When You’re Feeling Off + Life Lately

It’s finally warm!

IMG_7766

Thank the Lord. It got up to a steamy 76*F on Tuesday!

HI. It’s been pretty quiet on Moves and Grooves lately, but it’s been a busy and weird couple of weeks. The weirdness was mostly attributed to me feeling very “off” in my faith life — prayer wasn’t the easiest, and I felt a lot of confusion, frustration, and guilt over some things in my life.

It’s not something I haven’t experienced before, but it’s always disorienting. However, I’ve learned to not depend on feelings or be driven by them all the time. This apples not only to matters of faith, but also matters of recovery, school, life in general. It makes sense (e.g. just because you don’t feel like sharing cake with your friend doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t), but feelings can be LOUD, so it’s good to remind ourselves that feelings are just feelings. We often need to follow what we know instead.

Know that God does not speak through confusion.

Know that God is infinitely loving and merciful.

c10eec76fbbc81b2430cff83862c216e.jpg

[source]

I’m not usually a pinterest quote person, but this Bible verse made it to my phone lock screen this week

And with God, every trial just yields more wisdom and peace. Holy Week has helped too! This year, it has been profound yet beautifully simple, and now we are all so ready for Easter 🙂

Let’s catch up though!! So much has been happening.

I went to my second spin class ever at Cyc with Christina (@foodietunes) last Wednesday. Once again, Sarah Gaines, founder of Fit University, taught the class and kicked. my. BUTT. My last spin/Cyc class was last year during Sarah’s first “tribe ride”!

IMG_7741

Christina texted me the night before:

Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 11.35.40 PM

And so I dragged my butt out of bed to move my legs faster than they ever do, but I still couldn’t keep up with Sarah.

IMG_7743

I had squatted heavy for the first time in a long time THREE days before this class, and my quads were still crying by the warmup.

IMG_7746IMG_7745

Christina: “Can we pick you up?” // Sarah: “Not up here.”

IMG_7744

Thank you so much, Sarah, for a great class and for being an all-around inspirational gal!

After the Cyc class, I stopped by Whole Foods to get some yogurt, and this little fella was patiently waiting outside.

Corgis are my favorite kind of dog. They’re awkward, cute, and loyal. We need more men like that in the world.

Here are a couple solid dining hall meals I’ve eaten:

IMG_7759

breaded fish with seasoned rice and green beans

IMG_7754

empanadas on Latin night + salad

And I’ve been cookin’ up some fine things in the apartment as well!

IMG_7735

(from three weeks ago!) the last of the chicken + beans from the bomb enchiladas I made with cheese, avocado, and roasted brussels sprouts

IMG_7762

meatballs (actually, just mini muffin versions of this meatloaf), brown rice, cheese, and roasted paprika asparagus

IMG_7764

classics with a side of anatomy

IMG_7791

tomato, basil, feta, pepper, and olive oil

Last Sunday, Megan and I hosted “Assisi Night” for our Catholic friends. Essentially, it was an even that we made up because we’ve been obsessed with Assisi ever since we visited during our break while studying abroad. So we invited all our friends to hang out with us for an Italian food potluck, a movie about St. Francis and St. Clare, and good ol’ fellowship.

IMG_7777

the oddly large “T” is actually a tau sign, symbolic of the Franciscan order

IMG_7778

Dinner was complete with salad, caprese, focaccia, several kinds of pasta, and many desserts. Megan and I cooked most of it, but our friends came through with lots of delicious foods as well!

IMG_7774IMG_7770

this focaccia disappeared before the event started

IMG_7775IMG_7782IMG_7776

my attempt at cacio e pepe

IMG_7780

‘Twas such a fun night!!

Sunsets have been magnificent this week thanks to the clear blue skies.

IMG_7829IMG_7830

I wish I could go to a remote place so I could see stars too! (I’m asking for a lot, I’m sorry. I am very grateful for these sunsets.)

Exams, papers, projects, summer planning, etc. is all happening still. It’s a good kind of chaos.

I hope you all have a blessed Easter or just a joyful weekend! Eat lots of carbs for with me!

