Big Kids in the Big City

I just finished one of the best smoothie bowls I’ve ever made!

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How I made it: Last night I mixed together 1/3 c. milk, 1/4 c. Greek yogurt, 1/4 c. [dry] quick cooking steel cut oats, 1 tbsp. chia seeds in a bowl. I also sliced and froze a whole ripe banana and half a mango. This morning I added to a blender another 1/2 c. milk, the oat mixture, a lot of mixed greens, a pinch of salt, a drizzle of honey, and the frozen fruit. Then I blended ’til the cows came home (probably also ’til I woke up Madre, sorry :/ ).

This was the thickest and coldest smoothie ever, thanks to the overnight chia mixture + the frozen fruit. Topped with sunflower seeds, Honey Bunches of Oats, and sweetened shredded coconut.

All I need is a tropical beach.

Other fun eats from this week at home:

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quick cook steel cut oats (that 1/4 c. serving size is diddly squat) with butter-caramelized banana slices + Greek yogurt with the rest of the caramelized banana, chia seeds, cheerios, and sunflower seeds

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half of one of my lunches: salmon and hummus on top of the last of the spinach in the container (fewer dishes FTW)

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crockpot split soup – one of my all time faves

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overnight oats (made with the quick cook steel cut oats again, because that’s all we have at home), topped with sunflower seeds + Honey Bunches of Oats

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leftover split pea soup + salad with homemade honey dijon vinaigrette

I’ve also been eating copious amounts of Boom Chicka Pop’s kettle corn, because once you start you can’t stop.

On Wednesday I had the privilege of hanging out with some of my beautiful friends from Boston University in NYC! Casey, Connor, Louis, Adrienne, and Fiona ♥︎

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We met up in Times Square and walked almost 4 miles down to The World Trade Center from there. We lucked out with some gorgeous weather!

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I also lucked out when this famous bagel place was on the way.

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It’s called Best Bagel and Coffee, which is the most gimmicky name ever, but over 1,000 people on Yelp loved it, so I went. In Yelp I trust.

I went for bacon, egg, and cheese on a whole wheat everything bagel.

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Indeed, this was whole and everything.

Confession: This was my first NY bagel in my entire life. Like, I’ve eaten bagels in the state of New York, but I’ve never had a quality NY bagel until this day. I’ve only lived here for 12 years. I’m a slow person in many regards.

My bagel sandwich was absolutely delicious and great walking fuel while the rest of my friends built up a “hangry” appetite for lunch by the time we arrived at the World Trade Center. It’s so interesting being the only nourished one in the group. You just watch everyone else get angry and/or delirious.

After they were all fed at a gastropub called Suspenders, we walked around to the 9/11 Memorial.

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Connor is from Maine, so the big city was a bit too overwhelming for him.

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sees grass. lays down.

And since I’m queen of navigation when it comes to food places, I brought my pals to Rice to Riches (the most vulgar but amazing rice pudding place you will ever enter)…

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…and then Eileen’s Special Cheesecake (it was featured on Food Network, so you know it’s legit).

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Holla for International Women’s Day!

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A delightful amount of food, a crap ton of walking, and countless laughs with some of my favorite people (I kind of hate myself for the cheesiness of that last one…but it’s true).

When I got home, my body wasn’t sore and had a lot of energy for the first time this whole week, so I did a quick 16 minute workout in the basement (30 seconds work/10 seconds rest/4 rounds):

Yesterday started with that smoothie up there + a manicure and pedicure with Madre early in the morning, because I had to take a train right back into the city for lunch with Pop, my brother, and Christine from Boutiquefull (also my good friend from BU)! Christine met my brother and dad in NYC, since they all work down there, so Pop asked to take us out to lunch one day.

I wouldn’t usually take a 40 minute train + 20 minute subway ride just to eat lunch in NYC, but I’d do it for these folks 🙂

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We went to Harry’s Italian, and let me just say, thank God for complimentary focaccia bread.

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Also for giant meatball subs, one of my favorite meals on the planet.

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It was so fun catching up with Christine and hanging out with Pop and bro Ben!

