Finals Week: Brought To You in Part By Bread

Ohhhhh we’re halfway there.

WHO-OA bread is everywhe-ere.

I’m halfway through finals week, but since I don’t have any exams until Thursday (plus a research paper due tomorrow), I’m feel like I’m on study autopilot. Like, “meh, time to stuff more information into my brain today.” I’m not as overwhelmed as I’ve been in past finals weeks, which is great, but it’s a little weird too.

Fortunately, there have been pockets of fun amidst the stream of studying. Many of the fun things have involved BREAD (or a variation of it).

Pita chips with spinach artichoke dip two nights in a row.

Night 1: Last Thursday I stopped by the Admissions Ambassadors (aka campus tour guides) end of the year gala to mingle for a few minutes and eat some hors d’oeuvres. I was severely underdressed since I needed to study and wasn’t planning on staying long, but I just ate the fabulous spinach artichoke feta dip in the corner, took some pics, and ducked out.

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Night 2: A few friends and I went to the senior art exhibition by the fine arts students here at BU. I was also underdressed this night because I came from work/studying/walking in the rain all day, but the art was the focus of the night anyway.

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there is so much cheese under those crackers

Friday morning bagel run with so many friends.

My friend Sarah (the girl who has been getting me to run more recently) has been wanting to have a “bagel run” with people for the longest time, and her dreams finally came true.

First, Sarah and I ran ~2 miles together and then stopped at Bruegger’s Bagels to get 16 bagels + cream cheese for everyone coming to the bagel run. We individually packed them in Ziplocs because we’re the moms of the group.

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Then we met up with 15(!) of our friends to run 1.5 miles to a dock by the river to eat bagels!

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100% brought peanut butter to share

It was such a fun little event! There’s also an epic playground by the dock, so we obviously had to play there until a dad with his two little kids came, lol.

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Moves and grooves at their FINEST, I say. Thanks, Sarah, for organizing! And thanks, friends, for coming out on a Friday morning! ♥︎

Turkey, pepper jack cheese, and mustard between bread or with crackers.

I am so into this “after school snack” type of lunch right now. Doesn’t this remind you of something you’d find in your lunchbox as a kid??

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strawberries are in season and on sale, praaaaaise

Also, there were [vegan] chicken nuggets in the dining hall. They’re not the most amazing nuggets in the world, but that breading brings me back to the good ol’ days of frozen nuggets warmed up in a toaster oven.

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BBQ sauce all the way

Blueberry cobbler a la mode.

One of the best desserts in the d-hall in a while.

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Frozen nutella hot chocolate checked off the food bucket list with Rachel.

This isn’t bread-y, but I had to include it. This frozen nutella hot chocolate is from Paris Creperie, and it was delicious!

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The best way I can describe it is: nutella frosty.

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It was also so nice getting to catch up with Rachel — it had been a while!

Free cookie cake from the Google Allo cookie truck.

Basically, if three people downloaded the new Google Allo app and started a group chat on it, this random Google Allo cookie truck gave you a free cookie cake with personalized frosting.

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Free dessert sounded good to us, so Zoe, Sarah, and I took a study break to get one. We had them write “Regina Caeli” on it, which means “Queen of Heaven” (aka Mary). Because we’re Catholic and we were coming from the Catholic Center and we like Latin.

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That same night, Sarah, Domenica and Kelsey were wearing matching America socks. Look at how adorable they are!

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I also definitely brought my yoga mat and foam roller for everyone to use #finalsweek

Sunday morning French toast with Megan.

It has been one of our goals to make perfect French toast ever since we came back from Ireland, and Sunday was finally the day. I bought some quality brioche from Trader Joe’s + used some of my thick whole wheat bread to make, if we do say so ourselves, excellent French toast. We used this method!

Megan is a purist and drizzled hers with some maple syrup and powdered sugar. She’s also a stacker.

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I Alison-ified mine with peanut butter, caramelized bananas, and maple syrup.

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We each had 2.5 slices (so, yes, I ate all of that above) with a glass o’ milk on the side, and it was blissful.

Perfect avocado toast is BACK.

I hadn’t bought avocados for a while since they weren’t on sale, but Target had 4 for $4, so I jumped on that.

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one with avocado + sriracha, one with pepper jack cheese // carrots and hummus // strawberries and Pirate’s Booty at the end

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I ♥︎ pirate’s booty

Baking peanut butter banana bread / chocolate chip banana bread with PJ and Kelsey.

