I Have a Dream + Lately

I posted this yesterday morning, but for some reason, some readers only saw half the post while others saw the whole post. So I took it down and here I am re-posting it!


This post is not about Martin Luther King, Jr.

(Although he is obviously a character to be revered and happens to be a Boston University alumnus #holla. And may we also remember his courage especially during this time of the events in Charlottesville and Burkina Faso. Let us pray for the souls lost, those who are injured, all those affected and those who have hurt others.)

This post is about a dream that I have that was prompted by a bowl of ramen. Allow me to explain.

Last Saturday, I went to a quasi-famous little ramen place called Yume Wo Katare with my friend Justin, and the experience was fantastic, in the truest sense of the word. There was a line of people waiting outside before it opened for dinner, and we got to see the staff’s pre-opening ritual (perhaps?), which involved shouting things in a circle, jumping up and down and getting FIRED UP.

So they bring you into their little shack of a restaurant, which is made up of an open kitchen and three rows of 6 seats each, all facing the chefs. Our host gave us a rundown of what the restaurant is all about — good food (ramen) and good people who share their dreams and support others’ dreams.

The bowl of ramen is symbolic of your dream (could be a short term or long term dream). Eating the bowl of ramen is symbolic of you achieving your dream. Why? Because there will be people, doubts and circumstances that will try to get in the way of your dream, but you have to just push through the obstacles to achieve your dream.

peep the fatty broth, the fat rim on the pork, and the FAT SPRINKLE ON TOP WHAT THE FRICK

The bowl of ramen is similar in that the fattiness and saltiness of this epic bowl of ramen will try to slow you down and keep you from finishing it all, but you just have to persevere and try to get to the bottom of that bowl.

There are three sizes: regular (a lot of food), buta (translates to “pig”, means bigger sized bowl with more pork belly), and extra large (for the insane). I got a regular and Justin got a buta because he’s one of those metabolic machines (read: a young man).

So you wanna reach your dream by finishing the bowl of ramen, right? If you finish everything, including the broth, the staff shouts, “PERFECT!” If you finish everything but the broth, they shout, “GOOD JOB!” If you leave some solid food and broth, they say, “Almooooost.” If you leave a lot of food left, they say, “Next tiiiiime.”

I got a “GOOD JOB!” and got cramps afterwards, but it was a glorious bowl of ramen. The noodles were my favorite part.

But before they grade your ramen bowl, they give you the option of stating your dream to the other 17 customers + staff in the room. I didn’t know what I wanted to say as my dream, but I decided I would say something anyway.

I ended up saying:

My dream is to make everyone I meet in life know how much they are loved.

That is some of the mushiest cheese that I have ever spoken, but it’s true. As a nomad of life and an indecisive person, I have no specific professional or personal dreams, but making everyone feel genuinely loved is very important to me.

I can only say this because I have been genuinely loved by other souls throughout my life, even (and sometimes especially) when I don’t deserve the love. “To whom much is given, much will be expected.” – Someone Wise

And now for some updates on life! I’ve missed blogging so much. Finals were kicking my DERRIÈRE, but WE ARE DONE AS OF TODAY!! For two weeks at least.

Colby (← her new website is BOSS) finished her summer in Boston a couple weeks ago 😦 As a “see ya later” send-off, we went to a Power Stryde class at MyStryde in Boston’s North End, because moving and grooving together is what we do best. It was a fun class!

can’t wait to see your face again, Colby ♥︎

We followed that with a trip to Boston Public Market (my first time there after living here for three years?)!

I bought brown sugar blueberry bread from Jennifer Lee’s allergen-free bakery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this delicious bread for dessert/study reward the next three nights. Served a la mode with peanut butter, of course.

On one night a couple weeks ago, it was raining, I desperately needed to go grocery shopping, and Target decided it was a good time to switch over to paper bags. Ergo…

But now I don’t live so far away from campus, so this doesn’t have to happen anymore! I moved from Christie’s place to an apartment closer to campus with Rachel and our friend Lauren, which has been great. I’m tolerated a decent amount of disaster in my half-unpacked room as finals finished up, but now I can start fixing up this crib.