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After lunch, I headed uptown to meet with a couple of the Sisters of Life. I signed up to be a co-worker for them, which is essentially a volunteer to help women in crisis pregnancies (with resources, babysitting, material donations, praying, just being a friend, etc.), so we just chatted about that and all about life (duh).

All the Sisters of Life are just pure JOY. Ugh. Love ’em.

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stopped into this church as I was speed walking to catch my train back home

Last night we went to flavor town (as Guy Fieri would say) for dinner. In other words, I roasted/grilled a bunch of veggies, Madre made salmon and rice, and we dug in.

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grilled eggplant with s+p

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Moroccan roasted carrots (olive oil, salt, pepper, Moroccan spice, brown sugar)

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honey balsamic roasted brussels sprouts!!!

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the crispy leaves are the best, and I pretty much ate all of them straight out of the oven

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homemade roasted bell peppers for the first time ever

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Madre’s perfectly cooked teriyaki salmon

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altogether now

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Madre bought apple strudels, so I ate one a la mode of course

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Fancy, eh? The occasion was our friend Brother Sam visiting for the night!

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‘Twas a lovely evening of food, fellowship, and watching embarrassing home videos with the guest.

I’ll catch ya back in Boston! I need to buckle down and study, because I spent 75% of this spring break reading blogs (#noragrets).

Hope you all have a blessed weekend!

So tell me:

Do you like to sip or eat your smoothies? Eating them out of a bowl with a spoon is the superior way, but your opinion is still welcome.

Have you ever eaten a real New York bagel?

One fun thing you did this week!

Before Going Back to Reality

I’m going back to Boston today!!!

As sad as I am to be leaving my family, I am very looking forward to being with my friends and doing all the learning and activities back at Boston University. It’s been almost 8 months after all!

I don’t know how I’ll do jumping back into reality after what feels like a five month vacation (with study abroad and winter break), but these last few days of break have been the perfect last hurrah.

Here are some things I’ve done before going back to reality:

1) Made my favorite green silver dollar banana pancakes from The Healthy Maven on Thursday morning.

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as always, topped with Greek yogurt, peanut butter, cinnamon, maple syrup + glass o’ milk

2) Gone on long, contemplative walks around the neighborhood.

3) Had lots of solo dance parties in my room.

4) Tried a new fitness class for free with a voucher that came in the mail! It’s called Body Burn, and I think the concept is similar to that of Orange Theory Fitness. You wear a Polar heart rate monitor across your chest, and you try to keep up your HR elevated at around 80-90% of your max HR throughout the entire 45 minute circuit training class.

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Since I went to the relatively new Friday 9AM class, I was the only one who showed up, so it was basically a 30 minute personal class with a swole Italian-American trainer. It was fun! Some treadmill, rowing, TRX, weights, resistance band work, and abs. It wasn’t the hardest thing ever, but I wasn’t pushing myself that hard (my quads were still sore from Wednesday + plantar fasciitis). Hopefully I can go again one day!

5) I’ve eaten a lot of cold roasted vegetables straight out of their container. Doesn’t take much to please me.

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G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S

6) Madre and I went on a sushi and bakery date on Friday ♥︎

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7) I ate plenty of said bakery items.

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huge, buttery poppy seed rolls

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amazing apple cinnamon cake (look at all that apple! and the crumble topping 10/10)

8) I saw Daliza and Michael on Friday night! It was lovely catching up with those two.

9) The fam and I attended a 6 hour defensive drivers’ course on Saturday. #weekendthings. It’s for insurance reduction. We went three years ago to a different company’s course, but this year’s by AAA was a lot more interactive and less boring 🙂

10) We went to Mass and a huge, fancy {Groupon} dinner at  Xaviars X2O on the Hudson on Saturday night!

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just some of the goodies: brown butter pine nut ricotta ravioli for my appetizer (THE BROWN BUTTERRRRR) // Madre’s seared tuna sashimi appetizer //  my banana walnut bread pudding // Madre’s carrot cake // Ben’s warm chocolate lava cake  // delicious quail with kale, mushrooms, and fingerling potatoes for my entree // Ben’s grilled octopus appetizer // complimentary chocolate almond truffles after the whole meal (“omg they’re giving us more food.”)

