Life + Death

Moves. Sunday’s workout killed me. A pistol squat burpee ladder for the lower body and the cardiovascular system:

  • 10 pistol squats each leg
  • 10 burpees
  • 9 pistols each leg
  • 9 burpees
  • ….all the way down to 1 pistol squat each leg, 1 burpee

I didn’t do anything on Monday due to time constraints. On Tuesday after work though, I needed to move because I was going MAD. I’ve gotten better at “tolerating” lack of movement (whereas in the past I would need to get up ever 10 minutes to walk or squat or something), but sometimes after a long day ya girl just feels like she’s about to implode. So a 9pm trip to the gym for a 45-minute assault bike workout helped immensely. It helped that I was off work the next day too.

Yesterday I did an upper body workout involving:

  • 4 sets of pull-ups to failure (unassisted and assisted)
  • 3×10 dumbbell clean and press // 3×16 stability ball scorpions
  • 3×10-14 TRX rows // 3×10 TRX pike pushups
  • 2 sets of dips to failure
  • 3×35 double unders

Life. This past weekend I attended the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

My religious views are not a secret if you’ve been reading for a while or know me, and they inevitably and necessarily affect my political views as well. Politics aside though (I h a t e talking about politics), what I’ve reflected on personally this year during and after the march is that my chance to be pro-life is at every moment. On the one hand, to speak up for those who are the most vulnerable (e.g., the unborn, immigrants, victims of sex trafficking, people without homes, people who are non-verbal, to name a few) is a priority in the pro-life movement.

However, I do not think that anyone can be pro-life without putting in the physical, emotional, and spiritual work to love the most vulnerable people they encounter in their day-to-day. That may look different for every person depending on your job, geographic location, and circumstance in life. In essence though, my hope for every person at the March for Life, including myself, was that they were “walking the walk,” not just at the March for life (as important as that is) but for the person in front of them today.

Death. Rest in peace, Kobe Bryant, Gigi, and all others killed on the helicopter. BU’s chaplain, Fr. Barnes, had some beautiful words to say in light of the tragedy.

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“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” John 6:51 . RIP Kobe & Gianna Bryant. 🙏🏼 May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. . Kobe blessed and inspired so many people throughout his short life, on and off the court. The most loving thing you could possibly do in remembrance of him right now, is to continue to pray for the repose of his and Gianna’s soul (his daughter), and to continue lifting up in prayer, his wife and three girls who he leaves behind. . I’ve been weighed down by this terrible news all day. I think what got to me the most is thinking about his family. I have a wife and 4 kids... I can’t imagine what they’re experiencing right now. I also know that the truth is death will come for all of us some day. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. . So this tragic end to Kobe’s life is a blunt reminder for all of us to love God, family, and neighbor with that “mamba mentality” so that when it comes time for us to leave this life, we will be ready to meet God and give an account of our lives. Nothing is more important to prepare for than that moment. May he hear, and may we hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” Matt. 25:21 . #mementomori #ripkobe #ripgigi

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Meatballs. I bought and froze a pack of 80/20 (#FatIsPhat) ground beef the other week and put it to good use with this NYT meatball recipe that is superbly easy to execute. I was baking banana bread at the same time, so I decided to pan fry the meatballs instead, and that was a solid move.

Lunar New Year. Celebrated with lots of dim sum on Saturday with the fam and then hot pot with John and friends! It’s the year of the rat, and I was born in the year of the rat. Apparently in Chinese culture, that’s bad luck, but in Vietnamese culture, it’s good luck if it’s your year. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Italian cooking music. It’s a playlist on Spotify that my friend Ben is playing currently, and I am loving it. So sweet and chill. My dentist last week was also playing a tango playlist on Pandora, and that was also something fun to which I could see myself cooking/working.

When You’re Feeling Off + Life Lately

It’s finally warm!

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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.

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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”!

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Christina texted me the night before:

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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.

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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.

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

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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:

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breaded fish with seasoned rice and green beans

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empanadas on Latin night + salad

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

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

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

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classics with a side of anatomy

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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.

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

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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!

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this focaccia disappeared before the event started

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my attempt at cacio e pepe

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‘Twas such a fun night!!

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

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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!

 

Day in the Life of a Second Semester Sophomore

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A Tuesday in the life of a second semester college sophomore…

8:10 AM // First alarm goes off. Shut it.

8:15 AM // Second alarm goes off. Snooze.

8:25 AM // Third alarm goes off. Roll out of bed. {Should not have spent useless minutes scrolling Insta so late the night before.Bathroom, brush teeth, put in contacts, etc.

8:35 AM // Morning prayer.

8:40 AM // Change into athletic clothes, just for the morning while I’m still studying (I try to wear real pants as little as possible).

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8:50 AM // Head across the street to the dining hall for breakfast! Work on my nutrition project while eating.

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hard boiled egg (with sriracha) + whole wheat toast with pb and banana + frozen blueberries

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9:40 AM // Go back to my dorm building and read biomechanics in the study room.

