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.

DSC_0584

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.

DSC_0585

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.

DSC_0587

Followed up by somethin’ sweet!

DSC_0588

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.

photo 2

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.

DSC_7439

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.

photo 410150625_1481578512056915_1058100145_n

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.

DSC_7911DSC_8009

Dear May Alison,

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

DSC_8211

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!

  IMG_4638 DSC_9137

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.

IMG_0113 photo 1

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!

picstitch

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.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset10604424_10204140246360943_6812184516786650349_o

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.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetpicstitch

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.

IMG_2140 DSC_0474

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!

Behind the Scenes #23: Prom

Well, hello, world! I have so much to tell you about this week, so it’s perfect that today is Thursday because…

Thinking-Out-Loud

with the wonderful Amanda!

1) Prom. It happened on Tuesday-Wednesday. And it was awesome.

2) Except for the fact that I had to go to two hair salons. Long story short: at the first salon, the lady that was supposed to do my hair was not there, so the lady that usually does nails did my hair instead…and it didn’t turn out quite as envisioned. I was getting flustered and dramatic about it, but mom was cool as a cucumber and took me to a more trusted salon to get it fixed. Yes, we should have gone to the more trusted salon first, but we thought we would dabble with the cheaper salon. Hmm.

3) My mom hosted this snazzy pre-pre-prom party at our house so we could take some of the standard prom pictures. Per usual, she made a plethora of food, which was a huge hit.

DSC_8638

Yes, my mom put those balloons up herself just for the occasion.

DSC_8712

I put on the boutonniere incorrectly apparently. At least I didn’t poke Michael!

DSC_8722 DSC_8795 DSC_8848 DSC_8869

Charlie’s Angels? Eh.

DSC_8932

4) Everyone looked INCREDIBLE. Like, my school’s got some style.

5) ‘Twas a windy night, but the weather was perfect. If it were any warmer, we all would have been sweaty and nasty.

10441915_758901120799714_4045940012248116633_n

5) Dance, eat, chat, eat, repeat! The food was really good at prom, and the make-your-own ice cream sundae station at the end made me pretty happy. 😀

10433941_758899917466501_5774010703865618602_n

Photo boothin’

I still need a foot massage from dancing in heels all night.

6) At 11 PM, when prom ended, I was BEAT. I could not fathom the fact that Daliza, Jordan (her date), Michael, and I were going to NYC for another 6 hours afterwards. I kinda wished we could just sleep and go to after-prom the day later, but that would not complete the prom experience…whatever the heck that is anyway.

7) A majority of our classmates went on a boat around NYC, but we opted to (*ahem* stay sober) have our own adventure on land in Times Square.

After-prom on St. Patrick’s Cathedral steps #TURNUP

8) No, seriously, our little foursome had a blast. We played hide ‘n’ seek in Times Square!!! Rules: Between 42nd and 45th street, only on 7th ave, only outside. Fun times!

9) We also ate halal food from THE famous Halal Guys on 6th and 53rd as fuel for the next 5 hours. And I totally got a second wind, so I actually wasn’t tired in NYC!

10509521_758901874132972_7289519143112811305_n

10) We got back to my house at around 7 AM (yah, I know), and then we took naps and watched High School Musical 3. Party animals.

11) I’m graduating today!!! I have a speech to deliver?…Meep.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

So tell me:

Did you go to prom in high school?

When was the latest you’ve stayed up?

What would you do for after prom?

Fascinating Friday Links #38

Hiya!

Yesterday was the senior picnic— one of the special events that we receive as the big shots of the school. We did all those gushy things like signing every person’s yearbook (even those of the people we’ve never talked to before— loooook we’re breaking barriers, how sweet). Then there were other fun things like frisbee, soccer, volleyball, and eating burgers and dogs.

IMG_3638

Je’lyn, Veronica, and Jeannine ♥ 

photo 1

Cheeseburger {cheese is on the bottom} with ketchup and mustard art.

photo 2

Daliza! 😀

Although the weather was kinda gross, it was a fun time! Let’s be honest though, the cheeseburger was the best part of the day.

Joking.

And now here are this week’s Fascinating Friday Links. Enjoy!

fascinating friday links

Health and Fitness

[Most of us have done it] How To Stop Comparing Your Food Choices to Other People’s via The Real Life RD + Well-Intentioned

[Never too early to care for your heart health] Best Foods For Your Heart And Why 20-Somethings Should Care via Greatist

[Hooray for fish!] 5 Reasons Athletes Should Eat Fish via Cotter Crunch

[I did only half of this workout and ooooof] HIIT Fusion Workout via Purely Twins

[You don’t just have to run outdoors] Outdoor Workout via Blonde Ponytail

Food for Thought

[Happiness is worth some discomfort and sacrifice] 20 Hard Things You Need to Do to Be Happy via Marc and Angel Hack Life

[Live life too] Balancing Blogging and the “Real World” via The Big Man’s World

[Holla] Eff the Thigh Gap via Healthy Diva Eats

Food for Belly

[All the stone fruits!] Grilled Apricot Quinoa Parfaits via Fit Foodie Lee + Roasted Peach Crumble Bars via Yeah…Imma Eat That + Grilled Peach BBQ Sauce with Grilled Polenta via Edible Perspective

[Thailand meets North America. I dig.] Thai Turkey Sliders with Peanut Sauce via The Healthy Maven

[I’m into these s’mores variations] Red, White, and Blue Berry S’mores via Family Fresh Cooking

[Looks like it] Addictively Good Chicken Wings via Kitchy Kitchen

[Awesome] Vegan Caprese Sandwiches with Garlic Cashew Cheese via Oh My Veggies

[Yessss] Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies via The Lean Green Bean

Miscellaneous Fun

[Learn] The Unspoken Rules of Blogging Etiquette via Running with Ollie

[Mind is BLOWN] 20 Awesome Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Frozen’ via Your Tango

[I’ll do this the next time I’m in the city] This Random Guy Pretends to Be a Celebrity…And All of New York Falls For It via Slightly Viral

It was a shorter list today, but I guess that can be a good thing!

