ordered this beauty last week.

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roast beef, provolone, roasted veggies, lettuce, tomato, sprouts, honey mustard on whole wheat wrap

6) Some of my favorite moves and grooves from last week:

Wednesday: 10-1 pistol squat/burpee ladder (10 of each, then 9, 8,7…1) + squat clean practice

Saturday: 5 rounds of this functional workout from Peanut Butter Fingers + overhead squat practice

Friday: alllll the dancing for St. Paddy’s day!

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ugh this night was so fun!

7) I tried making a healthy homemade shamrock shake with peppermint stevia drops that had been sitting in my pantry unopened for ages.

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milk, yogurt, oats, chia seeds, frozen banana, 1/4 avocado, greens, vanilla protein powder, peppermint stevia drops

My friends hate me for making this.

It was tasty and creamy, but I should have just left out the stevia because it wasn’t that strong, so I kept adding more until it just left a nasty aftertaste.

At least it wasn’t as sickeningly sweet as the McDonald’s version? And it’s green!

8) I helped out with a high school confirmation retreat on Saturday and the church spoiled the volunteers by inviting us to their St. Patrick’s/St. Joseph’s potluck dinner!

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salad, lobster ravioli, jambalaya, clam fritter, eggplant parmigiana, shepherd’s pie, soda bread

#global.

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all the boxed baked goods!!!

I also ate Welch’s fruit snacks and Cheez-Its earlier in the day during the allotted snack time, and I was on cloud nostalgia.

9) Despite the complain train of this post, I am truly grateful for the many wonderful people and privileges I have in my life. And especially this week, I am grateful for the little trials and heartaches that God uses to teach me how to be better.

I hope you all have a fantastic Monday. Go get ’em!!!

So tell me:

How did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Danced and snacked the night away with my friends (and watched them drink because I’m still a baby here in America).

Two things you’re grateful for.

The best thing you ate this weekend. That one lobster ravioli (raviolo?) I ate at the potluck was smashing.

Hole-y Weekend

You know there are donuts and bagels involved in this post.

But first, can we talk about how it is absolutely frigid outside? Two weeks ago, the northeast was blessed with gorgeous weather, and now there’s this.

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#springbreak

And the temperature makes you hate everything when you’re outside.

But thank God for warm sunshine, warm clothes, warm radiators, and warm hearts.

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thanks for the pic, Fiona!

There’s supposed to a blizzard tomorrow, and this is the one time I am praying there is NOT a snow day, because I have a huge lab practical exam for gross anatomy that I would like to get over with ASAP. Please and thank you. The world revolves around me.

Before leaving home in New York on Friday morning, I made French toast for Madre, Brother Sam, and myself. It was some of the best French toast I’ve ever made! I think the keys were:

  • drying out the bread on a cooling rack overnight
  • adding more milk to the egg mixture (allows the inside of the toast to be more fluffy!)
  • sprinkling cinnamon over the bread after soaking it in the egg mixture, rather than adding cinnamon to the egg mixture (the latter causes clumps of cinnamon to form on the French toast)
  • using medium heat for the skillet
  • using a healthy dose of real butter for the skillet

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Also, real maple syrup!

Now that I’m back in the apartment, my food photo effort has decreased significantly, but the food has still been tasty.

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Friday night tuna salad made with Greek yogurt, mustard, sweet relish, raisins, chopped carrots, salt and pepper

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Greek yogurt with banana, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, granola + a couple handfuls of cashews

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two sunny eggs on buttered toast (ketchup added to eggs post-photo) + veggies with hummus

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microwave oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, banana, and cashews

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this morning’s breakfast: super thick overnight oat smoothie with frozen bananas, vanilla protein powder, oats, lots of chia seeds, milk, yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch o’ salt

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Irish soda bread sample from Trader Joe’s (one of the best parts of my job is shopping for my bosses at TJ’s, and this is why)

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smoked trout deviled eggs that my boss asked me to make from her South Beach cookbook, and dang that egg mixture (that I tasted for #qualitycontrol) was delicious

On Saturday night (after a 1.5-hour nap at 5pm + this Fitness Blender workout) I cooked one of the best meals in my apartment this year. I bought this Korean BBQ marinade from Thrive Market and used it to marinate chicken thighs (soooo much more flavorful and moist than chicken breast—just do it) for a few hours before grilling them.