We share everything when we eat out, but this was still SO MUCH FOOD (thanks to Groupon – three courses were included for EACH person!). And if what’s pictured above wasn’t enough, Pop had a pâté plate for his appetizer, Ben had pork chop for his entree, Madre had an incredible stuffed chicken for hers, and Pop had rabbit and egg noodles for his. They also had complimentary cheese biscuits to start, so you know we were on board for that.

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The food and the company were just splendid 🙂

10) I ate some refreshing soluble fiber the next morning in the form of delicious chia egg white banana oats for the first time in a long time!

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11) I’ve been movin’ and groovin’ in the good ol’ basement.

  • Saturday: Michelle and Lori’s 100 burpee workout (subbed full burpees for the side burpees) before the defensive drivers’ course
  • Sunday: 700 reps of Jess’ killer 1000 rep workout (subbed bent over rows for the T pushups)

My workouts were feeling just meh last week, which is totally fine, but it was nice to finally feel like I could attack Sunday’s workout and finish feeling totally spent!

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I was keeled over on my side right before I took this photo

12) I ate a slice of Chicago deep dish sausage pizza that my aunt sent us.

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oh hot dang

13) I packed a crap ton of stuff for college, because Megan and I are living together in an apartment, wee!!

14) I’ve indulged in watching Kyle Hanagami’s dance choreography on repeat.

I can’t wait to dance again (not this well, but I can try)!

15) Lastly, I’ve been blogging (obviously). I will miss the freedom to blog at a leisurely pace, but alas, schoolwork calls!

I hope you all have a great Monday! Dance, eat lotsa carbs, and let someone know how much you love them.

So tell me:

Two things you did this weekend!

Best thing you ate this weekend?

Have you ever tried Orange Theory Fitness or something similar?

“I’ve Had So Much Rest. I Should Be Able to Do This Workout!”

I feel like an adolescent going through a growth spurt. Or just a woman going through woman things.

I can’t. stop. sleeping. Or eating for that matter.

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Kylie’s banana pudding for breakfast

*eats a Rawxie bar*

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thanks for getting these sent to me, Emily! ♥︎ 

*eats a giant apple*

*eats a slice of cheese*

*eats crackers*

…within a 45 minute time span. *eats a spoonful of peanut butter an hour later*

Also, I defied my craving for a slow workout yesterday, which wasn’t the best idea. I did one round (instead of two) of Colby’s day three lower body workout, and I was absolutely spent. It wasn’t just a muscle fatigue thing; it actually did not feel good for my body or brain, so I skipped the second round.

After my warm up, I thought, “I really don’t want to do this workout. I could nap right here, right now.” Evidently, sometimes I still have trouble listening to my body, but I like to at least warm up and start the workout. If it absolutely sucks, then I modify like I did yesterday.

Do you ever think, “I gave myself a rest/yoga/active recovery day yesterday. Heck, I had so many days off of exercise last week! I should be able to do an intense workout today!”? That’s sort of what went through my mind yesterday, but I know that’s not necessarily true. We have a cycle ladies, so the kinds of movements and amounts of energy our bodies need cycle naturally.

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sneaky pic by Madre a couple days ago feat. college things

Dudes, you probably have off weeks too, right? I dunno, maybe you’re all invincible and never get tired.

All this to say: Don’t forget to listen to your body. You will not shrivel into a raisin if you do just yoga/walking/resting for one week.

Last night I had the privilege of meeting up with my wonderful friend, Christine! We were also supposed to meet up with Colby, but the poor girl had an infection that she had to take care of. Keep her in your prayers!

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Facebook reminded me that it had actually been exactly one year since we had dinner in the city together during my last winter break! This time, we met up at Le Botaniste, an organic, plant-based, fast-service restaurant.

We both got brown rice bowls with their delicious coconut curry peanut sauce. My add ons included pickled cabbage, turmeric onions, and Moroccan carrots.

