Virtual Breakfast Date

I was brainstorming some sort of profound topic that I could blog about, but I feel like there has been a lack of good, light-hearted blogging like the olden golden days of DMAG.

With that being said, let’s share my favorite meal of the day together (sorry if it’s not yours, but I’ve already made this banner)!

virtual breakfast date

…I’d brag about my mixed media masterpiece. By “mixed media”, I mean yogurt, peanut butter, and fruit. #contemporaryart

…I’d tell you that I got a Fitbit for Christmas, and it has motivated me to move more while I’ve been at home. When I’m in Boston, I can easily hit 15K+ steps every day, but usually when I’m home, that number dwindles to maybe 5K per day? It’s really the competitive feature of Fitbit that gives you a run for your money (or the other person’s money who gifted it to you), let me TELL YA. My mom has one as well, and she is definitely pushing me to w o r k.

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I’ve been enjoying nice long walks in the neighborhood while praying, as well as dancing around the house to Mom’s international music selection — the epitome of daily moves and grooves.

My mother is dancing around the first floor as we speak.

…I would assure you that the calorie count on Fitbit is the feature that I look at the least. Not because I think I’ll be triggered, but truly because it is the stat I care the least about right now.

…I would tell you that I go back to Boston to start classes next week. I am excited to learn, less excited for the major schedule adjustment that will have to occur (i.e. looking for things TO DO right now ➔ looking for opportunities to NOT be doing anything starting next week), but grateful all the same.

…I would express to you how good it has been hanging out with my family this winter break. They are the bees knees, and I am thankful to be in their presence, whether that involves eating mom’s home-cooked meals, picking up my dad and brother from the train station, watching foodie/travel Youtube videos with my parents, or going to Mass with all of them.

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…I would tell you that my obliques are majorly sore from this fun/interesting move from Blogilates. Eeeeeeccentric movement, man.

…I would tell you that these Turbana plantain chips have been my favorite snack this week. Crispy, great flavor, and not too oily. I think my mom got them from TJMaxx for $3, so hit ’em up!

…I would point you to this website that my friends started called The Pilgrim Collective. It’s run by friends who I know from the BU Catholic Center, and here’s the mission statement:

The Pilgrim Collective is a group of people seeking to create beauty and expose each other to beauty. We come from far and wide and all create in many different ways. We’re poets, musicians, cooks, bloggers, dancers, painters, writers, and however the heck else we create (and that’s not counting our day jobs). We’ve all been created good and beautiful and we are all called to be creators ourselves. But far too often we don’t think we’re creative enough so we don’t try or maybe we just don’t take the time out of our busy schedules to cultivate that creative side. But we desire to change that. We desire to create a culture of beauty and creativity; an environment where everyone can feel empowered to be the creators they’ve been created to be.

I just wrote a blog post on it. If you are just looking for uplifting music, heartachingly beautiful poetry and prayers, and thoughtful posts on the faith, check it out!

…I’d tell you that today my friend Abby is coming to explore NYC with me before we head back up to Boston to start another semester of PT school! I can’t wait to eat many desserts and things with her in the city.

…I’d ask you:

What are you eating for breakfast?

Do you have a Fitbit or other activity tracker? What do you like about it?

What is a highlight of your week thus far?

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Stuffing and More Stuff of Life

The onslaught of Christmas music around every corner is approaching and I am not mentally/emotionally prepared.

Two months has passed since my last blog post, and boy have those two months been PACKED with… STUFF.

Also packed with STUFF is my belly right now after a delicious Thanksgiving feast. Happy belated Thanksgiving 🙂

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This was probably one of my favorite Thanksgiving meals in a while. It’s going to sound really inflated of me, but I cooked 90% of the food. It was cathartic for me to be cooking all day though, and Madre took care of the turkey, which turned out PERFECTLY (unlike last year when we undercooked it ha). My brother’s girlfriend also made delicious crostini w/ a balsamic reduction and burrata, as well as Thai tea (!) pumpkin pie. My contributions included stuffing, mac and cheese, roasted brussels sprouts, roasted potatoes, cornbread, cranberry sauce, and apple pie. I don’t mind domesticity at all; I was thriving.