It’s an off-campus apartment, so I get to stay put for a WHOLE. YEAR. HALLELUJAH.

the lighting is nice in the living room too, just saying

Before I left Christie’s place, I had one last night with her dog, Koga, and boy did we have a memorable night together! Koga is a really good dog, but he apparently had way too much water to drink that day, so the poor thing peed inside while I was alone at home with him.

How could you be mad at this face though?

Moving was a (relative) breeze thanks to Christie and Andrew, who helped me move and drive all my stuff to the new place, and my parents, who came up to deliver my bed frame and mattress last weekend. Blessed.

Another #blessed moment was when Rachel spotted a curbed dresser a block away from our apartment and convinced me to take it for my room, since I have practically zero furniture. But when we quickly discovered that the dresser was absurdly heavy, a knight in shining armor kind and burly man sitting on his deck offered to help us move it into my room. It was still a ridiculously sweaty and difficult task with the three of us, but the man’s strength and chivalry was SO appreciated.

I’m baking him cookies sometime this week.

My legs get more attractive by the day, lemme tell you.

(bruises from moving the dresser)

Studying for four exams within 7 days has been…a lot. But some bonafide pray, eat, move and groove action has made it all beautiful.

still doing workouts with Spartan buddy (feat. “the best chocolate milk in the world” – Ben)

getting peer pressured into going to Tasty Burger with friends on Sunday night instead of going straight to studying *shrugs* – worth it

banana pancakes!

chicken enchiladas with homemade sauce (← so much easier than I imagined)

5.3(!!) mile run with Janice and Justin (they definitely slowed down for me, but I think we all enjoyed it!)

Elayne made us a healthy skillet cookie one night before an exam ♥︎ 

study snackage

our friend Joy made blueberry cheesecake that night too, and it was phenomenal (we had some for breakfast the next day too heh)

chatting, studying and sharing a giant blueberry muffin with my girl Janice = happiness

Lastly, this happened before 10 am Sunday:

Rachel and I went to MET Back Bay for brunch, since their Croque Madame was on our food bucket list. LOOK AT IT. The photo does not do the cheese weight and deliciousness justice. The fries with crispy sage and garlic dipping sauce were also ridiculous. We split that and the California Hen House Hash…

…which was a deep skillet of potatoes, chicken, onions, peppers, 10 more pounds of cheese, avocado and two eggs.

Just as we needed to put our forks down before finishing that monstrously epic meal, I need to put my fingers to rest with this freaking long post.

Hope you all have a blessed week! You are so loved. Promise.

So tell me:

What is your dream (short term or long term)?

Three things that have made you smile this past week!

Best thing you’ve eaten recently. I am so spoiled and can’t even choose. Probably the croque madame though.

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Bittersweet

What is your record number of times you’ve moved within one year?

By the end of the summer I think I’ll be at 7. College student, ya know…c’est la vie.

This past week has been a bittersweet whirlwind as I’ve gotten to spend quality time with many of my best friends yet watch many of them graduate and move on to the next chapter of their lives. It happens every year, but it never gets easier.

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some of the beautiful grads straight outta Compton commencement

I also feel like I’ve kind of graduated, since I’m done with undergraduate studies and am now a graduate PT student, even though I don’t officially graduate until next year. So I tell my friends that I feel like an insignificant blob: “Am I an undergraduate? A senior? A grad student? I’m moving on, but not really. Most of my closest friends have graduated. I have to do adults things, but I’m still dependent on my parents.”

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Anyway, this past week was such a blessing. Buckle up, there’s a lot to catch up on!

Monday 

I went to coffee at Trident Cafe (one of those trendy bookstores/cafes) with my friend Connor, but we neither ordered coffee nor read books. We just sat there and had great convo for a while.

