Simplifying Life

This week has been…exciting!

Firstly, thank you all so much for your kind and loving birthday wishes. You truly know how to make a girl feel special ❤

Since I just started working last week, no one at the office knew it was my birthday on Tuesday, but one of the therapists happened to bring in homemade cake pops, so I pretended that they knew.

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My parents and I celebrated that night with dinner at Niko’s Taverna. One of my favorite foods ever is a good gyro (year-oh), and I knew that Niko’s makes a mean one.

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Madre: Alison and I should have shared one!

Me:….I think I’m gonna finish mine.

And I proved triumphant.

For dessert, we shared (I mostly devoured it with Madre’s help) a karidopita, or syrup-soaked walnut cake. Madre insisted on saying ~8 times to the waiter that it was my birthday, so the cake came out with a candle as they blasted an eerie version of “Happy Birthday” over the speakers.

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THIS CAKE. One of the moistest, most delicious cakes I’ve ever eaten. It was like banana bread meets carrot cake meets tres leches cake. I miss it.

Thank you, Mom and Pop, for a lovely dinner!

On Monday and Tuesday night, I messed up my sleep schedule by going to bed at 1 AM (even though I work an 11-7 shift, that’s still a lot later than necessary). I probably wasn’t even doing anything that important that late at night— maybe some blog reading, Instagram scrolling, preparing my work things for the next day, replying to emails, texting friends to catch up…

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ICYMI on Instagram: I helped out with POOL therapy for the first time yesterday, and I wanted to quickly let my family know in our group chat. I didn’t realize what I actually typed until I finished work 5 hours later. I could not. stop. laughing. 

Since I screwed up my sleep schedule, I’ve been pretty exhausted these past few days. Last night, I tried going to bed at 9:30, but Lord knows how stressed I get when I “try” to go to sleep at a certain time. After some tossing and turning and venting to my parents though, I was blessed with a good night’s rest.

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scarfed these overnight oats in a jar post-workout, while packing lunch, putting on work clothes, and pre-talking with a friend on the phone while heading to work *two imaginary thumbs up because both thumbs were occupied*

MORAL OF THE STORY: I have been craving more simplicity in my life. Basically, I want to tune into those 48 hours unplugged at Fiona’s summer house (I might cite that trip for the rest of my life; it was amazing).

I need to declutter my life. Simplify. So a few days ago, I reflected on five— and only five— priorities in my life right now. Check it:

1) Faith // This means making time for daily prayer, meditation, and daily Mass when possible

2) Family and Friends // Sitting down at dinner with my parents and checking in on my close friends.

3) Health // Moving and grooving daily, in one form or another. Sleeping enough (but not forcing it) and eating enough good-for-me and good-to-me foods.

4) Work // Doing what I need to do and putting my best foot forward.

5) Blog // Catching up on blogs and posting on my own blog (because I love it!).

What’s not on here? Social media. UGH. I hate to love it and love to hate it.

Also of note: The first three— faith, family/friends, and health. I think these are the golden three. These are the things that keep me grounded and sane, and none of them require social media (maybe just a phone for calling/texting).

I feel so much more at peace when I focus on one task at a time or one person at a time in this present moment. I am going to keep this list somewhere in sight, so that I can be gently reminded that I can be doing something refreshing and rejuvenating besides scrolling through Instagram, BuzzFeed, Facebook, etc. Even the blog needs to take a back seat sometimes!

With that, I’m off to go to Mass and then to the gym before work. Hope you all have a good day filled with good busyness AND rejuvenation!

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p.s. this was my lunch yesterday and today, and it’s fantastic — smoked salmon, avocado, and cracked black pepper on 16 grain/seed bread (added spinach in there today too!)

So tell me:

What are your top five priorities?

Any tips for simplifying life?

What is the funniest that happened to you this week?

What are you having for lunch today?

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Not Quite Back to Dining Hall Food

I unintentionally squandered my unlimited meal plan yesterday.

I didn’t eat a single meal in the dining hall. I did, however, use my unlimited swipe-ability without guilt to pick up some fruit as a snack.