HOWEVER, my apple pie bubbled over in the oven, so the juices to start burning pretty badly at the bottom of the oven, causing the smoke alarm to go off in the middle of dinner…. We needed the excitement (running around, opening doors, fanning the alarm) to facilitate digestion…is my excuse.

The food was great (and I didn’t feel terribly stuffed, which was good because I definitely felt stuffed after the two Friendsgiving dinners I had this past weekend), but of course the gift of family was the best. We went to Mass together in the morning to worship the God deserving of all thanksgiving, and then Ben and I even got in a fun workout at a gym that my high school friend owns!

Ben and Pop also played some Christmas tunes on the piano/clarinet together between dinner and dessert, which was so sweet.

To combine a life update and a Thanksgiving post, here are just some of the many things for which I am grateful from these past two months.

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The last thing I told you in my previous blog post was that I was going hiking in Maine with friends, and that was a glorious weekend. A bunch of us drove up from Boston and stayed at our friend Connor’s place, where hospitality abounds. His family is so warm and fun, and his mom makes some KILLER lasagna, banana bread, egg casserole, and pumpkin bread (she also has a beautiful singing voice, yeesh). The main event of the weekend was hiking up and down Mt. Washington, which was a sufficiently challenging hike. It started off as a pretty sweaty hike (tank top conditions), but with elevation came high winds and frigid temperatures (hat and heavy coat conditions).

We also went to the famous Fryeburg Fair on Sunday for Mass and all the fried food you could ever think of. My face was sweating bloomin’ onion oils.

Grateful for: nature; autumn leaves in the northeast; breathing hard in the fresh air; prayerful, joyful, loving, and hilarious friends (and their families!); fun fried foods.

PT school has been quite enjoyable this semester! One of my favorite aspects is that our neurological systems lab allows us to work with patients who have actually had a stroke (rather than just practicing on healthy, young peers), which makes the experience so much more realistic and meaningful.

Grateful for: education; an increase in knowledge and understanding of the human body AND the human person; friends who support both my mind and my spirit through the PT school process; academic failures and successes.

My best friend Rachel and (her now husband) Austin got MARRIED. I had the honor of being the maid of honor, and it was one of the best days of MY life. Of course, I’ve always thought marriage is beautiful, and family life is one of the best reflections of God’s Love active in the world. However, a wedding has never made these truths penetrate my heart so deeply until Rachel and Austin’s wedding. Maybe it’s because I know their relationship from the inside pretty much, but I was m o v e d by their Sacrament of Marriage. Ugh, I can’t really articulate it fully, but it was so good. Rachel and Austin were beaming all day.

The wedding reception was also LIT. I love wedding dancing, as some of you might know, and it’s even better when it’s with your best friends who ALSO love dancing. If you could find me “in my element,” it would be on the dance floor at a wedding reception.

Grateful for: the Sacrament of Marriage; Rachel and Austin; holy friends; the triumph of joy despite trials; wedding dancing.

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There have been a lot of tears (what’s new though??) of every kind. But if I could boil all the tears down…it would be salt. No just kidding. If I could boil all the tears down into one common theme, it would be that the Lord is making all things new (Rev 21:5). I have cried a lot because of emotional pain. In these cases, I have repeated daily that the Lord is, in each moment of pain, making all things new — better, more beautiful, more good than I could plan or do on my own.

I have also cried tears of joy and deep gratitude, because He shows me that things are indeed made new. There have been certain relationships and struggles (either my own or those of my loved ones) in this past year that have seemed to crush my insides, but as long as those are all laid at the foot of the Cross for love of what is good, the Lord has shown that He can and will make those relationships and struggles new — somehow better than they could have been if the pain never occurred. It’s a continuous process of pain and beauty though; it never stops. And sometimes He chooses not to show us what exactly it is He is doing, but I am learning that this is what life is. HE KEEPS YA ON YOUR TOES.

Grateful for: pain that turns into growth; newness; knowing that life will never be void of pain and struggle, but that does not mean it will void of joy.