Later that night, I invited some non-senior friends who still hadn’t moved out yet to my apartment for dinner, ice cream, and High School Musical 3. It was the BEST.

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Tuesday

I worked from morning until afternoon on Tuesday, did 100 burpees for time at home (the fastest workout in all the land), then went to the Catholic Center to help our superwoman of an office director, Fran, set up and cook the annual dinner for our graduating seniors.

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we (“the help”) got our fair share of the delicious food as well!

Fran works exceptionally hard for our community, and even for this one event, she was up literally before dawn to make sure everything was perfect for the seniors. What a woman.

After dinner, some of the senior guys invited everyone over to their apartment for game night. We decided to play “Salad Bowl” (aka “fish bowl” to some), which is a cross between Catch Phrase, Taboo, and charades. Highly recommend this game for a crowd — ’twas a hilariously good time.

Wednesday

By the middle of the week, the temperatures were [finally] getting steamy and summery!

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I did one of my favorite workouts sometime in the morning before cooking a picnic lunch for my friend Casey and me. Casey has been a mentor and one of my best friends here at BU, and this was one of our last formal mentorship meetings since she was graduating.

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I made us some Korean BBQ salmon, sautéed frozen veggies and brown rice to eat by the Charles River on the gloriously warm and sunny day.

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My friend Briana left me with a bunch of frozen salmon and frozen veggies that sustained me during my last days on campus. Thanks, girl!

Casey and I ate and chatted for hours, so you know it was quality time.

That night, my friend Lauren invited people to go swing dancing at MIT, and you bet I came along to move and groove!

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Thursday

Domenica, Sarah and I (as non-seniors) helped out our dear senior friends with their photoshoot in the morning. Their photographer, Kelsey, was also among the graduating seniors, so she needed to be photographed too!

The following ten photos are property of my talented friend Kelsey!

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UGH I’M GOING TO CRY. I love them all so much.

After Mass that night, a bunch of us went out for $0.25 wings at Thornton’s! Wings aren’t my favorite things in the world, but I definitely couldn’t pass ’em up when they were so cheap. Plus, they had sauces other than buffalo (← yuck).

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4 BBQ, 4 teriyaki, 4 honey mustard = $3

Finger-lickin’ goodness.

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As the sun set, we headed over to Cafe 472 for some froyo. Domenica and I split a cup of vanilla peppermint that was super refreshing.

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I ended my night with some packing and more frozen veggie cooking, haha.

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sautéing them with fresh onions, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano makes them pretty gourmet, if I do say so myself

Friday

Graduations begin! First we attended the College of Communications graduation for Kelsey. Then we had a couple hours before the next graduation, during which I did a 20 minute workout in my apartment and inhaled lunch. We have a couple friends in the Business School, so we attended that one as well, but it was LONG.

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There were approximately 900 students in the school of business, so some of us had to leave for potty and snack breaks during the diploma presentations.

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I went home to pack some more afterwards, and Rachel kept me company and joined me for dinner!

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more of the same — this time, pesto salmon for me and sriracha salmon for her

Connor and Louis invited some friends over to their place to watch Shawshank Redemption, which neither Rachel nor I had ever seen. I could only stay for half since I needed to go to sleep early-ish, but I want to finish it soon!

Saturday

I needed to sleep early the night before so that I could work out with my fellow Spartan, Ben at 7am Saturday morning. We did a hodgepodge of things at the park, including suicide sprints, burpee pull-ups, planks, sit-ups, push-ups, and squats.

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I showered at home and took a nap before my parents arrived to help me move out of my BU apartment and into a friend’s apartment just for June and July. I so appreciated their help in making move-out/move-in so smooth! It was also just lovely to see Madre and Pop ♥︎

They took me and my friends out to lunch at a ramen place called Pikaichi, which was fantastic.