Yesterday was our last hurrah before the start of classes, and I’m glad to say that it was both a productive and fun day (without any heart palpitations, thank God).

I felt like a spring chicken after sleeping in and doing a bit of yoga and foam rolling in the morning. Once I was finished with all that, it was 10AM, so a quick dorm breakfast felt like the way to go.

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peanut butter + vanilla protein + banana on Dave’s killer bread

Followed by some human physiology reading, Jesus loving (Mass), and then more food. The admissions office graciously hosted a welcome back BBQ for all the admissions ambassadors (tour guides, etc.), complete with burgers, dogs, cookies, and sunshine.

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there’s a big burger patty in there somewhere

I was kinda antisocial at the BBQ, but I didn’t mean to be. I just needed to sit down and eat my burger with two hands, which meant that I had to remove myself from all the people standing and talking. In reality I was doing everyone a favor by not talking to them with lettuce in my teeth and mustard on my cheeks.

Domestic dorm duties beckoned me, so I went back to the dorm to do laundry and tub scrubbing.

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fueled by some zucchini bread that my wonderful roommate baked

My roommates told me not to clean the bathroom since it’s only been a week, but I rebelled and cleaned it anyway. Mold preys quickly.

And I prey on peanut butter even more quickly.

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My accidental homage to “I ♥ NY (aka The Big Apple)” 😉

I passed more time with blogging, folding laundry, and getting distracted by Tori Kelly’s VMA performance before leaving for the Catholic Center’s trip to the North End!

This week for me is filled with the BU Catholic Center’s First Week events, which is a time for any and all returning students and new students to hang out, meet friends, and partake in a merry time.

Day one was a scavenger hunt with tasks such as proposing to a stranger (who happens to look like Morgan Freeman).

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Day two was a trip to Quincy Market and the North End of Boston, which is like a more quaint version of NYC’s Little Italy.

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gyro plate with rice pilaf and salad from Quincy Market

HOUSED THIS. I told Rachel, “It scares me and thrills me that half of this meat is fat.”

Afterwards we walked to Mike’s Pastry in the North End, where our bomb-dig priest generously bought forty cannoli(s?) for the group.

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best cannoli I ever did eat // no chocolate chips 😀

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back to the endless selfies of college

Beautiful place and weather with beautiful people, eating beautiful food, and celebrating a beautiful Lord.

The day ended with deep thoughts/girl talk in my friends’ dorm room and typing up this blog post. Plus a shower, because hygiene is good.

P.S. I’m going to a modern dance class today, and I haven’t danced in forever, but I’m SO STOKED.

Wishing you all a beautiful day!

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So tell me:

Do you get self-conscious eating around people? I don’t usually, but when it comes to things with big leaves, I must hide my face.

Have you ever tried a cannoli?

Are you scrupulous about cleaning the bathroom like I am?

That Time I Fell Into a Canyon

Thinking-Out-Loud

with Amanda today!

1) Guess what! I wasn’t sore yesterday! After the hardest hike of my life, I was fully expecting to wake up not being able to move my body, but I felt fresh and fine. I was confused. The hike felt so hard and painful, but I guess it was mostly the altitude? Or maybe I recovered so quickly because I ate very well after the hike? Whatever it was, I’m just happy I was not completely debilitated.

2) We saw more beautiful rocks yesterday! Our family friends drove us to Colorado Springs, where we first visited the “Garden of the Gods”.

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please smile, dude

3) After walking around the pedestrian-friendly path for a while, we ate an incredible lunch at The Sahara Cafe— a Middle Eastern restaurant with the most amazing falafel ever.

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owned this chicken gyro

4) I was stuffed for the next 6 hours after that meal, because what you don’t see are the sweet potato fries, babaganoush, and baklava that I also ate with the falafel and gyro.

5) All that pita bread must have energized some of us, because our next stop was Cave of the Winds, where four of us decided to do the “Terror-Dactyl” ride. Basically, you fall into a canyon, just strapped in by a few seatbelts and hung by a cord. Juuuuust rocks under us.

Supervisor: The ground comes at ya pretty fast, so it’s over quickly whatever happens!

Oh….

