And Just Like That, I Got Busy

Leave it to me to make a 12-credit schedule feel like a 20-credit schedule.

I feel like the busyness dial went from 1 to 100 in the past week, but I cannot complain. I don’t have that much time to write this (sleep is calling), but I thought I’d share some of the things that are filling up my days this spring semester!

I bought a 5-class pass for a modern dance class in Cambridge, since the dance class I usually take on campus was under-enrolled this semester. I don’t care that I have to pay extra and walk 35 minutes to and from the dance class, because this girl wants to DANCE.

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walking with this view ain’t bad

Last week, a couple of my dear friends were sick up the wazoo, so they needed a lot of TLC. My friend Sarah and I made Rachel loads of chicken noodle soup. And then poor Sarah needed some Gatorade and crackers a few days later… 😦

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Megan is a fantastic roommate for many reasons. She cleans things when I’m not around, helps me study for gross anatomy, and teaches me how to properly use chopsticks, because I’m the worst Asian and have never actually used chopsticks correctly (I cross them when I use them).

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this method never worked for me until last week when a Pennsylvania Irish girl taught this Chinese-Laotian banana how to do things right

She also shares her desserts with me.

brownie pudding in a crockpot, black raspberry ice cream, and a buttercream frosting sugar cookie from a box that her mom sent her ♥︎ 

And lastly, she doesn’t judge me when I eat banana something for the 3rd time in a single day.

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banana bread mug cake via Running with Spoons

I went to the dining hall for the first time in eight months last week, and it was fun being in the world of endless buffet again.

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I am working again, which involves cooking up a HURRICANE for my bosses. Last week I made them meatloaf, salmon, baked chicken parm, tuna salad, barley risotto, and roasted veggies. Yes, it did take forever. Yes, I did taste every single one of them.

I will be killing more trees this semester than I ever have in a single semester. Gross anatomy requires all the printing of notes and all the flashcards.

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Megan and I had a Dublin reunion with our lovely friend Cristen this weekend! She goes to a different school, so we met up in Boston for an Italian lunch. (Megan and I miss Italy so much.)

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Megan and I were pretty darn hungry, so we split a meatball panini + side salad…

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…and ordered our own pasta dishes. I got the spaghetti all’amatriciana (tomato sauce with pork cheek, onions, and pecorino cheese HOLY MOLY). 

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it was so good catching up with Cristen! 🙂

Other reasons why I fail as an Asian: I had no dim sum on Chinese New Year. Instead, I ate pasta, meatballs, and pizza. #identitycrisis?

National peanut butter day was last week, and I didn’t even know until Cristen texted me to remind me. Every day is national peanut butter day to me, so it all melds together.

I’ve gotten a couple great gym workouts in this past week + some much-needed yoga/walking days. Check out this intention wall in our gym!

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And all the diversity of intentions…

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“cry less” … “← same”

We had a SEEK reunion on Saturday night, and one of the activities was eating pizza with RULES. We were all numbered off 1, 2, or 3. Ones couldn’t feed themselves their own pizza, twos couldn’t touch their own beverages, and threes couldn’t touch their own napkins. Everyone had to help each other. I was a one, so Fiona and Rachel kindly fed me my pizza (which made me slow down significantly and appreciate each bite).

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“pizza me”

There have been a lot of meetings with some great people and one okay dog.

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our priest’s dog making himself very comfortable behind Rachel in the middle of our meeting

Apartment living has been a little more time-consuming than dorm life, but I’m loving it.

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Although I have to remember that I’m not grocery shopping for a family of four anymore. I may have bought a huge box of salad greens that could feed 10 people. Hence the green in every food I make these days.

Lastly, I’ve tried to make time for reflection, prayer, and good conversation in all my days. I could take the extra hour (or two) to study, but I know that I will not be well overall if I continuously go without filling my soul.

Alright I really need to go to sleep. Hope you all have a great week!

