What Moves You?

I GOT 14 HOURS OF SLEEP ON SUNDAY NIGHT.

I conked out a little before 7pm and woke up at almost 9am. I needed it though. This past week, I’ve gotten anywhere from 3-6 hours of sleep per night, but I am happy to report that this was mostly because of long, wonderful days.

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egg sandwich that I packed with me for my flight from Florida to Texas — very happy I brought this

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also very happy my flight provided Biscoff cookies 🙂

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Remember the Alamo!

As I said on Friday, I was in San Antonio, Texas for a Catholic conference called SEEK. The theme of the conference is, “What Moves You?”

So with almost 13,000 (!!!) other students (plus a whole lot of religious sisters and brothers, priests, missionaries, and others), we ventured on a four-day journey to reflect on this question.

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can you find Boston University?

Even though I felt like I was moving through a can of sardines the whole week, it was absolutely incredible to grow closer to Jesus Christ with so many other young people.

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Our days consisted of breakfast provided by our own BU missionaries (thanks so much1 ♥︎)…

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they even had pb because they’re the most considerate of souls

…followed by Adoration and Mass with over 13,000 people…

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…then a little Battle of the Sexes game show fun before our separate men’s and women’s talks. Fun fact: I was the contestant on Battle of the Sexes on the third day.

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thanks, Jaime 🙂

A little background: The men won the Battle of the Sexes the past two SEEK conferences. The score by the third day when I went up there was 4-3, women in the lead. But the men had one more lifeline, while the women had used both of them by third day (we had two total for the week — ask the audience and ask a religious). So the pressure of regaining the title for 7,000+ women was on my shoulders. Good thing I had a very strong sense of, “Trust in God; this isn’t about you,” in my heart by the third day.

Rachel filmed this for me:

Funny how I didn’t know the second question, which had to do with women’s rights… Rachel said the night before, “They chose the worst possible person for this.” A little bitter about that comment, but she’s not entirely wrong.

It ended in a tie (he got two right, I got one right), so later that night there was a tiebreaker that THE WOMEN WON. I’m convinced that Our Lady of Victory was interceding for us 😉

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Anyway, after the Battle of the Sexes and the respective men’s and women’s talks, we all broke for lunch, which was provided every day.

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always some variation of sandwich, chips, cookie, and water

After lunch, we had two 40-minute breakout sessions. There were so many talks to choose from each time. Throughout the week, we were blessed to hear a plethora of phenomenal speakers provide inspiration, insight, information, apologetics, and testimonies about different topics in the Catholic faith.

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The second talk ended at 4:45pm, and then we were on our own for dinner. We usually went for some Tex-Mex food, because…we were in Texas.

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tacos and tamales are my faves

Although, one night my Californian friend, Sarah, took us to In-N-Out — apparently an essential experience for all of us who had never been.

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“They all just look so happy there.”

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regular cheeseburger, no onions + vanilla shake

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thanks for the photo, Domenica!

‘Twas delicious!! Even if I was stuffing it into my face in our Uber as we rushed back to the conference that night.

At night, we would have a keynote at 7pm, followed by different programming each night. One night there was adoration with all 13,000 people (chillingly powerful). Another night there was a comedy show by Michael Jr. Another night there was a performance by The Oh Hellos (if you like folk rock, you HAVE to check them out!). Another night, my friends and I ditched the programming and bought ourselves ice cream from CVS.

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ice cream and fellowship  ♥︎ 

Also, San Antonio is a pretty sweet city. Everyone is so kind; it kinda throws off us northeasterners a bit.

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our mascot living his best life in San Antonio

So now to answer the question, “What moves you?”