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It was very satisfying, filling and tasty, but I can definitely make these at home. The company was the most important part though! Christine and I had a lot of much-needed girl chat.

Christine: “Do you want to get dessert?”

Me: “I was just about to ask.”

To froyo we went!

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toppings galore

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dessert-y for me, fruity for her

Vegetables and sugar are two of my favorite food groups.

I love you, Christine!! Thanks for a fun girls’ night 🙂

So tell me:

Does your workout motivation/energy ebb and flow?

What is the best vegetarian/vegan restaurant you’ve ever been to? 

16 Hour Delay

I feel like under-eye circles are the battery display of my body.

I got 7 hours of sleep on Monday night (which is average), but I still felt pretty tired, and I had purple circles under my eyes.

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yesterday’s breakfast of overnight oats!

I decided to nap after breakfast, which turned into almost TWO extra hours of sleep (still catching up from last week)! Then my under-eye circles were gone.

Purple circles = battery running low. No circles = fully recharged.

Yesterday I talked all about SEEK in San Antonio, but I didn’t tell you guys the story of how I got home. It all started after one last breakfast with the BU crew at our hotel in San Antonio. A couple of my friends and I then took a Lyft to the San Antonio airport at around 8:30 am.

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handy dandy standy table at the San Antonio airport

My first flight was only 30 minutes to Houston, so that was fine. Then came the delays. Thanks to the winter weather that I forgot existed in the northeast, our flight from Houston to New York was delayed 20 minutes… then 50 minutes… then 90 minutes (at this point, I also started to realize that I developed plantar fasciitis in my left foot)… then we boarded. Then it was delayed for another 30 minutes… then we took off, flew, and landed!!…

…in Washington DC. *sad trombone* The runways at LaGuardia airport in NYC were too short and snowy for our plane to safely land, so we were diverted to Dulles Washington airport. There were a couple flights in the same situation as us, so we were stuck on the plane without a gate in DC for a couple hours. I didn’t even care that we weren’t making it to New York that night; my butt just really hurt.

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free TV on demand for all as a consolation gift

Eventually we made it off the plane, but everyone was in a fit about when the next flight to LaGuardia was and whether we were getting hotel vouchers for the night. ‘Twas a mighty unfortunate situation for clients and employees alike, especially at that ungodly hour of 1 AM.

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Some people on my flight had been traveling for over 24 hours from Auckland, New Zealand!! God bless ’em.

We got our generous hotel and meal vouchers for the night and headed to our hotels for the “night”. I bought a caesar salad at the airport and ate it in my large Embassy Suite at 2:30 AM.

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thank God for a comfy bed and a shower though! I was so ready to sleep in the airport

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I slept for a solid 3.5 hours before I had to wake up again and eat breakfast at the hotel (which was included — so many things to be thankful for).

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plus some scrambled eggs + ketchup

This Embassy Suites had two huge pet swans in their lobby too, which was something to wake up to.

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Our scheduled flight to LaGuardia was at 10am, but once we boarded, we were delayed for another hour (our flight was less than an hour, so we could have already been in NY by then) due to some paperwork that had to be completed for the diversion process. People were just about fuming from their ears.

But we finally landed in NYC at almost noon, only 16 hours after we were originally supposed to land. We were safe and sound, which is all that matters. My whole fam picked me up from the airport, and then we headed to lunch at a Korean restaurant in Flushing called Kun Sohn Korean Noodle House.

We all shared loads of fresh, hot, handmade noodle soups + dumplings + seafood pancake + kimchi. The perfect food to drive out the winter chill. Later that night, I went to an evening Mass and then straight to bed at 6:45pm for my 14 hours of glorious sleep.

On Monday, I ate breakfast, did some cleaning, and then moved and grooved. I worked out once in San Antonio on the one day I was willing to sacrifice sleep and get up at the butt-crack of dawn. I am thankful for that one workout though! It did also make my butt sore for the next three days. I’ve used the word “butt” four times in this post already.

I did Colby’s day two cardio and core workout from her 10 day burn challenge. It was so nice to get the blood pumping, but my body was feeeeeelin’ it after a wonky week of sleep, eats, and travel.