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fried shrimp shumai and fried chicken to start

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spicy miso ramen for me (finished it ALL)

Next I went to Mass and then rushed to work for a wedding in Cambridge all night. It was a Catholic couple who was looking for young and competent people to help out for the night, so a few friends and I hopped on the opportunity. It was a busy and tiring 7 hours, but also very fun to help make the couple’s night smooth and special.

We also got to eat some of their food, which included BBQ and Colombian food(!!!).

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Sunday

Another busy but wonderful day! It started off with the Neuroscience graduation for Rachel.

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She graduated summa cum laude and got invited into a prestigious honor society! What a babe!

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Rachel’s mom kindly took us out for brunch at Panera afterwards. I got something substantial to hold me through the long, school-wide commencement to follow.

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The weather was perfect for the big outdoor commencement — sunny, not too hot, not too cold. Sitting in the sun for 2+ hours gets intense no matter what, though, but check out these fun hats they provided!

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lol

Rachel’s mom, Dom and I were betting on how long it would take for the 6,300+ graduates just to process in and take their seats. We were thinking 15 minutes or less…It took 26.5 minutes.

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Yeesh. But the ceremony and the speakers were great. I’m so proud of these people!!!

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I spent the rest of the day and night with Rachel and her mom, who took care of me so well. Her mom took us out to all you can eat sushi and let me stay at her hotel for the night. What generosity! It was so fun spending time with both of them.

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Monday

Yesterday, I said goodbye to more friends who were either going back home, moving on to work elsewhere, or going on vacation. It was a gloomy day, which definitely reflected my emotions.

Some other happenings of the day included a killer workout…

…getting some work business done, unpacking, getting interviewed randomly by two women on the sidewalk, getting asked out to coffee but a completely random stranger on the sidewalk (I know, it was a weird day to be on the sidewalk), Mass, and hanging out with PJ and friends at since PJ is leaving for a long time 😦

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we shared nachos + I got chicken fajitas

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We will miss you, PJ!

And now here I am catching you up on these million and one things that have happened this past week from my mess of a bedroom.

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But while everything changes constantly, two things always remain the same: God and peanut butter in my breakfast.

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Hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday!

So tell me:

What have you been up to recently!?

Did you watch anyone graduate this month/did YOU graduate?

What’s your favorite party game?

What’s for breakfast?

 

Dear Alison… {A Look Back at 2015}

The last three days of 2015 have been going out with a bang, I’d say!

Some good food for the body…

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Some good food for the soul…

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dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house

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banana peach green tea slush in a BOWL (they know what’s right)

Some more Christmas cheer…

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my lovely family caroling for senior citizens

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talented gingerbread house designers

Some “big kid” fun in blizzard weather…

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smiling through the pain of freezing rain blowing into our faces

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delicious chicken taco because I was hangry waiting for ramen

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“sakepolitan” (alcoholic cranberry lime juice, essentially)

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ramen that hit. the. spot.

And lots of baby cuddling…

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photo creds to my uncle!

We also did yoga and bouldering yesterday! I felt like I was in Boulder, CO with all their fit, hip, and healthy citizens. It was a fun day!


Since today is the last day of 2015, I feel obliged to reflect on 2015 with my second annual letter-to-self. So without further ado, here are month-by-month letters to Alison (myself), highlighting the moments that made this year a beautiful and transformative one.
dear alison

Dear January Alison,

Well weren’t you just living it up in Florida!? Disney World, air boat rides, that time you almost ran into an alligator in the wild, your first spa day… What a way to kick off your year!

I forgot that you tried starting a budget spreadsheet. Haha. I also forgot that you posted a couple workouts and you did lots of burpees. You were a maniac with burpees.

You started your second semester of freshman year, but winter storm Juno shaved off what felt like half of your class time. Not that you were complaining.

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Dear February Alison,

Second semester kicked your bootay, despite the snow days you had every Monday. I’m proud of you for getting through anatomy, organic chemistry, linguistics, and a tedious writing class all in one go.

You also became a certified tour guide for Boston University, woohoo! I know you were stressed about remembering all the information, but you pulled through.