After this SEEK conference, here’s what I’ve learned moves me:

  1. The unchanging nature of things, especially the unchanging nature of being a woman in a world where the model of femininity is constantly changing (see Lisa Cotter’s talk for more on this!).
  2. The Law of God, which is based on love.
  3. God’s Mercy and the mercy of others in my life.
  4. The fact that, although there are logical reasons to believe God exists, “for most of us, God is not a hypothesis; He is a personal experience.” – Matt Fradd
  5. “We are not the sum of our failures and weaknesses. We are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son.” – St. John Paul II
  6. “God is not just the destination; He is the inspiration.” – John O’Leary
  7. The fervent prayer and worship of so many young people, as well as their support, kindness, and drive to use their talents for the sake of the Kingdom.
  8. The sight of lively and radiant nuns, brothers, friars, priests, and religious.
  9. God not just being a big part of my life but God being my life.
  10. The fact that a guilty conscience is helpful, but shame is not from God.
  11. The gift of writing, which is so helpful for focusing during prayer.
  12. The fact that what breaks my heart breaks God’s heart.
  13. The honest and vulnerable testimonies of men and women from every (and I mean every) walk of life.
  14. “If God is going to spend so much time designing the unique circular patterns on your fingertips, how much more will He care about the love that is in your heart?” -Sr. Bethany Madonna
  15. “You will become what you love.” – Leah Darrow
  16. Just as we can’t exercise and then go feed ourselves with whatever crap foods we want, we can’t just go to church/pray and then feed ourselves with media and activities that point us away from God. It’s a lifestyle.
  17. Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist.13782242_1136742099682279_7064718394112318411_n
  18. These people:

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the Boston University crew! thanks for the pic, Veronica!

So tell me:

What moves YOU?

A fun fact or two about last week!

Have you ever been to In-N-Out before? 

Someone Just Send Me to My Room For Bedtime, Please

I have never been so grateful for clean drinking water that is so readily available to me.

The weather here in New York has been tropical this summer! Hot (well, duh), raining in random patches, and always pretty humid. Needless to say, it has been a sweat fest here and I’ve been guzzling water all the livelong day.

Walking, running, standing, sitting — always sweating. Especially this weekend! Here’s what went down.

(Oh, and thank you all for your sweet words on the blog anniversary post! ♥︎)

Friday

I had never been so exhausted from work. Friday was only a little bit more physically demanding than any other work day, but MAN. I was honestly a tiny bit afraid of falling asleep on my drive back home (I knew I could make it though, don’t worry Mom and Dad). I think I ate enough. Maybe it was lack of sleep (thanks, Olympics).

I planned on working out after work, but nay to that. I sat on the couch and quasi-napped for three hours when I got home. Then I got a second wind at 10 pm thanks to a snack, watching track and field at the Olympics, and a spontaneous FaceTime with Rachel. Then I went to bed at almost midnight..yet again.

Someone needs to send me to my room to just read and go to sleep. I need disciplining like an 8-year-old, help.

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this almond and peanut butter with dried fruits and seeds (“Mad River Mojo”) from Stowe, VT is magical

Saturday

I did a quick 12 minute workout (12 Minute Athlete style) in the morning before showering and eating breakfast. I had a NYC date with two college friends that day!

3 rounds (30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest):

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banana bread baked oatmeal with peanut butter and Greek yogurt

I got to Grand Central and walked to Penn Station to meet my friend, Dana. It was a brisk 22 minute walk in the city heat, so going from that to standing in the oven subway station, I was soaked.

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So happy to see Dana! Not happy that our subway was delayed for almost half an hour though.

We finally made it to the Governors Island ferry station, where our friend Cassandra was patiently waiting for an hour. So sorry, girlfran. It was also down-pouring when we got there, which shocked Dana and me as we emerged from underground (that makes us sound like Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog).

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But one quick ferry ride over to Governors Island…

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…and we met clear-ish skies once again!

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As soon as we stepped foot onto the island, Dana asked, “Can we get lunch?” Praaaaise.

We walked around to explore our options, and we found a fun food truck hub.

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I chose Yaki Taco for three tacos: curry beef, chicken, and panko fried fish, which were all messy and delicious.