After a quick shower, I met up with two of my best dance friends from high school, Susie and Charli, for lunch. It was so good catching up with those beauties!

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devoured this veggie burger (my only vegetable last week was salsa #notmad)

After my two hour nap yesterday, I ate a classic lunch.

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avocado toast with eggs + salad with homemade honey dijon vinaigrette

Then Madre and I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and the nail salon, where I started studying for gross anatomy (the prof says that she “cannot overestimate how incredibly much work this class is”).

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“which bones and muscles is she massaging right now?”

Yoga is what my body needed, so I did this great yoga video by Leigha Butler before dinner (Madre was simultaneously doing Pilates right next to me in the basement haha).

Look what I had after dinner!!

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dried figs with {full fat Fage} greek yogurt 🙂

Also, I had some of Madre’s pork soup, which was seriously the best soup/pork I’ve ever tasted. I don’t know why, but this was my JAM. She simmered it for hours with pork bones, lemongrass, kefir leaves, and salt. That’s it.

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Doesn’t look like much, but it’s what’s inside that counts.

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! I’m going to be seeing some lovely ladies tonight. Both of their names start with a C 🙂

So tell me:

Have you ever had to stay overnight in a city due to a flight delay?

Two things you did yesterday!

Dear Alison… {A Look Back at 2016}

Dear 2016 Alison,

It’s been one heck of a year. A lot of people are hating on 2016, but bad things happen every year. There has also been a lot of good that 2016 brought to the world, such as the canonization of Mother Teresa, the summer Olympics, and a whole lot of other things that you didn’t even realize happened until you Googled it just now.

But look at what God has blessed YOU with in 2016…

January

You tried the highly acclaimed BodyPump for the first time, and it was fine. You also bonded with fellow bloggers and good friends in NYC — with Colby over Lloyd’s incredible carrot cake and with Christine over Asian food (lol). I forgot that you contemplated Whole 30 for a while! But you know dairy and grains aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. On the college front, you learned a little more about how to deal with stress, and you started your little “Five Minute Friday” series! *squishes your cheeks*

February

HAHA remember when your exercise physiology professor pointed her laser at you in front of the whole class!? Of course you do. Your second sophomore semester would not have been complete without an embarrassing story. Bucket listing with Rachel is going strong. You learned in nutrition class that you need more carbs and less protein (about 3x less protein). You gave up makeup (among other things) for Lent, which was hard, but thank God for your friends pushing you to be better. Retreat was this month!! Don’t forget that it is improbable that you are where you are now. Also, you have some dang good looking friends #winemoms.

March

Looking good in that VO2Max test in exercise physiology… But eyyyy, SPRING BREAK! A couple fun road trips with Joe and Louis, good food at home, and a heck of a lot of sriracha. You also snuck into a bar, you rebel! *low key fist bump* But you ordered a Shirley Temple anyway, haha. Sarah, founder of Fit University, invited you to take one of her first Cyc classes, and she kicked your butt. Lastly, Easter was the perfect ending to a pretty spectacular month ♥︎

April

I’m proud of you for finally pulling off a decent April Fools’ joke. Annual swing dancing is always fun, and you should keep it up. This month included the first annual St. Sebastian Cup with the Catholic Center, and it was a BLAST, although you did get beat up pretty badly. Make sure you win in 2017. You convinced some friends to work out with you, which was so fun! Do more of that. Never stop supporting Jordan in her fashion shows. And always make pancakes with Rachel for Marathon Monday like you did this year.

May

Sophomore year — check! And Ben graduated college, go him! You and the fam took a celebratory trip to Stowe, VT, which is a pretty rad place. Hiking, Ben & Jerry’s, special peanut butter, what more could you want? You also stayed at BU for commencement weekend, where you saw a lot of your close friends graduate *tear*. OMG I think my heart breaks/melts/explodes all at the same time when I think about your time with Fiona and Rachel at Fiona’s summer house. 48 hours unplugged never felt so amazing. You started your summer job (that you almost ruined) at a rehabilitation hospital. You also turned TWO DECADES old! Lastly, we can never forget the beautiful Katie Anne, who passed away this month. She was a light and a joy to us all.

