Cheers, Dublin

HELLO, AMERICA!

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could not wipe the smile off my face when I saw this

I can hear Frank Sinatra singing, “New York, New York”.

It’s like I never even left this side of the pond. I’ve gone right back to eating sushi, driving, and using toilet paper that comes in roll form.

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I swear I did not ask for this to be taken, but Madre takes as many random photos as I do

No, but seriously, my brain is still processing the fact that I studied abroad in Ireland for the past 3.5 months. It was a whirlwind, a challenge, and a blast. I’ll save the reflections for another post and just focus on the transition from Europe back to America in this post.

My peers and I celebrated what felt like the end of an era during our last days in Dublin. Megan and I were basically obligated to go to one last brunch:

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The Lovely Food Co.1 was the first brunch place we ate at in Dublin, so we chose it as our last brunch destination to bring it full circle. ‘Twas a fabulous decision because this was the best brunch we had in Ireland. She ordered the eggs benedict, and I ordered the eggs royale (same thing except with smoked salmon instead of ham).

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The crusty bread was unconventional, but it totally worked. For brunch dessert, we split an order of their brioche French toast, since that’s what Megan ordered her first time there, and she could not stop thinking about since.

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For good reason!! This little guy was perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Served with cream, berry compote, and classic maple syrup. #dead.

We may or may not have bought two desserts from the bakery to take away.

After walking around city centre to look for books for our plane ride (I ended up buying the fourth HP book because I needed to return the one I had to the library, but I still had 200+ pages left), we had a late farewell lunch with all the students and program directors at Il Corvo Italian restaurant.

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I had the lasagna with a side of veggies and happily finished it all. I also almost cried after one of the program director’s farewell speeches. All good things here!

Later that night, a few of us walked back to city centre for some gelato and store-perusing.

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“Florence cream” flavor from Gelato di Natura (it tasted like saffron!)

Megan and I also watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them while eating our sneaked-in dinners in the back of the theatre.

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sandwiches and salads — your typical theatre fare 

p.s. the movie was great! a little confusing, but fantastic nevertheless. Eddie Redmayne *swoon*

And then, of course, we had to join the rest of our friends for one last night out on the town!

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baby Guinness shots (the first and last shot I will have ever had in Ireland…until next time!)

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I wish I could say I was cool and went pub-hopping that night, but I went home after the first bar and called it a night.

Saturday morning called for a quick workout and the last scramble to pack our whole lives into our suitcases (“It’s TWO POUNDS over 50!!!”). Eventually, we made it through the airport and onto the plane. My last meal in Ireland was this sandwich with veggies, relish, and an absurdly thick slice of cheese.

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Followed by a pretty tasty airplane dinner a few hours later. They served us turkey and stuffing meals with pasta and veggies, soda bread and Kerrygold butter (♥︎), and raspberry white chocolate mousse. What luxury!

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“milk in a stick”

Purchasing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the plane ride was one of the wiser decisions I’ve made in my life. It occupied me for the almost the whole 7 hours! (It also blew my MIND.) I was also very surprised that I never napped or even got up to pee during the entire flight.

When we arrived in New York, my family greeted me at the airport, and I almost cried again. I was so happy to see them. Also, one of the first things my brother told me after I hugged him was that they bought me Lloyd’s carrot cake. I appreciate how well they know me.

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Even though it was past midnight Dublin time, it was only 7:30 pm when I met up with them and they hadn’t eaten dinner yet. By then, I was pretty hungry for a midnight snack/dinner too, so they took me to eat some delicious sushi, since I had not eaten any in Europe (I had trust issues).

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Also, Madre bought me a portable massage table for Christmas (upon my request, since I’ve been learning how to give good massages in Dublin), so Pop broke it in for me as I gave him a massage that night. The gift that keeps on giving, I say!

Regarding jetlag, I’m actually pretty adjusted already! I persevered and stayed up until 11:30pm NY time (4:30am Dublin time) and woke up at 9 am yesterday.

I was feeling ready to move and groove in the morning, but I had limited time before Mass, so I did 100 burpees for time. I tied my previous PR (6:12), but not without my heart feeling like it would explode. Holy smokes, I had not done a “sprint” like that in a while.

This dinner last night was nothing out of the ordinary except that I cooked the eggs on a gas stove (instead of electric like in our Dublin dorms, which I didn’t realize until now takes 10x longer to heat up) and that I topped it with SRIRACHA. Oh, how I missed thee.

