Dear Alison… {A Look Back at 2015}

The last three days of 2015 have been going out with a bang, I’d say!

Some good food for the body…

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Some good food for the soul…

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dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house

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banana peach green tea slush in a BOWL (they know what’s right)

Some more Christmas cheer…

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my lovely family caroling for senior citizens

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talented gingerbread house designers

Some “big kid” fun in blizzard weather…

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smiling through the pain of freezing rain blowing into our faces

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delicious chicken taco because I was hangry waiting for ramen

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“sakepolitan” (alcoholic cranberry lime juice, essentially)

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ramen that hit. the. spot.

And lots of baby cuddling…

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photo creds to my uncle!

We also did yoga and bouldering yesterday! I felt like I was in Boulder, CO with all their fit, hip, and healthy citizens. It was a fun day!


Since today is the last day of 2015, I feel obliged to reflect on 2015 with my second annual letter-to-self. So without further ado, here are month-by-month letters to Alison (myself), highlighting the moments that made this year a beautiful and transformative one.
dear alison

Dear January Alison,

Well weren’t you just living it up in Florida!? Disney World, air boat rides, that time you almost ran into an alligator in the wild, your first spa day… What a way to kick off your year!

I forgot that you tried starting a budget spreadsheet. Haha. I also forgot that you posted a couple workouts and you did lots of burpees. You were a maniac with burpees.

You started your second semester of freshman year, but winter storm Juno shaved off what felt like half of your class time. Not that you were complaining.

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Dear February Alison,

Second semester kicked your bootay, despite the snow days you had every Monday. I’m proud of you for getting through anatomy, organic chemistry, linguistics, and a tedious writing class all in one go.

You also became a certified tour guide for Boston University, woohoo! I know you were stressed about remembering all the information, but you pulled through.

Lent started and you gave up music. THAT WAS HARD. But spring retreat with the Catholic Center totally recharged you and made you remember what truly matters.

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Dear March Alison,

You posted about your eating disorder struggles for NEDA week. That was heavy, but it was good for you to reflect on your progress and hopefully good for others who have similar struggles.

Spring break was a BLAST! You hung out with your BFF, Daliza, and I think this is when you realized that you have a college BFF too (Rachel!). Of course, y’all bonded over food. BIG TIME.

You joined intramural softball even though you hate baseball/softball. You weren’t good at softball and you’re still not good, but I hope you learned to try new things anyway.

You cried for the first time over schoolwork, but are you really in college if that doesn’t happen?

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Dear April Alison,

Wait whoa, this is your last month of freshman year already. You celebrated your first Easter away from home with some beautiful people.

First Boston Marathon experience! Watching it at least. Get pumped for another year of screaming your lungs out and getting inspired by the participants.

You learned even further that there’s more to life than food and fitness. I’m glad you expressed this.

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Dear May Alison,

Finished with freshman year, what whaaaat.

You went to Colorado (hiking was beautiful, but work on that lung capacity, eh?) and Blend Retreat, which was like a dream to you. Wasn’t it so cool to meet bloggers like Emily, Amanda, and Tina!? *starstruck*

Back at home, you started your physical therapy internship, which turned out to be an amazing experience.

Last but not least, you made one of the best decisions of the year in May— to take it easy with exercise and up the calorie intake.

Oh, you turned 19, which means you’re legal drinking age in Canada 🙂

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Dear June Alison,

Look atchu with your new short hair! I dig it, even if other people don’t.

Vlogs with Daliza are always a fun idea.

Don’t forget that stretching, mobility and progressions are crucial in terms of physical fitness. Be a good physical therapist.

You met Arman AND you FaceTimed Julia. Still recovering from the fan-girling.

You also met up with college friends in the city! So cute, cool, and college.

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Dear July Alison,

Fourth of July in Boston was the best weekend ever. Tori Kelly live in concert is even better than recorded. How?

You talked about 99.9% recovery and the idea that 100% recovery might never be attainable, but to be honest, I think you’re gonna have to do a followup on that post…

Oh yeah! You had jury duty! That was a good experience. But it’s nice that you don’t get called back for another few years.

The barefoot walk for sex trafficking awareness is something you should do every year.

Keep working on becoming a better grownup, but hey, keep being extraordinarily ordinary.

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Dear August Alison,

Rachel visited New York again! Fun times. Except when Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian ignored you. At least he retweeted you.

You made a lot of quick trips this month. First, you spent under 24 hours in Kansas City after a whole day of traveling there. The things we do for Midwestern hospitality. 😉 But seriously, St. Louis was lovely, especially since your baby cousin got baptized!

You and Pop also made a “quick” drive up to Canada for a few days, and you did cool things like bouldering and knife throwing.