Lent started and you gave up music. THAT WAS HARD. But spring retreat with the Catholic Center totally recharged you and made you remember what truly matters.

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Dear March Alison,

You posted about your eating disorder struggles for NEDA week. That was heavy, but it was good for you to reflect on your progress and hopefully good for others who have similar struggles.

Spring break was a BLAST! You hung out with your BFF, Daliza, and I think this is when you realized that you have a college BFF too (Rachel!). Of course, y’all bonded over food. BIG TIME.

You joined intramural softball even though you hate baseball/softball. You weren’t good at softball and you’re still not good, but I hope you learned to try new things anyway.

You cried for the first time over schoolwork, but are you really in college if that doesn’t happen?

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Dear April Alison,

Wait whoa, this is your last month of freshman year already. You celebrated your first Easter away from home with some beautiful people.

First Boston Marathon experience! Watching it at least. Get pumped for another year of screaming your lungs out and getting inspired by the participants.

You learned even further that there’s more to life than food and fitness. I’m glad you expressed this.

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Dear May Alison,

Finished with freshman year, what whaaaat.

You went to Colorado (hiking was beautiful, but work on that lung capacity, eh?) and Blend Retreat, which was like a dream to you. Wasn’t it so cool to meet bloggers like Emily, Amanda, and Tina!? *starstruck*

Back at home, you started your physical therapy internship, which turned out to be an amazing experience.

Last but not least, you made one of the best decisions of the year in May— to take it easy with exercise and up the calorie intake.

Oh, you turned 19, which means you’re legal drinking age in Canada 🙂

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Dear June Alison,

Look atchu with your new short hair! I dig it, even if other people don’t.

Vlogs with Daliza are always a fun idea.

Don’t forget that stretching, mobility and progressions are crucial in terms of physical fitness. Be a good physical therapist.

You met Arman AND you FaceTimed Julia. Still recovering from the fan-girling.

You also met up with college friends in the city! So cute, cool, and college.

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Dear July Alison,

Fourth of July in Boston was the best weekend ever. Tori Kelly live in concert is even better than recorded. How?

You talked about 99.9% recovery and the idea that 100% recovery might never be attainable, but to be honest, I think you’re gonna have to do a followup on that post…

Oh yeah! You had jury duty! That was a good experience. But it’s nice that you don’t get called back for another few years.

The barefoot walk for sex trafficking awareness is something you should do every year.

Keep working on becoming a better grownup, but hey, keep being extraordinarily ordinary.

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Dear August Alison,

Rachel visited New York again! Fun times. Except when Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian ignored you. At least he retweeted you.

You made a lot of quick trips this month. First, you spent under 24 hours in Kansas City after a whole day of traveling there. The things we do for Midwestern hospitality. 😉 But seriously, St. Louis was lovely, especially since your baby cousin got baptized!

You and Pop also made a “quick” drive up to Canada for a few days, and you did cool things like bouldering and knife throwing.

Portland and Seattle are cool places. I think you need to go back there soon.

Two year blog anniversary, high five! Keep it up. I think you like this whole blogging thing.

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Dear September Alison,

You’re back at BU and loving it. So good to see your best friends again! Sophomore year, baby.

Also, don’t forget to own it. Yeah, you look stupid sometimes, but that’s what makes people/life not boring.

Kicking off a food bucket list with Rachel, I see. Typical you.

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Dear October Alison, 

Oof, you’re getting busy. But with really good things, like fall retreat.

Apple picking is still one of your favorite fall activities!

Also, first couples Halloween costume…with Rachel, haha! PB&J because you guys are so freaking predictable.

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Dear November Alison,

You finally asked Rachel to do a vlog with you! You guys also finished a whole tray of brussels sprouts. Please calm down.

There were a lot of emotions happening, especially with the terrorist attacks surfacing to the news. They really brought you back down to earth.

Thanksgiving was relaxing and wonderful in every way. Please always be this grateful.