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“Don’t bother me. I’m eating.” ← name that old commercial slogan!

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they all look identical, but the meats are hidden under the slaw and “yum yum sauce”

Cassandra shared some of her cheese fries with us too. Ooooo, baby.

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you know it’s America when the cheese is more yellow than the Asian-Americans eating them the water bottle in the background

I knew I had to get some of this overpriced, organic ice cream from the Blue Marble stand.

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I got “The Governor” flavor, which the lady told me was a vanilla base with Grape Nuts oat clusters, caramel, and “white velvet” cake pieces. White velvet? You mean…vanilla cake?

#marketing

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it was still tasty, so I won’t hold it over her

With happy bellies, it was time to explore the island!

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peep Lady Liberty in the background

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After a few hours, we took the ferry back to Manhattan, where we parted ways. I walked back to Penn station while they went off to Brooklyn Bridge, since I wanted to make it back home in time for Mass with the fam, even though I probably reeked of sweat and city grime.

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I loved hanging out with Cassandra and Dana! Thanks, ladies, for a great time catching up and exploring the city (and for loving food as much as I do).

If you’re ever looking for a cheap but lovely and family-friendly NYC pit stop, check out Governors Island! I loved it.

After Mass, the family wanted to go to our favorite local Mexican restaurant. More tacos? Why not?

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maragarrrrrrita for the big man

I actually passed on more tacos and got the restaurant’s special salad and shared a good portion of mom’s rice (I ♥︎ Mexican rice).

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Also, can we look at the whole farm that was smashed between Ben’s cemita (sandwich on sesame seed bun)?

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in the words of Pop: “there’s like a whole flank steak on that”

Later at home, I ate half a giant peach (where’s James at??) + two warmed up oatmeal dried fruit cookies (from Christmas still!).

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And since I am so bad at going to sleep at a reasonable time, I also snacked on Wheat Thins, the world’s most underrated cracker.

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I went to sleep past 2 am.

Sunday

I “slept in” until 9:30, which isn’t sleeping in that much given the time I went to bed.

At least I did something productive the night before— prepping this overnight oatmeal smoothie inspired by Kath’s peach dough boy smoothie. I added a spoonful of peanut butter + half a large frozen banana and spinach in the morning.

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the fluffiest I’ve had in a long time!!

After doing some computer work and cleaning, I geared up for outdoor moves and grooves.

I’ve been wanting to do hill sprints for a while now, so I finally had the time and energy to do them yesterday. BUT HOLY FREAKING COW FLYING OVER THE MOON.

My lungs were not ready for the annihilation. It was also hot out!

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Why would anyone want to take the path of charity, humility, chastity, and sacrifice for the sake of God's Kingdom? Because "Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed." Hebrews 12:11-13 from Mass today. Similarly, I was thinking during this hill sprint workout: WHY THE HECK would anyone want to do hill sprints!? EVER. I don't run and I definitely don't sprint and I most certainly don't sprint up hills. Until today. I thought I was going to give up or maybe die (#dramatic), but just as in the faith, we run our way up that grueling hill over and over again, no matter how long the whole workout/faith journey takes us, and we become better for it. 5-4-3-2-1 hill sprints with this circuit between each round: 10 curb burpees 20 Russian twists each side 30 mountain climbers each leg 20 air squats 10 push-ups #faith #fituniversity @gofitu

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After one sprint, I was literally saying to myself repeatedly, “I’m dying.” But I also kept telling myself, “I can do this. I know I can.”

I thought about Allyson Felix, Usain Bolt, my track star friends from high school, and Jesus Christ for inspiration.

The workout:

5-4-3-2-1 hill sprints (approx. 125 m) with the following circuit between each set:

  • 10 curb burpees
  • 20 Russian twists each side
  • 30 mountain climbers each leg
  • 20 air squats
  • 10 pushups

It took me almost an hour to finish, because I needed to take a break and double over to breathe many times.