So tell me:

Do you ever have to ignore your feelings and go with what you know?

Two fun things you’ve done recently.

What are you doing this weekend!Easter and Marathon Monday, baby!

 

Advertisements

Assisi, You Have My Heart

I was woken up by church bells and roosters crowing in Assisi, and I had never been so happy to be woken up an hour early.

We arrived to Assisi at around 8:30 pm on Tuesday night. Megan and I had planned on taking the bus and walking to the hospitality house where we were staying, but we decided to split a taxi with two American men who were on our train. It was a smart decision, because Assisi’s streets are quite the maze. Plus it was dark and we were not in the mood to get lost after a long day of traveling.

We stayed at La Casa d’Ospitalità Maria Immacolata, which was the perfect place. Central location, super kind religious sisters, and beautiful rooms.

img_4833

We tried to find a bite to eat, and the best we could do at 9pm in our tired state was a €5 salad. I had this plus half of Megan’s, since she wasn’t feelin’ hers anymore.

img_4836

Our room had a balcony with a panorama of Assisi, which looked like this in the morning:

img_4855

GLORY.

I ate some breakfast biscuits and mixed nuts before we explored Assisi. Just like Padua, it involved a lot of church visits, wandering semi-aimlessly, and waiting for restaurants to open. 

img_4857

We loved it so much though. Assisi is a movie set. None of it seems real, but the best part is that it IS REAL. The buildings are rustic, and the signs look like Disney World tried to make a European Epcot exhibition. 

img_4871img_4863img_4878

Obviously, we had to visit the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. Pictures weren’t allowed (there were two Italian guards with big guns outside, so I wasn’t gonna try to pull a fast one), but again, it was exquisite. St. Francis’ tomb was in the basement!! (Getting excited over dead people, I know.)

img_4856

We spent a good chunk of time there before going to a random (yet impressively high-tech) museum of a Franciscan mission to the Amazon, followed by the Basilica of St. Rufino. 

img_4875

Poor Megan was getting hangry, but we had 20 minutes to spare before lunch opened, so I tried to walk us to Rocca Maggiore (the fortress at the very top of Assisi) for a nice view. Too bad Assisi is really hilly and steep — great if you have energy to exercise, horrible if you’re hangry.

img_4879img_4885img_4889

The views were worth it (IMO. But I ate more than she did for breakfast too, so..). 

Working up an appetite for lunch at Osteria Piazzetta dell’Erba was also worth it. My friend Joe recommended it to me, and the menu looked fantastic, so we went for it.

img_4873

Al fresco!

img_4893

They gave us a bread basket PLUS this onion focaccia, which was divine.

img_4895

Megan and I shared the beef tartare to start. We called them “raw meatballs”, but they were seriously amazing. There were black truffle shavings and some sort of yogurt sauce. 

img_4896

Then we both ordered the gnocchi for our main. It came with a lamb ragu sauce, pecorino cream, and CHOCOLATE! The chocolate definitely elevated the dish to a new and unique level. 

img_4898

Dead. This was definitely the best meal of my entire trip.

img_4899

We popped into a gelateria for lunch dessert, because…we were in Italy. 

img_4902

Each cup came with three flavors, so I went with caramel, mint chocolate chip, and pistachio. Weird combo, but I enjoyed it a lot. 

I was so full of good Italian food at that point, so we slowly made our way to the Basilica of St. Clare, where her tomb was located as well. Her body is partially incorrupt, which means it is decaying more slowly than usual and no one can explain it scientifically. Creepy crazy cool.

img_4903img_4904

We headed back to our room to change into something other than jeans, since it was actually pretty warm that day. I also needed to lay down on a bed and digest from lunch still.

Then it was time for a hike! We walked about 1.5 hours to St. Francis’ old hermitage, called Eremo delle Carceri, which I think means hermitage of the prisons? It was a great walk, but it was also a great workout. It was all uphill, so my hamstrings and butt were feeling it as I huffed and puffed up the double backs of the mountain.

img_4908

We were the only valiant walkers as many cars passed us by. #fituniversity?