That’s a wrap for now! As always, thank YOU for reading along despite the spottiness of my blog posts in this season of life. Thanks to mom, dad, and my brother as always 🙂 And THANK YOU, GOOD LORD, FOR THIS LIFE.

“…In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

– 1 Thess 5:18

So tell me:

One thing you’re grateful for, based on a recent experience?

If you celebrated Thanksgiving here in America yesterday, what did ya eeeeat? 

Summer Catch Up {Part 1}: Clinical

Are we now in what people/Florence + the Machine would call the “dog days” of summer?

It’s hot and things are winding down before the start of school again (second year of grad school, baby, here we come!)

It’s been 5 weeks since I posted about life (besides this post), because, like I said before, life has been full. From ab-sore laughing to nearly punching walls out of frustration to crying happy and sad tears on the train, it’s all been very rich and very good overall.

I’ll split up the summer catch-up into a couple posts for everyone’s sake.

The 6-Week Physical Therapy Clinical Experience

I walked out of my 6 weeks working at an outpatient PT clinic b e a m i n g. Not because I was happy to leave but because I was beyond grateful for how much I enjoyed it.

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the sunset view from the train station on my last day of clinical

All the staff were incredibly compassionate and encouraging. My clinical instructors were laid back yet competent clinicians and teachers. The patients were welcoming and supportive of me while I treated them.

Usually, something like clinical — where I know I will be evaluated on my knowledge and skill base, ability to communicate, and ability to just be a good person — would make me feel anxious and stressed up the wazoo. But by the grace of God, I stayed pretty calm throughout the whole experience, and I think that helped me to think more clearly and bring my best to the table at each moment. I almost never did anything out of fear for being judged or ridiculed; I was able to speak, ask questions, and perform with a genuinely free heart, and from the feedback I received from my clinical instructors, all of that made for a successful clinical experience.

I made many mistakes and there is always so much room to grow, but I have learned that the two things that make me a good PT student (and hopefully a good doctor of PT one day) are honesty and humility always. This clinical experience has made me fall back in love with the profession of PT, and for that I am pleasantly surprised and grateful.

Odds and Ends

Outside of clinical, I’ve been enjoying lots of food and fellowship.

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I think the collage sums it up quite nicely. I’ve eaten many dumplings, seen my friends do many ratchet things (i.e. Sarah spreading dijon mustard on her sandwich using a baby carrot as we waited outside with all her stuff before dorm move-in), and spent a long weekend with nuns. Among other things.

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feeling small and weak and sub-amateur but He is not

A post shared by Alison (@alison_grooves) on

I’ve also been running more!

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I, like, kinda enjoy running now?? Sometimes?

This summer catch-up is to be continued… (Spartan Race and Bachelorette party!)

So tell me:

How’s the summer work/job been?

Are you headed back to school (whether yourself or your kids), and how are you feeling about it? 

First Week at the New Unpaid Job

Also known as my 6-week PT clinical.

My heart overflows with gratitude for this past week! As part of the graduate PT program, I have been placed at an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy clinic to learn from the PTs and start doing some “real life PT” stuff. You can liken it to an internship or rotation. I have already learned oodles, grown as a PT student, and grown as a person just in this first week.

I have two clinical instructors who are basically my mentors, and both of them are welcoming, open to my input, supportive, and just fun people. They are also fantastic, experienced PTs, and I look forward to learning more from them these next 5 weeks.

The staff at the clinic asked for a fun fact about me during a meeting, and I told them about this blog that I’ve been writing for almost 5(!) years now. So if any of them are reading this, HELLO! You are all great.

My commute (by bus + train) in the morning takes about an hour, and the way back takes about 1.5 hours, which is not ideal but not terrible by any means. Lots of time for prayer and people watching.

I even get a day off during the week! I work four days per week, with some days 7:30-4:30. Other days I work 10-7. That makes my out-of-work schedule a little wonky, but we’re makin’ the best of it. Although, one night I stayed up until almost midnight cooking food when I needed to get up at 5:20 the next morning. I ended up sleeping through my alarm but THANKFULLY, Rachel happened to know when I needed to wake up, AND she woke up at around the same time as me that particular day (she usually wakes up a little later), so she knocked on my door and asked, “Aren’t you supposed to be awake??”