So tell me:

What’s been going on in your life!? (I haven’t been great about responding recently, but I read all your comments and appreciate them so much!)

Did you celebrate Chinese New Year or national peanut butter day?

Do you ever wonder, “how the heck did my schedule get so full!?”

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Back in Boston: Same But Different

I think yesterday was the best first day of school I’ve ever had.

And I think it’s because I felt the least anxious I’ve ever felt on a first day of school. There were still feelings of uncertainty and awkwardness in terms of the flow of my day, but there were also feelings of calm and peace. Praise God for that!

Our first day of classes here at Boston University was just one of many things that have been the same but different as I’ve settled back into my beloved Boston.

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Moving in was the same in that the ‘rents and I stopped by Super 88 for lunch after all my stuff was unloaded…

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I was so ready for my fave lemongrass chicken after driving three hours + carrying heavy things up the stairs

…but it was different in that I was moving into an apartment with kitchen things!!

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Also different — I’m not living with my fabulous roommate from the past two years, Jordan 😦 But I am with Megan, and I couldn’t be more grateful!! Rachel also lives down the street, which is a nice bonus 🙂

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I did NOT eat all that cilantro and basil in one go

I have the same bedding since freshman year, but my living space is quite different. There’s…well, space! In reality, I just didn’t overpack (for the first time ever), and I also forgot essential things like an umbrella.

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I’ve been overloaded with the same excitement that I always have when I reunite with old friends and meet new ones, but I also have a different sense of peace that I didn’t have at the start of my sophomore year. I’m not as concerned about impressing other people, and I think I have lessons in humility (← GREAT read) to thank for that.

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lunch at Panera with a friend

I am so thrilled to have FitRec again, where I can do some of the same moves and grooves I used to do last year (I ♥︎ bodyweight/luggage workouts, but equipment is fun too). At the same time though, I’m approaching FitRec with a different perspective now. I feel like I can be more creative with my workouts, since I lived without a gym for the past eight months, and I go into the gym with a “less is more” attitude. Like, I don’t need to squat, use the rower, and the BOSU ball in one workout just because they’re all there.

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Also different — Rachel convinced me to run with her. She’s training for a 10K and she’s still on her easy runs, so I can tolerate that.

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run 3 min, walk 2 min x3 // “If you can’t do that then you need to go to the doctor.” – Rachel

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Found this at FitRec on Wednesday. Peep the second line. Think I could pass for age 4?

I’m tempted to keep my same flakiness when it comes to committing to plans. “Maybe I’ll go,” said Alison always. JUST COMMIT. That is something different I want to work on. Like sleeping over at Rachel’s place on my first night here, even though I was falling asleep in my dinner beforehand.

Cooking at college is different, since I’ve always had a regular dorm and a meal plan, but that just means I can eat the same things I do at home now! It is different that I have to come to the apartment all the time now though. I almost never hung out in my room the past two years in college.

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leftover pho from Super 88 with all the herbs

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you know it 🙂

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the only plates I brought were these Rainforest Cafe ones, and I don’t know why

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my aunt’s homemade banana bread + pb

I want to attack this semester with the same diligence that got me through school up to this point, but I also want to look at my days differently. I don’t want to be busy just because everyone else is or because I want to feel like superwoman. I do want to be productive and live each day with purpose.

That may involve going on prayerful walks between classes, rather than stressing about printing the 13488705 pages of notes that everyone else already printed for gross anatomy (people went HAM, holy smokes). Also different — not freaking about what other people are doing for class.

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It’s okay if I have five or four or even three things on my to-do list. I hope to do those things well, take time to fill myself (prayer, exercise, proper meals, sleep), and take time opening my mind and heart to what others might need during their day.

I’ve always thought that I was being selfish, or at least indulgent, if I didn’t fill up my days with work, but like many a wise (wo)man has stated, we can take care of others and do a better job if we take care of ourselves. Thanks, Lyss and Jen for that reminder as well ♥︎ This doesn’t mean that we need to avoid hard, long days like they’re the plague, but allowing ourselves mental, physical and spiritual space is necessary to tackle both the good and bad days.