It sucked but it was…fun? Is that what athletes feel?

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immediate post workout snack

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late lunch sandwich: greens, Madre’s homemade pickled carrots and radishes, turkey, swiss, mustard, and sriracha + unpictured carrots and artichoke hummus

The rest of the evening involved showering, typing this blog post, and talking on the phone with Apple Support for my temperamental keyboard. The problem seems to be fixed for now though!

I’m also listening to old Hannah Montana music for kicks. I used to be obsessed.

I better go pack for Ireland and do important things before the Rio closing ceremonies comes on. Lord knows I will want to stay up for those.

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banana bread mug cake with Greek yogurt for a late night snack after dinner

Hope you guys have a sweet week! This one’s my last week of work at the rehab hospital already!

So tell me:

Are you good about getting to bed at a regular time? 

Have you ever done hill sprints? Did you die?

What is your guilty pleasure music from the past?

Weekend Confessions

weekend confessions

It’s been a while since I confessed to you all (because I don’t already bare my innermost thoughts to you on a weekly basis already).

So some confessions from the weekend:

Confession #1: I watched Me Before You with Daliza on Friday night, and I was crying my eyes out with all the other middle school girls in the theater. In my defense, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room except for Daliza’s. She was laughing at the rest of us.

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Confession #2: I loved and hated the movie. Loved because it was a very sweet romance (I’m a sucker). Plus, British accents. Hated because I have some qualms about the ending.

Confession #3: After the movie, I went home for a really cute baking date at home with a British guy ❤

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Cookie & Kate’s banana bread in muffin form

That guy would be Jamie Oliver. On Youtube. It was like a Skype cooking date, except we were cooking different things and he has no idea I exist.

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fresh out of the oven with a big smear of cinnamon raisin peanut butter from Stowe + glass o’ milk!

Confession #4: Dad’s birthday was on Saturday, but he did more work and service than I (and many people) did that day. He’s a star.

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Saturday’s breakfast: full fat Greek yogurt with cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds, banana, banana muffin, and almond butter

Confession #5: Mom and I bought so much {rather expensive} food at the farmers’ market on Saturday with the reasoning that “we are supporting the locals.”

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I’m sorry, how many dollars?

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foraging in my natural habitat

I love special nut butters, but there are very few times I am willing to drop $13 for a standard jar.

Confession #6: I totally snacked my way through lunch at the farmers’ market. I love how you never fail to get excessive amounts of carbs and cheese at farmers’ markets.

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side confession: this fresh apple waffle was probably the best waffle I’ve EVER eaten — so doughy!

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this apple strudel is legit

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side confession: this tasted no different from chocolate cow milk, but that’s not a bad thing

Confession #7: I may never get tired of tacos.

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one carne enchilada + one chicken taco

Pop chose a local Mexican restaurant for his birthday dinner, and Mom and I could not be more pleased with his decision 😉

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he got a huge frozen margarita for his special day — atta boy

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chicken and pork chilaquiles as an appetizer to share

Confession #8: I always forget how wonderful one-on-one walks are. Pop and I took a late night walk through our humid and dark neighborhood. Good convo with a great man.

Confession #9: I indulged in more sweets on Pop’s birthday than on my own birthday. The farmers’ market lured Madre and I into buying many baked goods, sooooo, like, you gotta eat some while they’re fresh, right?

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a slice of apple strudel a la mode + a piece of this gluten/dairy/grain/everything-free blueberry scone

Confession # 10: I play eenie-meenie-miney-mo (sp?) for a lot of my trivial life decisions. Example: yesterday’s breakfast was a toss-up between three of Amanda’s recipes: oatmeal cookie dough smoothie, banana oat french toast bake, and chunky monkey pancakes.

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banana oat french toast bake won – topped with cinnamon raisin pb + glass o’ milk

Confession #11: I put Greek yogurt on my beef yesterday.