Also, run. Even if you’re slow, just run if you feel like it, because you don’t hate it. I repeat: You don’t hate it.

OMG you also got something really exciting!!! Praise God.

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Dear December Alison,

Apparently, you have a “look of wellbeing.” I can tell you that it’s largely because of the people around you.

And just like that, half of sophomore year is done and gone.

Which brings me to this moment. Alison, never take what you have for granted and always trust in the Lord. Have no fear, because He has a good plan. I think this is the overarching theme of everything you’ve learned this year. Take this invaluable lesson and grow in it in 2016.

Keep on swimming.

-Alison on December 31, 2015


 

So tell me:

What would you tell yourself as you reflect on 2015?

Do you have any specific goals for 2016? Nothing specific for me. I’m not really a big New Year’s resolution person. I kinda just try to be better every day… #lame.

What are you doing for New Year’s? Hanging out with family here at my cousin’s house!

 

Is Boston Home Now?

Monday funday! (ha.)

We’re back to the grind here at Boston University, and I’m kind of happy about that. Although we only drove back and forth between Boston and New York, I felt wonky and jet-lagged back at home. When I arrived back in Boston last night, I couldn’t help but feel like BU was “home.” It’s where I have a routine, most of my belongings that I use on a regular basis, lots of friends, work, school…

It’s just weird to think that I’ve become attached to Boston already. I don’t know how I feel about that, but I’m just goin’ with the flow.

Nevertheless, I had a wonderful time in New York as I got to take naps, cook, eat some scrumdiddlyumptious breakfasts, and see family and friends again. I didn’t see everyone I wanted to see, but five days goes by a lot more quickly than you would think! My first reunion was with my fellow former dance company member, Susie! We caught up on life over some dang good peppermint tea. The tea warmed my belly as the conversation and company warmed my heart. ♥ {it’s easy being cheesy}

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It’s also easy being green. I thoroughly took advantage of the avocado toast, green smoothies, and brussels sprouts at home. Mm mm good.

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My favorite smoothie: Amanda’s oatmeal cookie dough smoothie with spinach added

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Oh and Madre’s cooking hit the spot every single time.

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She’s my hero.

On Friday I met up with the one and only “core four” for breakfast at the exact same restaurant as where we said our goodbyes before going off to college. How precious!

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Brunch in the exact same place as where we left each other.

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I ate a huge meal there because I was hungry and it was delicious. I had a big, fat Greek omelet that included spinach, tomatoes, and feta. It came with breakfast potatoes and whole wheat toast, and I pretty much housed all of it. I don’t play when it comes to my favorite meal of the day.

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Later on Friday night, I found this idea of placing leftover stuffing + egg in waffle maker. B.r.i.l.l.i.a.n.t. (I have no idea why I put periods in between each letter there, but I already did it. So be it.) But seriously, which one of you stuffing lovers wouldn’t absolutely adore crispy-on-the-outside stuffing in the shape of a waffle??

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C’mon now.

And if you don’t have a waffle iron, I would still approve of stuffing muffins. The real goal is to just maximize the surface area of crispiness.

I saw Daliza on Saturday and it didn’t even feel like a reunion because of her epic surprise two weeks ago. But we had a lovely time together as we always do! We don’t even need to take a picture together for proof. 😉

Sunday morning breakfast. Amanda’s banana bread breakfast bake OMG DO IT.

Then Sunday came and it was time to drive back up to Boston in some dreadful traffic. We rewarded ourselves with rockin’ ramen and bubble tea once we arrived after the 5.5 hour drive though!

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I miss home in New York, but I’m happy to be back in Boston, and I’m torn as to which place I really want to be at right now. Home is where I’m with people who make me smile and thrive, so I guess I am blessed to say that both NY and Boston are my homes.

I hope you all have a marvelous day! Hug a bunch of people…just because.

MiMM

Linking up with Katie!

So tell me:

One thing you did this weekend!

What is your favorite green food at the moment?

How did you use up some of your Thanksgiving leftovers?