Lord, how can I best serve you today?

So tell me:

What are your thoughts on living each day well?

What is one thing you cooked this week?

Do you ever get overwhelmed at the gym? Or with seeing new people?

“Booze and Grooves”

My friend Ben came up with it.

When I left for Ireland last month, he told me he expected my adventures to be titled “booze and grooves” and to disregard liver health. I’m only listening to his first suggestion.

This weekend we had a class trip to Northern Ireland! The history of division between the British/Protestants vs. Irish/Catholics is jarring yet fascinating. One of the first things our tour guide in Belfast said was, “This is the most dangerous part of Belfast… If a taxi honks at you, sprint back to the bus as fast you can. That’s the most important.”

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Illegal murals are a big part of the culture. They are all political statements rooted in the violent divisions that manifested only two decades ago.

I was that student who asked, “Are you being serious?” He answered with a straight face, “Does it look like I’m kidding?”

“No, sir.”

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But later he told us that he was kidding, and we all laughed (*nervous relief laughs for me*). We still couldn’t really open our mouths about religion or politics though.

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I must admit that I felt uncomfortable in Belfast for the first half of the day, but after visiting the peace wall, going downtown, and learning about the government at the Parliament building reassured me that peace is being pursued.

Belfast peace wall feat. @ustheduo lyrics ✌🏼 #StopJustLove #Belfast #DublinMovesAndGrooves

A post shared by Alison (@alison_grooves) on

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They even served us afternoon coffee, tea, and biscuits during our break, which was the cutest. I am officially a fan of digestive biscuits dipped in tea.

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Witnessing and experiencing the city made for one excellent history lesson!

For dinner that night, a bunch of us went to Robinson’s and ate inside a “snug”, which we learned was the ladies’ corner back in the day, where we might have been served alcohol if the men of institution were feelin’ nice enough. Coincidentally, we were a bunch of ladies gathered in a snug on Thursday night. But we bought our own drinks 🙂

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I ordered the shepherd’s pie, which was more like sloppy joe with a lot of mashed potatoes on top, but I was fine with that.

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Pretty much demolished the whole thing. Then it was time to get wild and cuh-razy at the Crown Liquor Saloon, ooo la la.

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Megan and I had not bought an alcoholic drink in Ireland until that night, so we both bought Jameson Gingers and celebrated! Everyone else was probably more excited for us than we were for ourselves, but I appreciated the energy.

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Jameson Ginger is probably one of my favorite drinks that I’ve tasted in my short and limited experience with alcohol consumption, but it still doesn’t compare to the taste of ice cream.

So Megan and I enjoyed our drinks, but we’re more willing to put our money towards a happier cause— dessert. It was still super fun to actually go out with people (I’m such a square usually).

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We still went to bed before 1 am, only after watching an Irish dating show on TV.

On Friday morning, Megan and I grabbed breakfast at cafe approximately 20 paces from our hotel lobby. I ordered porridge with banana, honey, and peanut butter, and it ROCKED. The oats were cooked to a texture that was doughy and satisfying, and the addition of whole milk was life-changing.

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At first, I wasn’t sure if there was peanut butter in there because it was hidden by the banana slices, but after asking, the waiter said, “It’s in there! A surprise underneath. There’s enough for two in there.”

“Enough for two people.” I laughed when I finished the bowl, because that’s how much peanut butter I always put in my oats.

Megan and I went on a brisk walk around the city (brisk because we almost got lost) before our class headed to Giant’s Causeway!

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It was just as beautiful as the Cliffs of Moher!

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The unique part of Giant’s Causeway is the rocks. There are tens of thousands of rocks shaped like hexagons due to how the volcanic lava solidified and cracked over the period of hundreds of thousands of years.