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LISTEN. It’s like sour cream if it’s full fat Greek yogurt (I’m saying this mostly to defend myself from my non-blogger friends, who think that even peanut butter with yogurt is weird).

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also had a hunk of a huge cheese biscuit…from the farmers’ market

Confession #12: The workout I did on Saturday left me quiiiiiite sore on Sunday. It was:

5 rounds of 10 Bulgarian split squats each leg + 3 wall walks. Then…

3 rounds (30 sec work, 10 sec rest):

  • burpees
  • alternating split lunges with 10# DB
  • toe touch + split sit-up
  • push-up with knee tap
  • high knees
  • heel tap burpees

I’m sorry. Half of those exercises probably mean NOTHING to you, because they are not conventional exercises that have real names.

Confession #13: When I did this 60 minute vinyasa yoga with Leigha Butler yesterday, I spent about 25% of the time staring at her doing poses beyond my anatomical capacity.

Confession #14: When I went on a walk with Madre yesterday, I was walking at maybe 2 mph because my butt was so sore.

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a slow incline that felt like a mountain – but look at how mystical this is!

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Confession #15: We secretly live near a rainforest.

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…that happens to have evergreens

Confession #16: I decided to watch home videos with mom last night because all I wanted were warm fuzzies.

Confession #17: Dinner last night was pita bread and veggies with hummus, these baked zucchini, and desserts…from the farmers’ market.

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Hope you all have a fantastic week! Support local businesses 🙂

So tell me:

What is your experience with farmers’ markets? Do you get giddy like I do? Do you give in to buying more expensive things than you normally would to #SupportLocal?

Do you ever play eenie-meenie-miney-mo to make life decisions?

Two fun things you did this weekend!

What do you think of Me Before You if you read/saw it?

48 Hours Unplugged

I’ve never experienced the feeling of time slowing down until last week.

I had the privilege of spending a few days in (relatively) upstate New York with two of my best friends, Fiona and Rachel. Fiona was so generous as to let us stay at her 106-year-old (!!) summer house, located in a secluded yet beautiful town.

Monday

On Monday, Fiona and Rachel drove down from Boston to my house. I cooked us a little rather large din din of caprese chicken + spicy pork chops + roasted broccoli (which was epic, not gonna lie) + avocado toast. Lots of leftovers for the ‘rents!

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plus avocado toast!

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beautiful food, even more beautiful people

I also made them one of my favorite recipes of all time— Amanda’s banana bread mug cake. Alongside some of Emily’s delicious peanut butter chocolate chip cookies + glasses o’ milk!

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Tuesday

After spending a night at Fiona’s house, we ate breakfast and then drove up to her summer house on Tuesday afternoon.

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made some banana oatmeal for the ladies

Rachel DJ’d in the car, and it was a classic grooves-mobile fest with backseat dancing and off-pitch sing-alongs.

And in no time, we arrived at the summer house!

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Fiona calls it her “heaven on earth”, and I can 100% see why she does. There may not have been any cell service or wifi, but there were crystal clear waters, breathtaking views, and foliage for dayzzzz.

We were only at her summer house for 2.5 days, but it felt like we were there for a week. Fiona did warn us that time slows down at this place, but I didn’t believe her until I experienced it.

Look at how cute it is!

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When we arrived, Fiona gave us a tour of the grounds, and then we went into town to buy groceries for the next few days.

The ONE stressor I had during the trip was when I got a call from my job (which I start today) about a form that I never received via email but that I needed to fill out, sign, and send by the next morning. It was actually a miracle that we were in town getting groceries when I got that call, because if we were back at the summer house, I never would have known because there’s no service there. Thank God for smart phones, because I was able to access my email, fill out the form, sign it digitally, and send it back in time.

Anyway.

Chips, salsa, PB&J’s and salads for lunch!

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Followed by a lovely little hike to the waterfall.

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self-timing it on a waterfall

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UGH so cool.