June

Poop therapy“, huh? You mean pool therapy, silly. In addition to enjoying work, you realized a few important lessons: you need to simplify your lifeyou cannot let the mirror steal your joyinternet addictions are real, and fitness is more than just skills and numbers. You also learned that the stress of starting something new can cause tummy troubles (you’re not lactose intolerant, hallelujah! but Lactaid was a tasty discovery). Lots of emotions were churning this month with the nation’s tragedies. You got a “Dora the Explorer” haircut according to some people (-_-) You always get mixed reviews on your short haircuts. Go be a tourist in your own backyard more often with some friends!! Really, just go back to get a Levain Bakery cookie again.

July

You started taking initiative with learning more current events. What happened?? Get back on that train! Then came the best vacation ever — a Caribbean cruise with the family and your family friends for your parents’ 25th anniversary! So much food. Monkeys on your head. So many beautiful places. AND YOU MET US THE DUO AND BASICALLY BECAME FRIENDS WITH THEM!!! Another great part of the vacation? Not feeling the need to compensate afterward. You shared everything about your current fitness situation. I’m glad you are, above all, having fun with fitness. I’m also glad that you don’t get as stressed if you’re not hungry before a big planned meal.

August

Can you make this artichoke chicken pasta dish again?? I forgot you made that. Also, make that Brazilian cheese bread soon. Working at the rehab hospital definitely helped you become more of a grown up, I’d say. This year’s Olympics were pretty stellar (especially on the US women’s gymnastics front!). You had zero emotions regarding leaving for study abroad in Ireland… If only you knew what was in store. Your grandparents celebrated their 50th Golden Anniversary!! How inspiring. And you celebrated three short years of blogging. It’s been a great adventure though. You also got your first stethoscope from the physical therapists at work, oooooo!

September

You flew to Ireland to study there for 3.5 months! But first your family + family friends did some serious foodie work in NYC. Wowza. In Ireland, you faced some comparison trap struggles, but you powered through. Ugh, I miss the scones, greenery, and mayyyybe even the ability to drink alcohol in Ireland. Also all those desserts. You had your first Aibnb experience in Galway (still the best Airbnb ever)! Howth and the Cliffs of Moher were two of the most beautiful sights you’d ever seen. You finally learned that education should be about a desire to learn, not a desire to “just do well.” You were also challenged in your beliefs, which was scary but actually very fortifying for your faith at the end of the day.

October

“Booze and Grooves” (coined by your friend Ben) commenced during your class field trip to Northern Ireland. You really started settling into your routine in Ireland at this point. I know that saying “yes” isn’t always easy for you, but you really learned how to do that more while abroad. You even went out on a whim and planned a last minute wine and cheese night for everyone in the program! Then came the European trip of a lifetime, which started with Zurich, Switzerland (so expensive). Then to Padua (where you got to practice your Italian right away), Assisi (BEST PLACE ON EARTH), and finally, Rome (thank God for priest and seminarian friends/family and Pope Francis!). I’m proud of you and Megan for traveling on your own through foreign countries. ALSO proud of you for starting Harry Potter together!!!

November

Brunch game in Dublin was so strong. You did some more exploring in the gorgeous country of Ireland. This was also your first Thanksgiving away from home, but Friendsgiving with the people in your program was so heartwarming (and yummy). You also started your internship at a physiotherapy clinic in Dublin this month! You learned all about dry needling, myofascial trigger points, and massage therapy. And now you give great massages 🙂

December

Congrats! You know how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. More importantly, you know that 100% recovery is possible. Now that you’re a Harry Potter fan, Scotland was one of the most magical places you’ve ever visited. And just like that — your semester in Ireland flew by in the blink of an eye. You grew and learned more than you could have ever imagined in those 3.5 months. Coming home was so sweet though. And now you’re finishing up a food-tastic vacation with the fam in Florida!

Keep working on being a good listener to other people.

Keep an open mind.

Keep pursuing a deep relationship with God.

Here’s to a new year,

2017 Alison