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10:20 AM // Head back up to my room for some foam rolling and a 30-minute yoga video.

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11:00 AM // Change into real people clothes, tweeze my brows, and put on makeup.

11:20 AM // Film this week’s “Five Minute Friday’s” vlog and re-watch it. It’s over five minutes, dang it.

11:35 AM // Leave the room and walk to another dining hall for lunch with Rachel and Kelsey!

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salad with beets, peppers, and some sort of marinated potatoes + grilled chicken with eggplant relish, sautéed collards, and couscous

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plus an orange!

12:30 PM // Nutrition lecture. We learn about the basics of digestion, which isn’t the most exciting, but the professor is still awesome.

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1:20 PM // Get out of lecture early! Walk outside to the river for some fresh air since I have 30 minutes to kill before my next class. Re-film my vlog to see if I can get it under 5 minutes (spoiler: didn’t succeed).

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THIS WEATHER!!!

2:00 PM // Behavioral biology of women lecture. Such a fascinating course! Eat a snack before the lecture starts.

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half pb sandwich packed into napkins during lunch #resources

3:30 PM // Walk to the Catholic Center for a meeting.

4:10 PM // Send some messages to people and study exercise physiology (gotta keep on top of that) in the CC study room.

5:00 PM // Attend daily Mass in the upstairs chapel.

5:40 PM // Descend into the basement for the beloved free Tuesday pasta dinner! Have a grand ol’ time catching up with friends.

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6:45 PM // Start setting up for our weekly “Catholics on Campus” talk.

7:00 PM // Kick off the talk. Last night, one of the most hilarious nuns I’ve ever met came to talk to us about Catholic Church history. She transformed a history lesson into something that had my abs and cheek muscles hurtin’!

8:15 PM // Help clean up after the talk and walk back to my dorm. Eat a peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookie (compliments of my Aunt Sharon from Christmas!).

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desperately need to do something about my nails/cuticles

8:45 PM // Shower, make appointments, write out my to-do list for Wednesday, brush teeth, chat with suite mates for a bit.

9:50 PM // Go up to the study room to take my online exercise physiology quiz.

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10:20 PM // Finish the (easy) quiz and curse myself out for getting one question wrong because the directions said “place in order from low to high glycemic load” and I put them in order from high to low. I deserved that.

10:30 PM // Start typing this blog post!

11:20 PM // Finish up the post, head back to my room, pray.

11:45 PM // Hit the hay. Feeling ever so slightly hungry, but I already brushed my teeth and I’m lazy. I DO THIS EVERY NIGHT UGH (9/10 times I just eat and brush again).


Every day is so different, but this is the gist of life right now. Some days I’m ultra productive, and other days I let myself get a little too distracted with friends/social media. Some days, it’s a nice balance of both. I like to think it’s “mental health”.

I’m having fun though! I’m feeling more comfortable with tackling the work in each of my courses, and I’ve been blessed to encounter so many people from whom I can draw inspiration and motivation. Including you guys!!

Some new Tori Kelly therapy for you all today:

Hope you all have a lovely Wednesday!

So tell me:

Do you have on and off days in terms of productivity?

What was the best thing you ate yesterday? The chicken with eggplant relish and couscous was pretty darn delicious!

A silly mistake you’ve recently made. (← for my own selfish, empathy-seeking purposes. 😀 ♥︎)

Overcoming My Fear of Being a Couch Potato

I just realized that the past three photos on my Instagram all include peanut butter, banana, and carbs.

Well, anyone who goes to my profile will immediately know the top three foods that sustain me. Truly, there is rarely a breakfast of mine that does not include all three of those things: peanut butter, banana, and carbs.

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Friday morning breakfast: Greek yogurt with cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds, banana, berry banana muffin, and peanut butter

You know how carrots + onions + celery = mirepoix, and celery + onions + bell peppers = “The Holy Trinity” in Cajun cooking? Well I hereby proclaim that peanut butter + banana + carbs = The Breakfast Trifecta.

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Saturday morning breakfast: mango banana overnight oats

I’ve been watching the CrossFit Games this weekend, and I have nothing to say but “WOW”. I could actually say “ouch” because I’d probably be out of commission for a week (or dead) after just one of the thirteen grueling events those athletes completed.

While I was watching the fittest people on Earth doing their thing, I was eating dessert and being a couch potato.

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Friday night’s sweet treat was Cookie and Kate’s vegan banana nut scones that I un-veganized with 2% milk, butter and honey. I think I added too much milk, resulting in more of a cookie-cake texture, but they were still fantastic topped with peanut butter and almost-burnt pecans(<— SO TASTY.)

Back to this whole couch potato situation. Now, I still generally do not like sitting for long periods of time because my butt starts hurting or I get very antsy.

That being said, up until very recently, I would almost never let myself just veg out on the couch for a night, even if I really wanted to just kick my feet up and relax. I would try to get up and do some squats, push-ups, burpees— all to “stay active.” No matter how much activity and exercise I had done during the day, I just forced myself to keep moving. That’s what healthy people do, right?