Portland and Seattle are cool places. I think you need to go back there soon.

Two year blog anniversary, high five! Keep it up. I think you like this whole blogging thing.

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Dear September Alison,

You’re back at BU and loving it. So good to see your best friends again! Sophomore year, baby.

Also, don’t forget to own it. Yeah, you look stupid sometimes, but that’s what makes people/life not boring.

Kicking off a food bucket list with Rachel, I see. Typical you.

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Dear October Alison, 

Oof, you’re getting busy. But with really good things, like fall retreat.

Apple picking is still one of your favorite fall activities!

Also, first couples Halloween costume…with Rachel, haha! PB&J because you guys are so freaking predictable.

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Dear November Alison,

You finally asked Rachel to do a vlog with you! You guys also finished a whole tray of brussels sprouts. Please calm down.

There were a lot of emotions happening, especially with the terrorist attacks surfacing to the news. They really brought you back down to earth.

Thanksgiving was relaxing and wonderful in every way. Please always be this grateful.

Also, run. Even if you’re slow, just run if you feel like it, because you don’t hate it. I repeat: You don’t hate it.

OMG you also got something really exciting!!! Praise God.

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Dear December Alison,

Apparently, you have a “look of wellbeing.” I can tell you that it’s largely because of the people around you.

And just like that, half of sophomore year is done and gone.

Which brings me to this moment. Alison, never take what you have for granted and always trust in the Lord. Have no fear, because He has a good plan. I think this is the overarching theme of everything you’ve learned this year. Take this invaluable lesson and grow in it in 2016.

Keep on swimming.

-Alison on December 31, 2015


 

So tell me:

What would you tell yourself as you reflect on 2015?

Do you have any specific goals for 2016? Nothing specific for me. I’m not really a big New Year’s resolution person. I kinda just try to be better every day… #lame.

What are you doing for New Year’s? Hanging out with family here at my cousin’s house!

 

Dear Alison… {A Look Back at 2014}

‘Tis the last day of the two-thousand-fourteenth year of our Lord. Whoa whoa.

I was still a mime yesterday since my voice was nonexistent, and I felt slightly worse than I did on Monday, which was odd and unfortunate. A nosebleed both after breakfast and after dinner threw me off a lil’ bit. All is well though. I slept in, ate a delicious breakfast (that I could indeed taste!), and accomplished a lot!

Breakfast was a few baby slices of whole grain toast with sunflower seed butter and banana slices + two scrambled eggs with mixed greens.

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After nursing my nose, I chugged water and made some hot honey-lemon-mint water. I added lemon zest in addition to lemon juice, which created a beautiful aroma.

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I joined mom for a trip to Home Depot and Walgreens to pick up some items for the house, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon snacking rather than having a real lunch, since I ate breakfast at almost noon. But in addition to snacking all afternoon, I studied my Boston University tour guide notes and did an ab workout and stretching for some moves.

Dinner came later at 8pm involving simple green foods— avocado toast and salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Simplicity did the trick for my sick funk.

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Followed up by somethin’ sweet!

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Banana with peanut butter and unsweetened shredded coconut— heck yes. To be honest, I spent a little time trying to maneuver the banana so that it looked…presentable for the photo. Bananas are forever awkward. Just like me. You are what you eat!

dear alison

And nowww for the main event!

I’ve been loving reading other bloggers’ 2014 recaps and seeing friends and family post their reflections on social media. Of course, I want to join the end of the year party, so I’ve compiled twelve mini letters to myself for each month of the year. Basically, I’m going to tell myself how silly I was. And also how much I’ve grown as a person I guess. 😉

Thank YOU all for your incredible support through this little blog of mine. With so many changes happening this year, I wasn’t sure which path the blog would take, but I couldn’t be happier and more thankful for where it is right now. It’s all because of your love, encouragement, and conversation. Hugs, nut butter, and prayers for you all. ♥

Dear January Alison,

Congratulations on some college acceptances (Binghamton University, University of Maryland, University of Virginia)! Expanding your choices, uh oh. We all know you’re super decisive! Ha.

Also, congratulations on your first workout video! Except not really, because you can’t even see your legs at some parts of the video, and it’s a leg workout vlog. Quality work, kid.

But you did realize something important— that you weren’t giving your body as much rest as it needed. Thank you for that.

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Dear February Alison,

I’m laughing out loud because of this gem of a vlog (your first one ever!). You’re such a loner.

You seem to like writing letters to people, because you wrote one to your future husband, who may not even exist. But keep on waiting, you!

Watching the Olympics was fun, eh? Mom’s frightening enthusiasm for the USA vs. Canada hockey game is a foreshadowing of the hockey excitement that you will experience in college…you just don’t know it yet.