Once we arrived, we walked around the beautiful and serene hermitage. We checked out the grottos and prayer spaces of St. Francis and his companions.

img_4913img_4914img_4918img_4930

We spent a good couple of hours here, marveling in the beauty and meditating ourselves. It was another good workout going down this trail…and then back up.

img_4932img_4933img_4935

STORY TIME.

We stayed so long at the hermitage because we wanted to go to adoration and vespers (both are special forms of prayer) at the chapel at 6pm. We knew it would get dark, but we figured we could get a cab or just walk with our phone flashlights back down the mountain, no big deal.

Adoration and vespers were lovely. I was exhausted, but it was so cool to be praying with priests and religious brothers and sisters at the top of a mountain in Assisi, where St. Francis once prayed.

Once the prayers were over though, we realized that it was pitch black outside and thunder storming… Not really great conditions for walking 1.5 hours down a mountain, eh? At first, I assured the priest that we would be able to get a taxi by the entrance of the hermitage, but when we got outside, there was not a soul in sight, and we knew there would be no taxis passing by until the morning. So we scurried back to the hermitage to ask the priest, Fr. Marco and the religious sister, Sr. Violet, there to call a cab for us.

God is good. Another religious sister, Sr. Elisabetta, and her friend were heading back down the mountain with their car, so the priest asked them if they would be willing to give us a lift, and they agreed! It all sounds very nice and perfect as I type this, but in reality, Megan and I were so frazzled and helpless.

“Guess we’re staying at the hermitage tonight.” -Megan

We are beyond grateful for such kind people though. We got to talk to Fr. Marco and Sr. Violet while we waited for our ride to be ready. All of a sudden though, the room started shaking.

Megan and I were just looking around like, “Hm, the room is moving. Must be some strong thunder or something.” But Sister Violet took my arm and calmly but firmly led me out of the room we were standing in to stand under a small archway.

We must have looked confused at that point, because all she said was, “Earthquake. Terremoto.” WHAT!? Megan and I are clueless. Thankfully, it was not a big or long earthquake.

Anyway, Sr. Elisabetta and her friend very kindly drove us back to town, where it started raining torrentially.

img_4936

If we tried to walk back down a mountain in the dark with thunderstorms, pouring rain, and earthquakes, I think we would have died. We are forever grateful for the compassionate and joyful people of Eremo delle Cercari.

img_4937

We ran into the closest open restaurant once we got out of the car. It was a random hotel restaurant, but we were hungry and it was pouring outside. I ordered the veal steak and side of grilled vegetables.

img_4939img_4940

I got the biggest stomachache after this, probably because I ate too fast and the meal was just very oily overall. Too many fats in a very short period of time after a long hike and a little stress was not a good combo.

By the time we finished dinner, it had stopped raining (thank God), so we walked back to our rooms to just be done with the day. But it wasn’t quite over.

I had just showered and Megan was sitting on the ground using her phone. The room started shaking again, and we looked at each other. We didn’t say anything but we weren’t taking this earthquake seriously, since the other one was so short and mild. But then the shaking kept going, and it was getting harder. Our eyes widened and we realized, “Oh, earthquakes are natural disasters and we should be concerned. !!!!”

All I learned in school was to go under a doorframe, so that’s what we did. We were totally fine, but the epicenter must have felt it big time. 😦

We felt one more shake while in our beds a little later, but nothing woke us up while we were actually sleeping.

The next morning, the sun was out and the view from our balcony got even prettier.

img_4987

I could cry.

We checked out of our hospitality house and moseyed our way down to St. Damian, which was a church rebuilt by St. Francis and used by the Poor Clares.

img_4964img_4960img_4966

Look at how touristy we are. Backpack/frontpack for me + hiking boots hanging off of Megan’s hiking backpack.

img_4959

Besides Megan mildly twisting her ankle, the walk to lunch was lovely, and these views from the bottom of Assisi were stunning. I could not take my eyes off this place.

img_4977img_4974

We ate lunch at Casa Norcia, which gave us some delicious pasta (naturally). I had the mixed salad + tagliatelle with prosciutto and hazelnuts. YUM.

img_4978img_4979

There were about 45 minutes to kill before the Mary of the Angels Basilica reopened for the day, so I blogged on my phone for a bit outside. The wifi was THE BEST in that area.

img_4981

Then it was time to catch our train to Rome. We both finished Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that evening, and we are officially HP fans now. It happened.