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But you could also choose to believe that giants did it. 😉

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photo from my friend Cassandra!

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PC: Cassandra

geometry and earth science would have been way more fun here!! // #GiantsCauseway #DublinMovesAndGrooves

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Yet another beautiful experience in Ireland.

Not a beautiful experience? Rushing to buy Irish stew with brown bread for lunch and having the butter packets melt from the heat of the stew all over your paper bag on the bus.

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Megan: “Butter disaster 2016.”

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The stew was delicious though!!

One pit stop on the way to Derry for the Games of Thrones fans:

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I don’t watch the show, but if you do, does this look familiar?? (p.s. my friends spotted the whole cast inside a bar on Thursday night!)

Next stop was Derry/Londonderry (depending on whether you’re a Nationalist or a Unionist). We toured some more murals and the big wall in the middle of the city. It was so nice to move the legs and witness some stunning views of the whole city.

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Our hotel was a 15 minute drive out of the city, so we settled into our rooms before taking a taxi back in for dinner. HOWEVER, everything on a Friday night was closed! Megan, Cristen and I wanted to go to a restaurant called Blackbird for a wagyu beef burger (per my mom’s recommendation), but they told us that they stop serving food at 5pm.

Wut.

Disappointed, we walked around to find another restaurant, but everything except the bars and some random fast food places had their gates down. So strange. We decided to go a chain chicken restaurant called Nando’s, which was still a good dinner!

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medium spice chicken on a super grain salad bowl

I was satisfied, and I had missed green vegetables. AND AVOCADO.

Then we wanted ice cream, so the waitress at Nando’s suggested Joe Jackson’s inside a mall down the street. I got the honeycomb and strawberry cheesecake flavors, which hit the spot!

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The night wasn’t what we were expecting, but it was still a delicious and fun adventure. We also successfully hailed a taxi back to our hotel, which was a win.

Also, we had to put key card into this slot by the door of our hotel room in order for the electricity to work. Different!

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Saturday morning, I ate a whole grain roll with peanut butter that we bought the night before for breakfast.

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There was a big gym in the hotel, so I took full advantage during our free morning. I was STOKED to be using gym equipment for the first time in a month!

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I warmed up and did three sets each of:

  • 10 Bulgarian split squats each leg + 20 jump lunges
  • squats (varying weights) + 20 squat jumps
  • 12 deadlifts (105#) + 30 side jump lunges

Then I did EMOM 10:

  • 5 squat cleans (65#)
  • 8 burpees over the bar

That EMOM absolutely crushed my entire being. I don’t often think “I’m dying” after a workout, but this one made me feel that way.

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I stretched my legs and did some lat pull downs, military presses, and tricep pull downs to finish.

Naturally, two days later, I still can’t move anything in my body.

A bunch of us ordered lunch at the hotel restaurant before hitting the road back to Dublin. It was a bizarre experience in that the service took so long and no one really knew what was going on, but we learned that the restaurant isn’t usually open and prepared to serve 15 hungry kids at that time, so everyone was just discombobulated.

The servers were very kind though, and the food was great! These fries…

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I ordered a toasted beef, brie, and tomato sandwich, which I ate on the bus.

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The rest of the day back on campus involved unpacking, roasting brussels sprouts, and jamming out to Disney music with my friends.

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Sunday morning was some play, but mostly work. We have essays due this week!! First, Megan and I went to Mass in city centre, which was a lovely 2.5-mile walk. Then we met up with Cristen at Brother Hubbard for lunch. This is one of my favorite restaurants that I’ve been to Ireland so far!

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I ordered the Turkish eggs menemem, which included herbs and roasted peppers on toasted sourdough. Best scrambled eggs ever.

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Megan shared some of her pulled pork with me too, which was so tasty.

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We walked back to campus, where worked hard for the rest of the day. There was a break for grocery shopping and dinner in there somewhere. And dessert! Megan and I picked up desserts from Bread and Butter on our way back from lunch earlier, so we used them as incentives to get work done.