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Served with brown rice, sautéed onions, and roasted garlic broccoli.

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and a substantial swirl of Sriracha post-photo 🙂

YUM.

Besides cooking and working, the rest of my weekend has involved lots of studying for that lab practical. Since I took a 1.5-hour nap on Saturday night, I ended up going to bed at 2am, which was actually 3am thanks to DST. Haha.

Sunday involved a lot of fun shenanigans though! First was my attempt at Crossfit Open Workout 17.1.

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The movements and equipment are accessible to me, so I thought I’d just go for it, but I definitely had to scale it. I used a 25-lb. dumbbell instead of a 35, and my gym only had an 18-in. or 24-in. box, so I used the 18-in.

And I still DIED. I had 7 burpee box jump-overs left by the 20 minute time cap. Womp womp. It was a “fun” workout though! Perhaps I will try it again later.

After I was annihilated, I showered and went to lab to study for a bit before meeting with Fiona, Rachel, and Austin for food bucket listing! On our list for the afternoon was Bagelsaurus for a sea salt bagel and Union Square Donuts for the PB&J donut (I gave up pb for Lent, but since it was Sunday, Rachel and I agreed that it would okay for me to have at least a bite of the donut).

Situation: Both places closed at 3pm, we were getting an Uber at around 2pm, and the walk between the two places was 28 minutes. Rachel and I thought we should divide and conquer, but Austin (the marathon runner) and Fiona (the army gal) convinced us that all of us could book it and make it to both places (because one of our rules for food bucket listing is that we go with each other to the actual store and buy the food together). Friends motivating friends for love of food.

I’m glad they pushed us, because we made it!

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Sadly, Union Square Donuts did not have the PB&J donut that day, but we decided to still cross it off the bucket list. Instead, we ordered six donuts to split between the four of us (omg so much donut).

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(left to right) top row: toasted coconut + maple bacon // middle row: Vietnamese coffee + orange cardamom poppy seed // bottom row: sea salted bourbon caramel + raspberry basil

Let’s talk about donuts. These were delicious. But since donuts aren’t my dessert of choice (I feel like it’s difficult to get really good flavor into a donut), none of them blew me away. The raspberry basil was probably my favorite though, because the basil packed a surprising punch. We were all super excited for the sea salted bourbon caramel, but it was kinda disappointing. Too much bourbon, not enough caramel. Like I said though, these were all delicious still! Good quality donuts for sure.

We bought the donuts first but ate them after our bagel sandwiches at Bagelsaurus.

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I got the “Eggspañola” on a sea salt bagel, which was an over medium egg, pimento aioli, feta cheese, parsley gremolata, and I added avocado.

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This was also fantastic! I loved the flavors of the pimento aioli and parsley gremolata + the saltiness of the feta + creaminess of the avocado + richness of the egg. The bagel was really chewy though, so with every bite, everything slid out of the sandwich. ‘Twas a blissfully messy situation.

(I still liked my NY bagel from last week better. I’ve had one NY bagel and now I know everything about bagels.)

Eating bagels and donuts in one afternoon… You could call it a “hole-y” Sunday (creds to all my friends for coming up with great donut/bagel puns).

We did also go to Mass at night, making it a truly holy Sunday 🙂

Lastly, we rang in the new week with my friend Lauren’s 21st!!

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Woohoo!! Happy birthday, Lauren, my dear ♥︎

Hope you all have a warm and productive Monday!

So tell me:

How do you feel about donuts?

Two fun things you did this weekend!

What is the best thing you’ve cooked recently?

Have you ever done a Crossfit Open workout?

 

29 Questions

Look at this pretty salad that I made for my brother and Pop!