So we shed a tear because we left Assisi and because we finished the first HP book. Assisi is my new favorite place in the world, and my heart longs to return.

A few more adventures to share coming up!

Heavy Foods, Light Hearts

Where there are friends, there is food. Where there is food, there are friends.

My special guest that visited this weekend (who I mentioned on Friday) was my BU BFF, Rachel!

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

She made a spontaneous trip down to New York to hang out and have some girl time. Needless to say, I brought her to places with lots of food, and I brought lots of food to her face.

Friday

Remember when I first opened that mega jar of peanut butter that I received from MyProtein? That was July 7th.

DSC_1730

I finished it on July 31st, putting it to rest the right way—overnight oats in a jar (with maybe 3 tablespoons of peanut butter left inside, sorry not sorry).

DSC_1732

Rachel arrived at night, and we enjoyed a Fish Friday meal of cajun flounder, barley, black bean corn salad, and green beans.

DSC_1735

Followed by dessert of ice cream, scones, and a looooong talk on the couch. #deepthoughts

Saturday

Late night chats means late wake up, but not too late to make some banana waffles for breakfast!

DSC_1736

topped with greek yogurt, peanut butter, strawberries, and maple syrup

Rachel and I went to a super posh and ritzy town in Connecticut, where ladies were wearing sundresses and heels, Lululemon was next to Vineyard Vines, and GEOFFREY ZAKARIAN WAS TWO FEET AWAY FROM ME.

*Geoffrey Zakarian in an off-white suit walks towards us*

Me: Oh my gosh, it’s Geoffrey Zakarian!!!

Rachel: What?

*Geoffrey definitely hears me but promptly pretends to see something across the street and walks in that direction with his two posse dudes*

Me: He’s a famous Food Network star. Oh my gosh, what do I do?

Rachel: Alison…it’s okay. He’s walking away.

Me: Wait, he’s getting farther. But I want to take a picture with him. Oh my gosh. He’s so famous.

He looked exactly like this!!!

628x471

Apparently he’s opening a restaurant on the street we were on, so he must have been doing business for that. I was only slightly, extremely bummed that I didn’t have the courage to run across the street to take a selfie with him, but at least I spared myself from being that fan.

Anyway, after coming home and doing some yoga that was a little more intense than expected for both of us, we went to Mass and dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Rachel and I split the gnocchi and veal sorrentino. We were in rich, Italian, tomato, tom-ah-toe, mozzarella heaven.

Later that night we grabbed some delicious ice cream (<— redundant, I know) with Michael. Apple pie ice cream for meeeee.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

We walked, talked, watched old videos of my chipmunk-voice days, and some Iliza Shlesinger comedy before calling it a [very late] night.

Sunday

I woke up past 10 AM, which makes me kinda sad, but hey, it’s a summer weekend.

DSC_1739

cookie dough cereal

We had a slow morning of talking and stretching before going to a local Indian festival for food cultural immersion.

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

we split a baked samosa

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

and then split this tray of yummy, oily, flavorful fun

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

split a mango lassi as well

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

thanks, boo

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

very tempted to jump into the water for a swim on a hot day

Our weekend ended with pork chops and chicken, the movie Chef, time with Daliza, and more girl talk.

DSC_1740

Needless to say, this weekend was filled with lots of rich, heavy foods that made me want to roll into bed right after eating them. But I loved every bite, and most importantly, I loved every moment with my homegirl, Rachel. It was an awesome weekend, and I’m sad that she has to go back to Boston today… Less than a month before we actually move in together for schooooooool.

(Minus the missed opportunity to take a pic with IRON CHEF Geoffrey Zakarian.)

Hope you all have beautiful Monday!