I apologize for my blood-curdling scream

I prayed beforehand. The worst part was actually the beginning when they tilted us forward so that we were parallel with the ground and all our weight was resting on their somewhat questionable seatbelts. There’s a GoPro video of Ben’s and my face during the whole thing, which I’ll be sure to share when I get it!

6) It was totally amazing and worth it (the fear and the $50…).

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the daredevils’ “before” shot

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head first into this beauty

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walking the plank

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after the drop, taking in the scenery and thanking God we’re alive

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Even my mom and aunt did a ride! They took the less extreme, but still thrilling zipline.

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my mom and aunt on the zipline!

7) After that excitement, we slowed it down with a fun cave tour! All those stalactites, stalagmites, and slightly claustrophobia-inducing rock tunnels.

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It was so neat! Our tour guide was awesome, and the history was fascinating. If you’re ever in Colorado Springs, I 100% recommend Cave of the Winds. Let me know if you try the Terror-Dactyl 😉

8) “Eat, hike, repeat” is our theme of the week, so after our afternoon activities, we ate a late dinner at Thai Diamond Cafe. I was still kinda full from lunch, so I shared bites of everyone’s food and ate a salad that I had originally packed for lunch. I left the restaurant very full again 🙂

9) I’m going to meet Emily from Beauty in Christ today!!! I am so super excited. I can relate to every single one of her blog posts. It’s so wonderful to have a blogger friend who is about my age, who has gone through similar experiences with an eating disorder, and who loves Christ with a passion.

10) Speaking of blogger friends, Blend is tomorrow!!! So many exclamation points and so many things to be grateful for. I am blessed to just be alive, but God’s generosity is overflowing every darn day.

So tell me:

Would you do Terror-Dactyl? Have you done anything like it?

Have you ever gone on a cave tour?

What did you eat yesterday?

WIAW: Yesterday

Hi!

After answering my own Spill It Sunday questions yesterday, I got crap from my friends for pretending to be Hannah Montana in my past life. GUATEVER, that was seven years ago…I’m still a rockstar though.

Another late night last night results in another late post today, but hopefully this won’t be a regular thing. I like getting my posts up early! Anyway, today I’m showing you what I ate yesterday, along with all the fun post-high-school activities that happened!

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Joining the party with the world’s best avocado picker, Jenn!

6 AM— Wake up. Go to the bathroom. Consider going down for breakfast before thinking: Why the heck am I up right now? Go back to sleep.

9 AM— Wake up take two. Muuuuuch better.

9:30 AM— Breakfast, blogging, and Food Network watching!

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English muffin with almond butter and pepita sunseed butter + Greek yogurt with honey, chia, hemp, and half a banana

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A juicy peach

10:30 AM— Laundry, bathroom cleaning, dishes, and some burpees and handstands thrown in there for good measure.

12:30 AM— Rehearse singing the alma mater and star spangled banner with the other seniors in chorus at school in preparation for graduation. It already felt weird walking back into that building. Just thinking: I will never take classes here again. 

1:15 PM— A delicious but insanely messy lunch. I would never eat this thing in public, or else I would be judged as a barbarian. Eggs, tomatoes, and avocado pieces were rolling everywhere.

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Whole wheat tortilla, spinach, avocado, tomato, and parmesan scrambled egg wrap + unpictured sugar snap peas

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Plus a few dried pineapple rings

2 PM— Shopping with Daliza! We found our outfits for the senior awards ceremony last night, blasted Young the Giant in her car, and sang more Frozen duets.

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Super smiles

5 PM— Snack time. I finished my tomato and sugar snap peas from lunch with some hummus.

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Plus some of these spiced crackers

6:30 PM— I tried out the 100 air squat challenge for time that I saw on Fitfluential‘s Instagram.

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7:30 PM— Snacked on some salt and pepper pistachios before the senior awards ceremony.

8:45 PM— Awards ceremony finishes and guess what!

I’m valedictorian. Meep. Madre was crying! :’)

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One of my best friends, Sam, is salutatorian! Congratulations, girl!

We were tenths of a point away from each other! Now I have to write my speech…stat.