You shared your eating disorder struggles for National Eating Disorder Awareness week. People appreciated that, and so did you.

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Dear March Alison,

You got asked to prom! You almost missed the prom-posal because you’re clueless, but you’re a lucky girl to have been asked by a great friend in such a cool way!

Fortunately and unfortunately, you danced in your very last Benefit Concert with Company. It was a crazy week, but the memories are cherished.

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Dear April Alison,

College visits, hay hayyyy. You fell hard for University of Maryland and didn’t care too much about University of Virginia (but you did meet two of your favorite bloggers, Kath and Clare, while in Charlottesville eee!!!). At one point, you were set on becoming a Maryland Terp.

But then the kicker came, because there’s always a kicker. Boston University stole your heart and ran away with it. The end.

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Dear May Alison,

You’re legal now! Now you look like you’re 13 years old instead of 12!

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Dear June Alison, 

Wow, a LOT happened this month…

You guest starred on The Big Man’s World, no way! He probably just bribing you for mom’s home cooking. (Jokes, you da bomb, Arman.)

Second vlog is also in the books, look at you! Slightly less awkward than the first vlog, but you still talk too much.

One of your most doofus moments of the year happened when you hurt yourself doing burpees. You will still have the scar 6+ months later.

Aww, you made friends and met your roommate at college orientation! You’re tired of meeting new people, I know, but the best is yet to come.

Prom! Your hair looks good, stop crying. Also, new PR for number of hours awake *fist bump*.

You did it! You finished high school and you even managed to become valedictorian. Of course you made your speech about social media. You can’t get away, can you?

I’m glad you’re okay with not living a 100% clean, healthy, intensely active lifestyle, because that ain’t livin’, girl!

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Dear July Alison,

You recognized a new kind of discipline— the discipline of not exercising. Never thought you’d think that, huh?

You had probably the best vacation ever to Florida with your best friend, Daliza. Your family has practically adopted her. You guys did yoga outside, went to the beach and the farmers market, went to Disney World, went to Harry Potter World, saw Us the Duo in concert (only two days after you discovered them), and much more.

You also made this charming favorites vlog with Daliza, which you two thought was the funniest thing to ever exist. But no one else did. Also, let Daliza do your editing from now on.

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Dear August Alison,

Because you took a break from exercising last month, you’ve changed the way you see yourself for the better. Kudos!

And then you hurt yourself doing yoga. Minus one for you. But then you did your first tripod headstand, so I guess you gain that point back.

Never underestimate the power of house renovations. That ish is a serious workout.

The moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived! Goodbye, NY and hello, Boston!

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Dear September Alison,

The First Year Student Outreach Program at Boston University was a blast for you! Exhausting, but an absolute blast.

Wanna know what else is exhausting but an absolute blast? The dining halls at BU. I mean…classes and activities and all that jazz.

Your favorite memory of the semester was the fall retreat with the BU Catholic center this month. That’s a little taste of Heaven for ya.

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Dear October Alison, 

It’s natural to compare yourself to others, but you’ve realized that you’re not the girl next to you. You’re you, and that’s a wonderful thing. True balance in eats and exercise have arrived as a result of this mindset.

Hey, you finally went apple picking! Welcome to the northeast! Savor those apples because dining hall apples will make you sad forever after you’ve eaten fresh ones off the tree.

You and your friends have come up with perhaps your best Halloween costume to date. Grandma Twerk. I miss the bubble butt.

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Dear November Alison,

Stay sharp, because someone special is going to visit you! Oh, too late, you’re clueless. But Daliza visited you in Boston! Stop crying in the middle of the sidewalk, you’re in the way of busy students.

You ran the farthest you’ve ever run! 5 miles. Just admire that distance, because it won’t happen again in 2014. Maybe 2015. At least you’ve given running a shot!

Take the turkey out sooner for Thanksgiving next time.

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Dear December Alison,

First semester is over, can you believe it? You’ve learned a great deal.

You also loved a run? I barely recognize you anymore.

And now, here you are in Florida without a voice, typing this post…oh, hi. Me. Your number one lesson that you’ve learned this year was to just ride the waves (figuratively). Your word for the year was “now,” and I think you’ve developed upon that. You learned to let go of situations that you cannot handle, and you’ve made the conscious decision to not pity yourself yet still be willing to ask for help. In doing so, you’ve let yourself learn many little lessons, and you’ve found greater contentment. I’d say 2014 was transformative.

Keep on swimming,

Alison on December 31st, 2014.

Hope you all have a safe, fun, and fabulous New Years!

So tell me:

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in 2014?

Three of your favorite memories from this year.

What are you doing for New Years Eve?

We’ll hopefully be watching Disney fireworks from afar, making s’mores, and drinking apple bubbly!