So tell me:

Did you have any yummy rich foods this weekend?

Have you ever spotted a celebrity in public?

Indian or Italian food?

I Tried Counting Calories Again and I Didn’t Like It

I am currently typing this in a lawn chair in front of my house!

sun

The sun finally came out to play this weekend after a rather gloom and doom week. I’m just trying to keep my laptop from overheating and keep myself from spazzing out every time a bug flies past my ear. I’m also (hopefully) getting a nice tan on the front half of my body. #twoshadesofAlison

What’s been shakin’ since I talked to you last?

On Thursday night I took Pop out to dinner for his birthday! He chose a local Italian restaurant, where we ate copious amounts of {delicious} dairy and salt 🙂

Processed with Moldiv

bread and olive oil to start // to share: burrata salad + field greens salad with gorgonzola, bacon, and walnuts // my entree: grilled swai with sautéed spinach and rice pilaf

Dessert was my favorite, as is often the case.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

warm apple tart a la mode with a side of birthday singing

‘Twas a joyful celebration indeed!

Unfortunately, one thing bothered me while eating this fine dinner. For the first time in a long time, I thought about the number of calories I must have eaten during that meal. I didn’t let the the thoughts affect how much I ate, but they definitely made me quite anxious.

I’ve eaten several big dinners in the past year yet never worried about calories. Why was I anxious all of a sudden? I suspect that it was because of the fact that I’m not exercising nearly as much as I was just a few weeks ago, so I feel guilty eating that much, even though the guilt is completely unwarranted.

I keep reminding myself that need to eat a lot right now, and that’s what I’ve been doing. For the most part, I very happily do so! Like on Friday when I met up with my beautiful friend Fiona at the mall. I had a tasty late lunch at my internship, shared some of Fiona’s fries, devoured a cup of Cold Stone ice cream, and then ate dinner at home, despite being kinda full from ice cream.

Processed with Moldiv

I don’t know what the peanut butter supreme Quest bar tastes like, but it’s not peanut butter

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

mint Oreo is my go-to amazingness

Some people like to track their calories when they are recovering from an eating disorder or gaining weight for health reasons (like me!). In all honesty though, I’ve had no interest in counting calories in order to make sure I’m eating enough. I’m trying to eat as much as I can and as densely as I can, but I have no idea how many calories I eat every day.

DSC_1390

overnight oats smoothie: oats, Greek yogurt, milk, cinnamon, chia seeds, peanut butter, frozen banana, greens, topped with lots of trail mix

The reason I don’t want to count calories is pretty simple: I counted calories throughout my eating disorder, which led to restriction.

DSC_1389

night snack: full fat Greek yogurt, berries, cinnamon raisin WB Kitchen cookie, spoonful of pb

Of course, my mindset is in a much healthier place today. This weekend, I figured that I should probably gauge the number of calories I was eating on a given day to make sure I was eating enough. Thus, on Saturday, I counted my calories, keeping in mind that I want anywhere from 2500 to 3000 calories per day.

DSC_1391

Saturday breakfast: big toast with sunflower seed butter, peanut butter, banana + full fat Greek yogurt with berries + almond coconut milk

So I went about my day analyzing the portions and calories I ate after each meal and snack. If I tried to count before eating, I knew I might be tempted to hold back. I didn’t feel anxious throughout the day fortunately. By eating completely freely, I actually ate about 2800 calories— right in the range.

DSC_1395

afternoon snack smoothie: almond coconut milk, half a banana, big spoonful of pb, and Quest strawberries and cream protein powder // and then another spoonful of pb after

It was helpful to know that I’ve been eating enough, and I feel at peace with how much I’m eating, but I still didn’t like counting calories. First of all, it’s time consuming and tedious. Secondly, it reminded me of when I counted calories during my ED, and I feel that if I did it consistently, I might fall into stupid guilt again, just like I did at my dad’s birthday dinner.

My main points: It’s good to have a general idea of how much I’m eating, but I don’t want to overthink it by counting calories. I don’t think I ever want to count calories again if I don’t have to. It works for some people, but I’m not one of those people.