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Followed by cake for dayyyyyyz.

Today I’m headed up to a very special city for a couple days 🙂 More to come!

I have so much to say and reflect upon in regards to my study abroad experience in Ireland, but for now, I’ll say:

Sláinte, Baile Átha Cliath (Cheers, Dublin)!

So tell me:

What did you do this weekend?

What is the best airport/airline food you’ve ever eaten?

Are there any things about coming home that you didn’t even realize you missed during an extended vacation/trip?

Sharing Food and Sharing Life in NYC

I am wearing fuchsia yoga pants right now and I feel fabulous.

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trying not to pull my tight hamstrings

I decided to attend ballet class at my old dance school tonight last night, but I don’t think I fit into any of my leotards and tights anymore. Ergo, these bright and fun capris! I never wear this color, but I’m a fan.

(Thanks for buying them for me, Madre ♥︎)

These past couple of days I have been meeting up with a few friends to share food and share life. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in college, it’s how to be a better listener and sharer. Last year, I developed a deeper and much more sincere interest in other people’s lives (especially people I don’t know that well).

I’ve also come to believe more that my own life experiences are worth sharing in conversation. I mean, I share my life to the whole world on this blog, but no one has to read it if he or she doesn’t want to. In real time conversation, however, I used to be afraid to talk about my life because I didn’t think it was interesting or that the other person wouldn’t care. Sometimes that’s true, but you never know which little stories could turn into great conversations.  It sparks human connection. I’ve said it before: Your story matters and it’s beautiful!

WHAT-I-ATE-WEDNESDAY-NEW-BUTTON-PEAS-AND-CRAYONS

Anyway, let’s talk about Monday. It started off with breakfast, an 8 minute ab workout, and a train ride to Grand Central.

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whipped banana oatmeal: 1/2 c. oats, half banana, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, chia seeds, an egg, and peanut butter

I was on my way to see my girl Colby, who was one of my cabin-mates at Blend Retreat last year! We met up at Grand Central before walking to The Picnic Basket for some bomb-dig sandwiches.

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French Goat Cheese – chicken, sundried tomato pesto, grilled zucchini, figs, tomatoes and fresh greens on multigrain

This thing was massive and so tasty. I ate one half and saved the other half for later (ended up being Pop’s dinner on the train ride home!). Then it was time for the 50+ block walk to get the beloved…

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Lloyd’s carrot cake! Remember when Ben and I detoured to get this over Thanksgiving break? Colby saw my snapchat at the time and told me she wanted in on it.

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I wasn’t mad about it.

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does she love me or the carrot cake?

We housed our hefty slices of carrot cake WITH raisins and walnuts (major key) while our fingers froze off. FUNNY STORY: When we were walking back, we stopped at a Barnes and Noble to use the restroom, and my fingers were so cold that I couldn’t re-button my jeans. I am telling you, I could. not. do it. My fingers were deprived of the energy to do any sort of fine motor movements. Luckily, I was wearing a big ol’ belt, so I just buckled that over the button and called it a solution.

Moving on.

We walked only 20-ish blocks back before we decided to take the subway to Grand Central where Colby and I parted ways. It was such a privilege to spend the day with this girl! She is so genuine and kind, and I admire her balanced outlook on food and fitness.

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From there, I had two hours to kill before dinner with my lovely friend, Christine. After half an hour of catching up with some things on my phone, I explored Grand Central.

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casual squash tournament of champions going down

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Grand Central Apple Store

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Grand Central Market

You literally have everything you need there.

My phone was running low on battery, so I walked to a Duane Reade pharmacy and stood awkwardly behind a wall of paper towels and nail polish to charge my phone at an outlet. Then it was time for dinner at Lan Larb with Christine!

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spicy basil pork with rice

I thought I was still full from carrot cake until I finished this whole thing. I guess that’s what walking over 23,000 steps does to ya!

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p.s. I never check this app, but I was interested on Monday since we walked so much!

It was so fun catching up with Christine and having some great girl talk. She is such a sweetheart (with substantial sass!).

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I need lessons from Christine on how to pose in photos

Bonus: Yesterday I met up with an old friend from high school for lunch! She was kind enough to reach out to me so we could catch up.

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tuna cucumber and eel avocado roll (my faves!)

And that, my friends, is how to share food and share life. 