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There was definitely an underlying, insanely irrational fear that being horizontal on the couch for a couple hours would somehow make all my food turn into fat or that I would get out of shape.

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Crazy stuff happens in my brain sometimes.

(All the time.)

Seriously though, literally giving my body REST— not just active rest— has done me more good than making sure I’m moving and grooving at all times. I have overcome my fear of being a couch potato.

Moving on to dessert numero dos. Saturday night’s CrossFit Games grub of choice was vanilla ice cream with mangoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and toasted pecans.

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New favorite thing!!! This combination blew me away.

I also tried some of this Righteously Raw dark chocolate that I won from Jessie’s birthday giveaway.

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I ate that little piece on the top right. I’m sure dark chocolate lovers would very much enjoy Righteously Raw chocolate, but speaking as someone who doesn’t like chocolate that much in the first place… EW.

How do people like dark chocolate??? It’s like chocolate that you would give to someone for April Fools’ Day. “Jokes on you! It’s dark chocolate, not tasty milk chocolate!”

I guess you could say it was not smart of me to enter a giveaway for dark chocolate, but I thought I’d give it a try. Ya never know if you might like something you thought you hated, but this time, I still hated it. Don’t worry though, I’ll be sharing these!

Okay, I’ll just finish up this long post with some other scenes from the weekend.

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grilled pesto chicken for Saturday night dinner

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Amanda’s chunky monkey Greek yogurt pancakes for Sunday morning//HOLY MOLY DELICIOUS

Dad and I went to (yet another) local Italian festival yesterday, but this one had even more food and fun!

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cups of mini meatballs // Dad’s cacciatore meatballs and my caprese meatballs

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sun gear: sunglasses + cowboy hat

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pistachio and hazelnut gelato

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the best batch of strawberries we’ve ever bought

Food photo dump complete.

Hope that you all had a fabulous weekend and you have a kick-butt week ahead! But don’t forget to kick your feet up every once in a while.

So tell me:

Are you okay with being a couch potato sometimes?

Which three foods do you always eat together? Bread, avocado, and eggs is the Lunch Trifecta.

What is the best thing you ate this weekend?

Lonely Girl Thoughts

Thinking-Out-Loud

with the amazing Amanda ♥ 

1) I didn’t make anything red, white, and blue on Fourth of July in Boston, so I made this blueberry strawberry banana bread in muffin form a few days late to celebrate…

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…except I didn’t make them to be patriotic at all, I just had all the ingredients and I wanted muffins.

2) My service as a juror is finally finished (for the next 4-6 years at least)! It lasted three days. I can tell you now that the case was pretty minor: a girl and her mother sued the girl’s middle school for employee negligence, which they claimed caused the girl to get injured in gym class. It happened almost four years ago.

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3) Although the process was long, slow, and not the most exciting thing in the world, I still walked out with a smile on my face because it was such an interesting process. I literally kept saying to myself, “This is so cool.”

(P.S. Solely based on the evidence provided, the jury’s verdict was in favor of the plaintiff—  the girl.)

4) Speaking of injustices, I was assaulted by a fly on Tuesday night. I was about to dry my hair after my shower when I heard bzzzzzzzzz. 

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I ran away and turned off the light in the bathroom in an attempt to get it to follow the light into the hallway. It did indeed fly out, but then it flew super close to my ear again and I fell to the floor to avoid it. Yes, ladies and gents, the fly knocked me down.

6) My friend told me that I’m at least twice the size of the fly, so I can take it. I replied that I’m also at least twice the size of HIV, rhinovirus, and pollen, but IT DOESN’T MATTER. They’re still evil.

7) I’m craving saucy meatballs. Luckily I’ll be able to get some at the local church’s Festa Italiana tomorrow!

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8) Thank God for technology. I know it’s good to “unplug,” and my mind/body knows when it needs to do so, but social media, music, TV and YouTube are currently keeping me company during my lonely hours.

I miss my friends in Boston. Daliza, come be my friend.

9) I need to manage my time better in the morning. I like taking my time to eat breakfast, catch up on blogs, meditate, and pack lunch in the morning, but more often than not, I’m running out the door because I’m a couple minutes behind schedule. I think I just need to prioritize my tasks before going on the computer.

10) Does anyone ever eat regular yogurt anymore? As in, NON-Greek yogurt? I bought a tub of regular full fat yogurt since the store didn’t have plain full fat Greek yogurt (at a cheap price at least…I love Fage, but my wallet does not).

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To be honest, Dannon regular is only a little thinner than 0% Chobani, but not that much more. The only real difference is the lower protein content, which I know is a deal breaker for a lot of protein fanatics out there. 8 grams of protein in the regular yogurt does the trick for me though!

Hope you all have a fabulous pre-Friday 🙂

So tell me:

How are you with bugs?

I’m craving ______.

Do you ever eat regular yogurt?