The rest of the night involved reading, playing Clue, eating chili (that Fiona’s mom made and sent up with us!) and s’mores!

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Chili and fires in the summer? Ya. ‘Twas pretty chilly up there actually (plus no heat). Rachel saved our cold butts with her fire-making skills. So Midwestern.

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*ding*

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I made “fluffernutter” s’mores with peanut butter instead of chocolate — 10/10 recommend

We snuggled into our beds by 10:30 pm (!!!). After some girl chat, we fell asleep to the sound of a legit babbling brook that flows by her house. People pay good money for that sound!

Rachel and I could not stop saying, “This is a dream. This is out of a novel.”

Wednesday

In an effort to gain feeling in my frozen feet in the morning, I went outside for some moves by the babbling brook. I did Jess’ lean legs workout (with some modifications).

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I still couldn’t feel my feet after I finished the workout. They were ice cubes.

Nothing a good breakfast can’t fix though! Pancakes for breakfast!

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We made buttermilk pancakes from a mix (added chocolate chips and/or banana) and ate them with a slew of toppings (peanut butter with the richest full fat vanilla Greek yogurt for me) and glasses o’ milk in cute mason jars. Eaten out on the porch. DREAMZ I TELL YOU.

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After breakfast, we spotted beavers, played Sequence, did each others’ hair, tanned on the deck, and plunged ourselves into the freezing cold river as per Fiona’s tradition.

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so cold, so exhilarating

We had a late lunch of tacos with all the works.

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Followed by more reading, relaxing, and probably some napping. We decided on movie night with s’mores for dinner.

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“You look like a frog.” – Rachel

We did a double feature of The Notebook and Hairspray. It was my first time watching both! (I know, I know. I’m only an eon behind on watching The Notebook.)

Thursday

Our last day at the summer house started with leftover pancakes…

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…cleaning, packing, reading (I finished The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis— also 10/10 recommend!), hiking…

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photos cannot do this view justice

…and a farewell to the summer house (for now!).

Back at Fiona’s house (and back to 432872 notifications on our phones), we ate a light dinner. Then Fiona took us to Bellvale Farms Creamery, aka the most incredible ice cream place of all time.

First of all, the drive to this place was beautiful. Secondly, we passed by the actual Bellvale Farm (like, we basically said hi to the cows that made the milk in our ice cream).

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Thirdly, their ice cream flavors were excellent. I had “Calf Trax” (vanilla ice cream with peanut butter swirl and mini peanut butter cups) + cookies ‘n’ cream in a waffle cone. No words. Fourthly, this is the view right outside their doors:

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I won’t stop thinking about it for the rest of the summer.

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Rachel and I are gonna make sure Fiona gets engaged at this spot.

Our night ended with watching The Intern (such a sweet movie!) and deep chats.

Friday

I think I’m allergic to Fiona’s cat (whose meows sound like a whining human) because I scratched my eye so hard in my sleep that I woke up with my eye half shut and swollen. Whoops.

I made us some more oatmeal and then we headed out for some tennis! Fiona is actually good at tennis, Rachel can hold a good volley, and I spent most of my time fetching the tennis balls that I hit out of the court.

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For our last meal together, we went to Fiona’s favorite local Mexican restaurant. We shared guac to start, and I ordered a chicken and a vegetable taco.

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fabulous

I am beyond grateful to have spent such a rejuvenating and beautiful week with two of my best friends. Thank you so much again, Fiona. ♥︎ I miss you both already!

Something valuable I learned from those 48 hours unplugged is that, truly, you have so much time when you’re not always on your phone/playing music/checking emails. I was able to focus on one task at a time, reflect, and do a lot without the distraction of technology. I’ll keep all this in mind as I start work today (I’ll talk more about that later!) and continue on with my life.

So tell me:

Have you ever spent an extended amount of time in a place with no service?

What was the best thing you did last week?

Do you have a special place where you like can retreat? 

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!