My friend Susie is coming over this morning so that I can do her makeup for prom! I don’t really know why she’s coming to me…I’m not that amazing at makeup, but hopefully I can work some magic. Just pray that I don’t screw up one of the biggest nights of her high school life, cool? Then I’m off to my school’s senior luncheon, which is a fancier event at a country club…ooo la la. I ♥ dressing up.

Happy Friday, everyone!

So tell me:

Burgers or hot dogs?

What are you doing today?

Do you like dressing up?

Behind the Scenes #12: No Shame

Hey!

I missed you all yesterday! I don’t think I’ve ever not posted on a Wednesday before yesterday. :-0 I guess there’s a first time for everything! It was just a busy evening, plain and simple. But today I’m comin’ at ya with some random thoughts because…

Thinking-Out-Loud

With the amazing Amanda, who is probably sun-kissed in Hawaii right now! I’m kinda hoping she sends me some fresh poke and pineapples.

1. It’s like my stomach is trained to have food within 30 minutes of waking up. Yesterday, I woke up a little earlier than usual to go to 7AM Ash Wednesday Mass, and although I didn’t want to eat a full breakfast beforehand, I still needed to have a few clementine slices to keep me from being miserable at Mass. Like, if I didn’t have the clementine, I may not have said “peace be with you” to anyone. Kidding. But still, my stomach was growling LOUDLY and I think it may have freaked out some people.

2. I walked into class a couple minutes late, but the ashes explained the reason for my tardiness. My calculus teacher had actually already gotten her ashes at Mass too! I used to be afraid of people staring at my forehead, but now, I couldn’t be more proud of donning that thick cross on my forehead. 🙂 People don’t make a big deal out of it anyway.

photo-10

Breakfast was eaten at school:

DSC_7725

Greek yogurt, banana slices, chia, hemp, banana nut muffin, and pepita sunseed butter

I ate it while doing calculus, and I succeeded in keeping my calculator free of Greek yogurt. This time.

3. I ordered my prom dress already! Our prom isn’t until June, but I found a dress that I loved in my size, so I just went for it. My school has a prom dress Facebook page where all the girls post photos of their dresses so there are no doubles (’cause we all know that that is in the top ten list of high school no-nos), and I was the first one to post in that group. I felt slightly aggressive, considering I bought the dress on the day the group was created, butttttt, if the shoe fits…!

Actually, I don’t even know if it fits. I’m hoping it’ll work out for this girl’s pear-shaped body!

4. I opted to take an active rest day yesterday since I had to study for a bio test that I have today. My “active rest” moves consisted of speed walking to school from my car in the morning, physical education class (planks and step ups in the weight room…let’s just count it), and active study breaks. I set my alarm to ring every 15 minutes while I was studying so I could get off my butt (and get my mind off of Darwinian evolution) to do 40 prisoner squats, 10 burpees, and 20 butterfly sit-ups.

5. I realized I already broke one of my Ash Wednesday commitments yesterday when I complained in Italian class to my friends: “I’m SICK of translating these long paragraphs!” (5 seconds later) Darn it, Alison. 

6. I eat roasted brussels sprouts with my fingers sometimes. Really just whenever I’m feelin’ snacky and too lazy to make them a part of an actual meal. I do not have one bit of shame.

brussels

i ♥ b.s.

wait………………

7. Thus, my brussels snackage before dinner led to a veggie-less meal:

DSC_7727

Seared tuna steak with mustard (which I mixed with Greek yogurt and honey post-pic) + avocado toast

Oh and this was my Mardi Gras/National Pancake Day dinner:

DSC_7722

Quinoa/rice blend, shrimp, roasted brussels, and avocado

No sign of either Mardi Gras nor pancakes. *sigh* Except maybe the shrimp, which is reminiscent of jambalaya from New Orleans, where Mardi Gras is huge. Is that a stretch?

8. I set off the smoke alarm in our house while searing said tuna.

smooth_o_200575

[source]

9. When I take my daily {adult} gummy vitamins, I always try to eat the orange ones (least favorite flavor) first, saving most of the berry and peach ones (best) for last. From a Darwinian natural selection perspective: the berry and peach vitamins have a favorable flavor, so they out-compete the orange ones, leaving a population that is dominated by berry and peach vitamins. Until Alison dominates them all, causing extinction of all the vitamins.

Look at that! I’m studying while blogging! Darwin would be proud….

10. …and I’m a freak.

Yet I’m still unashamed. 😉

Hope you all have an awesome Thursday!

So tell me:

Do you have to eat something as soon as you get up in the morning?

Do you ever eat roasted veggies with your fingers?

What do you do on active rest days?

Do you like to save the best for last when eating things?