So I could have been hardcore studying last night, but PJ and Kelsey invited me to join in on some pb banana bread baking… A good study break, right?

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It was worth it. And I did get some studying done still because they took on the brunt of cleanup (thanks, friends!). I also winged a random cookie recipe because we had a butter/sugar/egg white mixture that was a mistake for the banana bread recipe, and this is what turned out.

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Kinda bready oatmeal cookies that tasted decent with peanut butter sauce on top.

Bread has been fueling studying and lots of moves and grooves.

I worked out with Ben again on Saturday morning and took us through this circuit workout:

2 rounds of each set, 30 sec on, 10 sec off

  • jumping jacks / air squats / mountain climbers / high knees
  • pushup to T / skaters / squat jumps / plank
  • side jump lunges / spiderman kick through right / spiderman kick through left / tuck jumps
  • one legged burpee right / one legged burpee left / ski jumps / tricep dips
  • broad jumps / plank jacks / side plank / burpees

On Sunday, Rachel, Sarah and I went on an easy run…

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…and stretched our calves at the foot of the stairs in the Catholic Center.

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Regina Caeli 🙂

Plus some other good workouts throughout the week at the gym.

And now it is time to eat lunch, fold laundry, and STUDY. I consider blogging a non-priority, but I still think it’s good to do during hectic weeks like this. There are many good things to stop and appreciate amidst the blur of life.

So tell me:

How are finals going for you, college friends!?

How do you eat your French toast?

What is the best bread-y thing you’ve eaten recently?

Two fun things about this past week!

Goodness Gracious, Galway

Is there a place on this island that won’t steal my heart!?

My goodness, Ireland might be one of the most underrated beautiful nations in the world. Then again, I haven’t been around too much of the world yet, but I can appreciate this little country for what it is!

Friday

I did some chores and work in the morning before a few of us headed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin city centre.

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This place is truly a masterpiece. Arches, carvings, stained-glass window, stairways, tombs— like a fantasy novel setting! It’s also Anglican, not Catholic, which I did not know!

Then I did homework on Friday night. Lame award of the year. But it was for good reason because I was also packing for a weekend trip to Galway. Even though it was a two day trip, I was more nervous for this weekend jaunt than leaving the US for Ireland. I think it was because this is the first trip I planned completely without my parents’ intervention at all. Just Megan, me, and the good ol’ Internet (← in other words, we had infinite resources at our fingertips).

Saturday

I woke up at around 5:50 to get in a super quick workout before we hit the road. I did a warmup + 12 minute workout before gathering my things, eating some pb+j banana oats, and walking to bus #1.

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We successfully made it to the airport, where bus #2 departed. But we used the airport restroom and found this dispenser, which was…handy?

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Megan: “Why can you get toffee from the same machine as your tampons?”

So we ran away to Galway. It was about a 2.5 hour bus ride, and we emerged in the new city (SUCCESS) without a plan until dinner time. First stop: lunch at The Dough Bros.

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They had free crunchy chocolate chip cookies at the order counter, so that was our appetizer 😀

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And then we shared the “Hey Pesto” pizza, which had homemade basil pesto, goat cheese, smoked semi-sundried tomatoes, balsamic red onions, and fresh rocket (arugula).

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BOMB.

With happy bellies, we walked around the streets of Galway city, which were just charming. Our secret mission was to find dessert (I had scones on my mind for whatever reason), so we circled around before finding a little strip of street vendors.

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I sampled four different kinds of bread from The Happy Loaf, and then I finally bought a white chocolate blueberry spelt muffin (that he baked right there in some outdoor oven contraption!).

Megan bought a caramel slice from a different vendor, and we brought our desserts to the River Corrib, where we blissfully enjoyed our treats with a view.

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the muffin could have used more blueberries, but it was still delicious!

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“the garbage swan” ➔ Megan’s unofficial name for this thing

We walked up to the ocean area called Salthill, which offered a delightful sea breeze and a peaceful atmosphere.

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We couldn’t stay too long, because we had to catch a bus to Kinvara for dinner. However, in our haste, Megan twisted her (semi-recently sprained) ankle 😦 Darn cobblestone.

Luckily there was an ambulance literally right there where she twisted her ankle, so I asked the EMTs for an ice pack. One guy, Tom, kindly ran around the corner (to who knows where) to get one, while another guy, Eoin (pronounced “own”) came to chat with us and check on Megan.