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spinach, cherry tomatoes, pears, avocado, homemade honey dijon vinaigrette

I don’t even make salads this pretty for myself. I just throw a leftover chicken drumstick on a pile of spinach and call it a day.

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I’m an expert at making pretty avocado egg toast now though

Other colorful eats from yesterday included caprese salad (a classic fave) and fresh mango with Greek yogurt and sunflower seeds.

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yes, all those were mine

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Plus a million other snacks and eats because yesterday was one of those “bottomless pit” kinda days. I also napped for a long time in the afternoon after a couple hours of gross anatomy studying. My body is taking all this rest and running with it (oxymoronic sentence?).

Madre and I also went to a free yoga class yesterday morning! A woman in our neighborhood is offering free classes once a week since she’s practicing for yoga teacher training. It was a great 55-minute ashtanga/vinyasa class! Madre was my paparazzi apparently, because I swear I didn’t ask her to take these photos for me. But alas, they exist.

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felt as uncomfortable as it looks because my right hip flexor was SO tight yesterday

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I also got my heart rate up after yoga with the 100 burpee challenge! Here’s a video of it because a) I’m home, so I have few better things to do with my life; b) I appreciate when other people show themselves dying (not literally) during a workout, because it’s very #human.

(NOT that you have to die during every workout. Au contraire. Rest is so important! I take an average of two rest days + two walking/yoga days per week. Going “all out” every day doesn’t work for me, mentally or physically.)

And now for some lightheartedness around these parts! I feel like my posts have been pretty serious recently. I came across this “29 Questions” blog survey on Tina’s blog yesterday and thought it would be fun to do here!

1. Who are you named after? I think I’m named after a TV character that my mom really liked. I was almost named Stephanie though.

2. Last time you cried? Sunday when I was talking to my dad about faith and relationships. Just young adult things.

3. Do you like your handwriting? Yes. It’s gotten messier as I’ve gotten older and less type A about neatness, but I can deal with it.DSC_3063

4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Roast beef!

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ohhh Cutty’s roast beef 1000 ♥︎ 

5. Do you still have your tonsils? Yep. This is the most random question ever.

6. Would you bungee jump? I would if I was with other friends/family who would do it with me.

7. What is your favorite kind of cereal? Peanut butter Puffins!

8. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Only when I have to.

9. Do you think you’re strong? Yes.

10. Favorite ice cream? Cookies ‘n’ cream. (Or the carrot cake ice cream from Salt & Straw if we’re getting specific.)

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it had carrot cake CHUNKS in it 

11. What is the first thing you notice about a person? I’m not sure, but Tina said a person’s smile, so I’m going to agree with that.

12. Football or baseball? Is it un-American if I abstain from this question?

13. What color pants are you wearing? Gray.

14. Last thing you ate? Some Indian snack mix that my mom put on the coffee table.

15. What are you listening to? “I Got” by Young the Giant.

16. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Yellow. (Haha, I wasn’t even thinking about my Asian-ness at first, but hey.)

17. Favorite smell? Freshly baked pumpkin bread or cookies.

18. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? My aunt and cousins from California.

19. Married? Nope.

20. Hair color? Black/super dark brown. I’m not picky about what you call it.

21. Eye color? Black. These are most definitely black holes. It’s so hard to see my pupils!

22. Favorite food to eat? Guess.

 

23. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings all the way. I’m still scared of that Disney movie Hocus Pocus for crying out loud.

24. Last movie you watched? The Shack this past weekend.

25. What color shirt are you wearing? Turquoise (the workout shirt pictured above).

26. Favorite Holiday? Christmas! Easter is a close second. Thanksgiving a close third.

27. Beer or Wine? It depends. I’ll let you know for sure when I’m 21.

28. Night owl or morning person? Night owl (as I type this at 12:48am).

29. Favorite day of the week? Sunday. I love Mass and Sunday brunch 🙂

So tell me:

Your answers to any of these 29 questions!

Do you throw leftovers on top of salad greens and call it a salad?

Two things you did yesterday.