Just kidding, do it however you like. This was all a grand time though. I am so grateful for good people and nourishment.

So tell me:

Are you an open book, closed book, or somewhere in between when it comes to sharing life stories in conversation? I’m still somewhere in between, but I’m more of an open book than before! Also depends on the person/context obviously. Fun fact: I used to be more introverted, but according to my most recent Myers-Briggs test, I’m an extravert!

Have your fingers ever been SO cold that you literally couldn’t move them?

What is the best thing you ate Monday/yesterday? The carrot cake for me. Duh.

The brightest color of clothing you own!

I’m Okay With That {Take 2}

IT’S CRUNCH TIME.

Crunchy roasted corn kernels, that is.

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oh my goodness someone teach me how to roast giant corn kernels like this

No but seriously, it’s crunch time because there are only two more weeks of class left before finals. What what what. However, the rest of my Thanksgiving weekend went swimmingly— I procrastinated school work with family and friend time, and I’m okay with that.

There are many other things that happened over Thanksgiving break that could have frustrated me (and would have frustrated or upset me in the past), but I realized that I’m okay with some spontaneous, surprising, and sub-par moments in my life. So here is take two of “I’m okay with that.”

Ben and I were on a mission to find the best carrot cake in New York City, so we stopped by Lloyd’s Carrot Cake (self-proclaimed best carrot cake in NYC) for a couple slices.

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no cake in the case but look in the back— CAKE EVERYWHERE

We bought them on our way to our family dinner and ate a bite while the cake was still fresh and warm. We had dessert before dinner, and I’m okay with that. Especially since this carrot cake blew my socks off! Dense, just enough frosting, luscious, and not dry at all (I would say the “m” word, but so many people don’t like that word, so you’re welcome).

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with nuts and raisins is the only way to go

After accomplishing our carrot cake mission, we ate at a restaurant called Inti (thanks to Groupon, haha). Unfortunately, the ceviche was overly salty, and my shrimp entree was unexpectedly drenched in a heavy cream sauce, but I’m okay with that. The food was tasty and it was wonderful to be sharing a meal with my family. Salt and cream don’t need to ruin that. (Also, the roasted corn kernels above were an amazing amuse bouche.)

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We walked for a little bit to find a place called Bibble & Sip, which is a cute coffee shop that my mom suggested because she wanted green tea latte art. (They didn’t do a bear like she wanted, but whatcha gonna do?)

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I shared some with her and loved how frothy and creamy it was. I consumed more cream from this latte after my creamy dinner (and then more cake when we got back to the car), and I’m okay with that. I ate and drank what I wanted, and ended the night feeling very satisfied.

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I learned that I can no longer do a single pull-up, whereas in the summer, I could do up to three full pull-ups. It was humbling attempting to do them again, but I’m okay with that because I’ve been working on other skills like handstands and pushups in college, and I know I’ve gained weight for the better.

I also learned that I’m not that much lighter than my older brother (probably why I can’t do a pull-up anymore!). I’m okay with that, because weight is literally just a number. I feel energetic and strong, so as far as I’m concerned, this weight is working well for me.

I spent Saturday night watching Maze Runner and having deep chat with my friends when I could have been doing work or yoga or laundry. I’m okay with that because quality time with friends is not a waste in my eyes (and I had a good gauge of the work I still needed to do).

I RAN yesterday.

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I ran 5K at 9:44 pace, which is not fast at all, but I’m okay with that because I RAN and it was beautiful outside and I RAN. For the first time in, like, eight months!? I didn’t hate it.

I didn’t really catch up on sleep over Thanksgiving break, but I’m okay with that. I got enough, and I did not want to let my time with family and friends slip away!

I’ve eaten a lot of sugar in the past week, but I’m okay with that because apple pie a la mode, pomegranate seeds, bananas, Lloyd’s carrot cake, and Arman’s no bake balls are just too good.


It feels nice to be okay with things. A little less stress, ya know?

I’m not saying that these things don’t bother me at all (if they didn’t bother me even a minuscule amount, I probably would not write about them in the first place), but I am saying that these things do not need to affect me.

Alrighty. Happy Monday and Happy Advent, friends! Go listen to some beautiful music that makes you smile or happy cry.

So tell me:

What is your favorite kind of cake?

What is one thing you used to be able to do that you cannot do anymore?

What is one thing you can do now that you could not do before?