9:45 PM— Went out with some friends after the ceremony to get snacks, but I needed dinner, so I got a yummy chicken gyro that satisfied my hunger very well.

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10:30 PM— Sam, Jeannine, Michael, and I went to Veronica’s house to play a game that Veronica introduced to us— Loaded Questions. That game is easily one of the funnest things of all time. We laughed so hard the whole time!

2 AM— Hit the hay.

There ya have it! Everything I did and ate yesterday. So many fantastic things for which to be thankful!

So tell me:

Do you have trouble eating homemade wraps too?

Which meal has recently hit the spot for you?

Two fun things you did yesterday!

Girls’ Nights {MIMM #9}

These past few days have been filled with so many awesome moments with some of my best girl friends! It was such a fabulous privilege to spend time with friends from both school and dance, even amidst a pretty hectic time of year. Many fun things went down this weekend, so let’s get straight into the deeeets:

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Check out Katie’s blog for more marvelous posts!

Marvelous is…

Hot water bottles. Does anyone else use these?? They are so amazing for when I’m freezing in my house…or in my car as seen in the picture. My mom says it’s like cradling a warm baby. I don’t know about that comparison, but it’s definitely super cozy hugging one of these! (Holding one right now.)

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Marvelous is…

A breakfast party in AP Calc. There’s ten of us in the class and our teacher is awesome–she even made us corn bread! I actually just ate a jumbo corn muffin + corn bread. Obsessed.

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I was literally sitting in the back of the class manning the waffle maker while answering questions about derivatives.

Marvelous is…

Going to a local bakery 20 minutes away with mom just to pick up spur-of-the-moment pastry cravings. She got herself her favorite “Speculaas Bar”–some kind of almond paste pastry that’s only a seasonal product. She let me pick out some macarons for myself and my brother and dad. We also spotted a cute green dome cake, and when we found out it was pistachio and strawberry, we had to get it! Like I said, spur of the moment.

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Fig macaron!

Marvelous is…

Going to a(n) gyro restaurant on Friday night with some of my friends from school. Apparently the cross country team has some joke or memory with the place. They always say, “YO GYROOO” or something, so I was excited to visit this place. We also kept going back and forth saying JAI-RO and YEAR-O. The latter is the correct way, right? I usually say year-o, but I decided to say it jai-ro the whole night, and I probably looked like such a novice. Guatever.

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Kristi with her chicken gyro

Also, $1.00 soft serve from McD’s.

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Jeah.

Marvelous is…

Reese’s. After picking them all out from the candy we’re giving out for Halloween, we decided to make a treat using a couple of them. On Thursday night, I made Ben banana soft serve onto which he sprinkled a couple Reese’s and raspberries. I had a couple bites, and it was GOOD STUFF.

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Marvelous is…

A new PR for 100 burpees! I think this over a minute faster than my the last time I tried it three months ago! Tip: closing your eyes helps you grit through. Ha.

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Marvelous is…

Company sleepover!! Our first sleepover of the year was so much fun! I seriously love hanging out with these girls. We went to dinner at an Asian fusion restaurant, made s’mores, did some company traditions, talked, and LAUGHED a lot.

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Olivia and Hilary

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Charli

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Olivia aka “Swagmaster” or Beyonce

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Lilly, Susie, Thea (the host of the fabulous sleepover!), Jane, Alisia, Madi, and Charli!

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Love that charred marshmallow action

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(Top): Susie, Allison, Maureen, Hilary, me, (Bottom): Lilly, Madi, Pam

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So dysfunctional. Jane, Charli, Alisia, Rachel, and Swagmaster

Before heading to our Sunday rehearsal the next morning (we were zombies upon waking up), Thea’s super sweet mom made us a fantastic brunch of French toast, egg and cheese souffle, fruit, cider, coffee, and tea. DELICIOUS. Beats our usual bagels and cream cheese. Thank you so much, Thea and Co.! 🙂

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Quite a marvelous weekend, I must say. Hope you are all doing well too! Have a great week 🙂

So tell me: What did you do this weekend? When was your last girls/guys night out? How do you say “gyro?”