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I’m always down for carrot cake.

I also got to FaceTime Rachel at night!

“Work hard, play hard” is a fun motto to live by, but then it reverses to “play hard, work hard,” and I’m really feeling that vibe right now. Time to go finish this essay! And hopefully some yoga to streeeeetch.

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overnight oats in a jar that I just ate 🙂

Hope you all have a kick-butt week!!

(p.s. apparently there have been some issues with the commenting system on my blog, so I apologize!! I’ll try to get the problem fixed ASAP!)

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Northern Ireland?

What is the coolest geologic phenomenon you’ve ever seen?

What is your favorite alcoholic beverage? I need ideas for next time!

Two things you did this weekend!

The Comparison Trap Revisited

Another night, another internet cafe session in the dark.

Our wifi isn’t installed in the dorms yet (praying that it gets up tomorrow!), so a few of us are outside using our laptops in the nippy air. It may seem like I’m complaining, but I kinda love it. For an hour. Then I can’t move my fingers anymore.

Waking up yesterday was hardddd. I stayed in bed for a while to answer blog comments and search for parks in Dublin where I could work out (and found this awesome link of “The 16 Best Places in Dublin to Do Your Outdoor HIIT Workouts“!). I probably won’t be getting a gym membership here, not because it’s too expensive, but because it will be expensive to pay for transit to get to the gym.

After finally rolling out of bed, a quick warmup and 100 burpees for time was all I had time for.

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I have to write down how many burpees I do per set so I don’t lose count lol

Oatmeal cookie dough cereal for breakfast!

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This weather has me smitten with Ireland so far, lemme tell ya.

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After a shower and couple hours of orientation, we broke for lunch. I made an egg sandwich with white cheddar, spinach, and mustard. The Irish mustard I found is STRONG stuff. I licked a little off the knife at first, and it stung my nose like wasabi.

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I love it though.

We had some time to kill between orientation sessions, so I took advantage of the nice day (before it started pouring later) to nap on the lush green grass on campus.

pre-nap jump on this #grand Dublin day (shoutout to @bostonu, I miss you) // #DublinMovesAndGrooves

A post shared by Alison (@alison_grooves) on

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thanks for the pic, Megan haha

Dinner last night was a simple chicken, tomato, spinach salad with hummus on top. I feel like I’ve been eating less here in Ireland, solely because I have to budget and cook for myself all the time now. Don’t get me wrong— I eat what I need, and I definitely don’t go hungry. However, now that I’m sharing a kitchen with so many people, I’m also observing how little my peers [seem to] eat.

Part of me thinks, “HOW the heck are you not starving!?” And then I get a little self-conscious over how much I eat. Example: my hefty sandwich packed with fats and protein (plus a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie) vs. the other girl’s bowl of yogurt with fruit. Yet I will certainly be more hungry than the other girls by the time dinner rolls around. “What’s wrong with me??”

But then I reel it in again.

a) I don’t know how much other girls actually eat.

b) I know how much I need.

I’ve been doing this eating/recovering/balancing thing for a little while now, and it seems to be working pretty well. So I’ll leave it at that and not let the comparison trap affect how much I eat.

Speaking of balance, a few of us walked a couple miles into Dublin city centre for gelato at Gino’s! It was raining in the evening, but that didn’t stop these ice cream lovers.

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white chocolate pistachio YUM

A lovely evening jaunt if you ask me.

Today we are off to Glendalough for a class field trip (← “Hold on to the rope, kids!”). I’m excited for a little hiking action!

THANK YOU SO DEARLY to all of you for making great suggestions for places to go around here and beyond. I am stoked to adventure everywhere and share the experiences here!

So tell me:

Has the comparison trap snuck up on you recently for anything?

What is your favorite workout outside of the gym?

What did you eat for lunch yesterday?