This was Saturday’s dinner, loaded with delicious and {mostly} nutritious calories.

DSC_1397 DSC_1400 DSC_1401

I used this recipe for slow cooker pulled pork, and it was heavenly. We ate it on top of sweet potatoes with a side salad dressed with homemade honey mustard vinaigrette.

It was also one of the easiest things to make ever! The slow cooker is one of those pieces of technology that deserves all the praise it gets. Also, the satisfaction of the pork falling clean off the bone as soon as I took it out of the slow cooker— everyone must experience that satisfaction.

Alrighty. It’s time to grab a snack and then go for a walk before this sunshine goes away.

Hope you all have a beautiful day! Do what works for you, whatever that is.

P.S. I made a vlog with Daliza this weekend. Coming soon to a post near you.

So tell me:

Calorie counting— like it or leave it?

Do you have a slow cooker? Any favorite recipes you like to make with it? 

Meeting Bloggers In Person

Today is the day!

The day I get to meet so many amazing bloggers in the flesh at Blend. That sounds so creepy, but seriously, I’m stoked! But the blogger meetups actually started yesterday when I had lunch with Emily from Beauty in Christ. It was so wonderful!

DSC_1237

We had a great time talking about our life stories, spilling our joy in Christ, and eating delicious food (of course 😉 ). Emily chose Vert Kitchen for lunch, and it was fan.tas.tic. It was one of those cute, organic, green restaurants with plenty of healthy options, but still plenty of flavor.

DSC_1224 DSC_1235

I ordered the turkey sandwich (which included goat cheese, balsamic figs, tomato, and mixed greens) with a side of quinoa salad. Polished that baby OFF.

Somewhere in our conversation, Emily and I talked about how weird we feel before meeting a blogger. We all “know” each other through the internet (I mean, y’all probably know more about me than some of my “real life” friends), but how can you know what a blogger will be like in person?

To be honest, I feel nervous and slightly anxious meeting or talking to bloggers on a more personal level for the first time. Whether it’s texting, FaceTiming, or meeting in person, I always wonder:

a) What will he/she think of me as a person off the blog? In action– in real life.

b) Will he/she be outgoing like he/she is on the blog? 

c) Should I act extra healthy-living-blogger-esque around them?

Answers:

a) What goes on my blog is 100% reflective of my brain, my words, and my daily activities. The only thing I can do is act like myself when I meet a blogger. The worst that could happen is that he or she doesn’t like me in real life and we don’t become real life friends. Not meant to be. Life will float on.

b) Maybe people blog because they don’t like to be outgoing in real life, so they may very well be more contained or shy in person. I completely get that and appreciate that. Some of my shyest friends have the funniest things to say when they write or do decide to speak out in big groups. Blogging is an outlet for thoughts that do not have to be said audibly. That’s the beauty of blogging!

c) As a “healthy living blogger”, I also have a minor (and irrational) anxiety that other bloggers will be extra observant of my fitness, what I eat, or how much I eat. But then I remind myself that the healthy living blogging community is a supportive and nonjudgmental one. You guys see that I don’t always eat healthily or “get after it” in my workouts, so why should I try to tune those things up when meeting bloggers in person? I certainly don’t do that around my real life friends. WE’RE ALL HUMANS.

I had to rant about that, thanks. I’ll finish my rant by saying that meeting with Emily (and Kath + Clare last year) totally canceled out my anxieties. It’s so much fun meeting new friends!

In other news, we went to an all you can eat Italian buffet called Cinzetti’s last night.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Such a thing does exist in Kansas (where we first discovered this phenomenon) and Colorado, evidently. It’s immense and not healthy at all. But it’s yummy comfort food to the max.

I’ll be back sometime soon to tell you all about Blend! I’m sure social media will be stormed by our photos and cute hashtags. If you’re going, I CANNOT WAIT TO MEET YOU!

So tell me:

How do you feel when meeting bloggers in person? Or how would you feel? Do you share similar anxieties at first?

Would you eat at an all you can eat Italian buffet?