Omg yes, tysm, Jesus and Rachel.

Since I can’t make it to Mass on work days, I’ve been praying in the evenings with the sunset.

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one night Kelsey invited me to go with her to adoration and confession

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most other nights I’m here

The Lord blessed us with gorgeous weather last week (besides one day of torrential rains that soaked me to my underwear LOL), so these nights were refreshing as heck. This week’s forecast says it will storm almost every day. Still tempted to watch the “sunset” through the clouds though. What’s a little water and electricity, right?? (answer: danger and potentially death, don’t do that, Alison)

Bible study + belated international ice cream day celebration:

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Favorite moves and grooves from last week:

Supersets (3x each):

  • 12 step ups each leg (25”, 25#) // 40 side jump lunges
  • 10 pistols each leg // 20 hamstring ball curls 

12 min EMOM:

Favorite song of the week:

Rachel and I went bucket listing on Saturday at The Gallows for their Scotch Egg, which is a soft boiled egg, surrounded by pork sausage and deep fried with panko crust.

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’twas perfectly savory and crispy

I hadn’t eaten pork in a while, so my tastebuds were like OOO YES PORK, THE NEW CHICKEN.

We also shared the breakfast skillet, which was phenomenal and everything we needed (i.e. potatoes, cheese, bacon).

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Great food, just a little pricey. Cool atmosphere, except the wall looks like a ouija board, which is like, ehhhhhh…..pass.

After brunch, Rachel and I deep cleaned our apartment to prepare for the new tenants (my friends Casey and Zoe!), as well as our own peace of mind. It took us 6-ish hours, but we cleaned, scrubbed, swept, mopped, reorganized 5/6 rooms in the apartment and moved me into a different room.

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f l o o r space!!!

I have never been happier living in this apartment without the ten thousand pounds of dust bunnies and grime that have been accumulating. We are hygienic people, but we are also lazy/busy young adults who are not the best at maintaining an already old, grody apartment.

Rachel made us Dark and Stormy’s to celebrate a clean apartment. I am seriously so grateful for this gal for motivating me throughout the day and having such an organized plan of action.

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The only really negative thing that happened this week was a random man asking if I wanted to come over and “do something” and commenting on my a$$ on my way to work. I may have definitely cursed at him in my head…but mercy is better.

It’s been a long but beautiful week. Not because anything spectacular happened, but because…

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I found my favorite devotional (Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts) during the move and all the sticky notes that my friend left in it. His sticky notes highlight a lot of wonderful reminders.

Hope you have a lovely week!

So tell me:

Highlights of your week!

How is your commute to work?

Have you ever eaten a Scotch Egg?

“It is all for you. I love you.”

Snippets of the mind and nuggets of the heart from last week:

Tuesday

Despite the woes that can result from the internet and social media these days, it has wonderful effects as well. For example, meeting people like my friend Casey, who is one of the fittest and most genuine people I know.

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why does my box of food look like froyo with toppings

We spent time together by working out by the river and then noshing on some Whole Foods hot bar (treat yo$$$$elf) al fresco. The Whole Foods mac and cheese is dreamy as heck, but the real star of the night was Casey. Big heart, that gal.

Also the workout that she came up with was super fun. We had both worked out already in the morning, so we went for something “laid back.”

100 reps of each exercise total between two partners (so we each did 50 of each exercise):

  • squats
  • pushups
  • situps
  • jump lunges
  • burpee bench jumpovers
  • bench dips
  • plank jacks
  • pistols (20 total each person)

Wednesday

This was my last day volunteering at Little Sisters of the Poor (a skilled nursing facility/hospice for elderly people with very low income) for a while, and I am quite sad to be leaving the folks there (for now!). I have nothing but gratitude for the joy in this place, which, without the right workers, could easily be a depressing and neglected place. God put the right workers there, and I pray that I can be as joyful as they are.

They had a fun Casablanca-themed dinner party that night for the residents, and they went ALL OUT.

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I was nearly floored when I saw this cake. Amazing what technology can do to our desserts these days.