Not only were these two gentlemen very helpful in Megan’s plight, but Megan and I agreed that Eoin was a darn good-looking and friendly man, who made the situation slightly less stressful. He even recommended a good fish & chips place.

God provides.

Tom came with the ice (and even an ACE wrap), so Megan was able to elevate and ice her ankle on the 40 minute bus ride to Kinvara (couldn’t have been a better situation, given the circumstances!).

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She had to buy a brace once we arrived, but she’s a trooper. We walked a few minutes over to Dunguaire Castle, where we were scheduled for a medieval banquet!

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First, we toured. This thing is over 500 years old!

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location of the banquet we would enjoy in the evening

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super narrow at the top

Then I got antsy and did some weird things on the lawn, which definitely got in the way of some people’s photos from afar.

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Megan: “I took a picture of you doing your weird squats over there.” 

I was stretching my hips!

At 5:30, our banquet commenced. They served us mead at the beginning, which is honeyed wine. It was meh. I didn’t have much of it, but it was fun to sip it while listening to harp music.

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We made a toast and headed upstairs to the banquet! Sorry for the bad quality pics to come; medieval times aren’t generous with the lighting, ya know?

Each dinner course was announced, and our meal/social time was interlaced with lovely singing pieces. The singers were so talented!

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smoked salmon + capers and veggies

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soda bread with butter (Megan’s favorite food of the whole banquet. It was really good bread.)

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potato leek soup from a pitcher (my favorite food of the night, especially with the bread dipped in)

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no spoons!

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chicken in mushroom sauce + veggies and fried potatoes

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apple slice with fresh cream

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I had a single sip of red wine. I just don’t like alcohol apparently.

There was a longer performance after our meal was complete. Overall, Megan and I had a fun experience and were glad we did it. We were definitely the youngest ones there, but the couple sitting next to us was super friendly, and we loved talking with them!

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So stuffed and so happy.

Our first Airbnb experience was GREAT! Our host, Valerie, was phenomenal. She even picked us up from the castle after I told her that Megan was injured. Her room for us was so clean and cozy, and the bathroom was AMAZING (because any step up from a dorm bathroom is amazing). Also, her dog is the happiest dog on earth.

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she left us tea, water, and “buns”!!!

We slept well that night.

Sunday

Valerie prepared a nice breakfast for us, consisting of brown bread (can’t get enough) with butter and jam + tea + cereal.

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‘Twas hearty and filling for the journey back to Galway city. Valerie is the best; if you ever stay in Kinvara, go to her!!

Megan and I meandered around Galway city again once we got back there. We wanted to go to Mass at the Galway Cathedral at 12:30, but we had some time to kill. We visited the Spanish Arch, which was kinda underwhelming, but it’s old and historical!

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What we really got excited for was this playground.

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“living her best life”

Then we paid 50 cents to use the cathedral washroom before doing our church thing. Prayer, confession, photos, and Mass. The Galway Cathedral is just stunning!

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After Mass, we walked to Brasserie on the Corner for lunch. There was a two-course meal deal for €18.95, which was fantastic. Especially because of…

THE SODA BREAD.

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we’re slightly obsessed and vow to not eat anymore unless we are served it

I ordered the salmon with pea and bacon cream for my entree. The entrees came with potatoes two ways + steamed vegetables. Everything was so tasty!

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I had to eat very slowly, because this stuff was rich. But the dessert compartment stayed open for this peanut butter parfait (not the kind of parfait we’re used to back home…parfait is more of a frozen mousse here, kinda like a semifreddo) with vanilla ice cream and honeycomb.

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This meal kept us full until almost 10 pm!

And so we just strolled some more until our bus ride back home. We saw a few churches and revisited Salthill to walk down the whole bar and feel the wind in our hair. A very Titanic moment.

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what a precarious moment lol

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We barely talked, except for the few times we starting singing “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. We just wanted to soak in the views and the breeze.

Megan and I also had a weird obsession with the award plaques on restaurant fronts. We just wanted to touch all of them.

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We’re adults. We travel on our own.

And now I’m back at the dorm, gearing up for our second week of classes. It’s funny, because finals are in less than a month. YAY.

But seriously, I am so grateful for this weekend in Galway with Megan and for the experiences I’ve had here in Ireland so far. God is good.

(All the time!)

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Galway?

Do you like Irish soda bread?

Have you ever used Airbnb?

Have you ever had an unfortunate experience, but somehow all the circumstances to deal with it were in place?

What did you do this weekend?