Day in the Life {Work Day}

Time for my/our favorite type of post!!

Here is what my last 24+ hours looked like:

6:40 AM – Alarm goes off. Feelin’ pretty alright with waking up right away (praaaaaise), but I slowly roll out of bed.

6:45 AM – Bathroom, brush teeth, put in contacts.

6:50 AM – Say a quick prayer and change into workout clothes.

7:00 AM – Grab my breakfast and lunch from the fridge. Make sure I packed everything for work.

7:07 AM – Out the door.

7:15 AM – Mass.

7:45 AM – Go back to my car to eat breakfast in the church parking lot. I ate a big hunk of banana bread baked oatmeal (that I baked on the weekend) with classic peanut butter on top. Listen to music and read blogs on my phone with the windows rolled down to enjoy the crisp morning air.

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Plus a couple pieces of pork jerky since I was still hungry.

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I love jerky, but it’s SO SALTY.

8:10 AM – Drive over to work.

8:30 AM – Arrive at work. Sit in the parking lot for a little bit to answer blog comments, check emails, and figure out what I want to do at the gym.

9:00 AM – Get to the employee gym, put up my hair, and start warming up.

9:10 AM – Move and groove! (Take my time in between sets. I just have fun playing with all the equipment when I’m down in the dungeon gym by myself.)

3 sets of each:

  • 10 squat cleans (55#)
  • 5 burpee box jumps
  • 15 front rack step ups (45#)
  • 20 med ball jump lunge slams
  • 10 deadlifts (115#)
  • 20 squat jumps
  • 20 hanging leg ab raises
  • 15 overhead tricep extensions (25-30#)

10:05 AM – Sweaty and wiped. Streeeetch.

10:20 AM – Wipe off the sweat from the face (and pits), comb the hair, put on makeup, and change into work clothes. Eat an oat and honey KIND bar in the meantime.

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10:40 AM – Walk over to work.

10:48 AM – Clock in and get the day started.

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[source]

12:15 PM – Lunch break (I know, it’s like I just started working and now I’m off again)! Walk over to the cafeteria and eat outside.

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half sandwich with avocado, smoked salmon, greens, and cracked black pepper

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veggies with hummus

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apricot

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snap pea crisps

I was so hungry!

1:10 PM – Head over to work at pool therapy.

4:10 PM – Walk back over to the PT gym. Eat some mixed nuts.

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6:40 PM – Finish work. Got to leave a little bit early tonight! (Good thing— I was exhausted.)

7:00 PM – Arrive back home. Raid the fridge for food. Eat some cold roasted broccoli and zucchini as I warm up dinner.

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mom’s curry chicken (ugh, delicious) over greens

7:35 PM – Make some golden milk! I’ve been seeing this “fad” on the blog world recently, but I am so down for making this a “thing.”

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7:45 PM – Make my lunch for the next day while my golden milk is cooling.

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7:55 PM – Sip on my golden milk while checking Instagram.

8:05 PM – Warm up and eat a banana muffin + peanut butter.

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8:20 PM – Say hi to Pop who just came home and chat with my him and Madre for a few minutes. Also eat a dried fig.

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8:30 PM – FaceTime with my dear friend from college, Casey!

9:50 PM – Shower and get ready for bed (definitely get distracted in there somewhere).

11:00 PM – Remember that I have a hair cut today. Look up hair cuts on Pinterest.

11:30 PM – Pray.

11:40 PM – Hit the hay.

7:40 AM – Alarm goes off. Wake up, bathroom, all that.

7:55 AM – Head downstairs to make breakfast. Eat while reading my devotional.

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oatmeal cookie dough cereal 

8:25 AM – Start typing this blog post. Planned on going to Mass at 9, but…

9:00 AM – Finish typing this blog post.

And then the story continues…

So tell me:

What did you eat for lunch yesterday?

Three things you did yesterday!

Have you ever tried golden milk?