I also FaceTimed with my dear friend Emma tonight, which was like chicken noodle soup for the soul, along with this glowing urban sunset.

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Thursday

I started my day RUNNING??????!!! And I ended up running 6.65 miles, which is the longest distance I’ve ever run. Haha. I threw in couple longer stretch/catch-my-breath-post-hill breaks, but I still felt accomplished and texted all of my friends who would care.

This has been my favorite breakfast recently: overnight oat smoothie topped with PB Puffins.

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Beats the heat and doubles as a prank to make others think you’re eating pea soup with cereal on top for breakfast. I’ve never done that, but please try it on my behalf and report back.

In the eve, I had dinner al fresco (loving the weather this week) with my friend Briana and then walked over to another friend’s place for our weekly Bible study/deep chat time. On the way over, my heart was hurting over something, but I felt as though God was telling me in my pain, “Hey, hey. Look. Look at the sky. Look at all these things I have given you today. It is all for you. I love you.”

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Oh, how joyful and loving the Lord is.

Friday

I walked to Mass and then ate delicious pasta at Bottega di Capri with my friend Denis, a seminarian who just came back from Italy, the land of pasta. He took two weeks off from Italian food, but then the heart just yearns for it again, ya know? (Really, it was I who requested pasta, and Denis is just a good friend who let my desires be fulfilled.)

I had cheese and porcini mushroom ravioli in vodka sauce. The restaurant definitely threw some lobster ravioli in there on accident, but I was NOT complaining.

Later in the afternoon, I visited a friend who is recovering from a rather involved surgery. She is a warrior. The occasion also gave me an excuse to buy two pints of Mint Oreo ice cream, one for her and one for myself, as they were on sale 2/$7 😀

One of my apartment mates, Lauren, is moving away so we hosted a killer farewell party for her, complete with flash tattoos, pizza rolls, and the Fake ID dance.

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I will miss you lots, Lo ♥

Saturday

…and then my pal Ben and I figured it was a good idea to do a longer “Spartan” workout the morning after at 8:30 am!!!

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“how to be a tool and a white girl at the same time”

Ben came up with this workout to increase our running endurance on grass/dirt a bit more. We have a Spartan Super coming up in less than a month!

0.5 mile run ➔ Circuit (20 reps each) ➔ 1.0 mile run ➔ Circuit (15 reps each) ➔ 1.5 mile run ➔ Circuit (10 reps each) ➔ 2.0 mile run ➔ Circuit (5 reps each)

The Circuit:

  • burpees
  • squat jumps
  • tricep bench dips
  • step ups
  • cross punch sit ups

Surprisingly, the last 2 mile run was the easiest and funnest. From the 0.5 mile run to the 1.5 mile run, I would precede it by saying, “I don’t wannnnnaaaa runnnnnnn. I don’t want itttttt.” But we did it, flash-tatted and pizza-rolled up.

The rest of the day included FaceTiming another fit internet friend, Colby, a genuine and inspiring soul as well. At night, I dined in with yet another beautiful friend, Kelsey. She helped me practice my PT skills too, because clinical starts tomorrow and Lord knows I have forgotten 50% of my skills already.

Sunday

This post is super long already. Okay, so I boxed in the morning, watched the World Cup Final with Kelsey (yo, that game was FUN TO WATCH), swept the floors, ate ice cream, went to Mass, watched the sun light up the clouds a bit, and am now writing this.

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To conclude, a quote from someone greater than I:

“The devil may try to use the hurts of life, and sometimes our own mistakes to make you feel it is impossible that Jesus really loves you, is really cleaving to you. This is a danger for all of us, and so sad, because it is completely the opposite of what Jesus is really wanting, waiting to tell you…He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy.” — St. Teresa of Calcutta

Have a blessed week! I START CLINICAL TOMORROW. SO I NEED TO GO TO SLEEP IN 20 MINUTES. But I also just ate tapioca pudding so I have a lot of sugar in me.

So tell me:

A few highlights of your week!

What is your favorite Ben and Jerry’s flavor?

Pasta. Do you ever get sick of it?