A Deep Breath of Gratitude

I could C R Y.

It’s been oh so long, friends. Posting this blog post (after a 2+ month hiatus) feels like a huge virtual hug to any person out there who is reading this right now.

This semester has been a wild ride. Graduate school (+ life / growth / relationships) has proven to be quite different and much more challenging than I could have expected, but c’est la vie, eh?

But in the spirit of {American} Thanksgiving tomorrow, I thought this would be a fine time to take a hot minute to breathe and show gratitude for the things of life — the happy, the hurt, and every detail in between.

This semester…

I’ve experienced profound friendships.

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I’ve studied more than I ever have, but at the same time earned the most humbling and disappointing grades in my college career.

I’ve eaten some good-for-the-soul food.

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I’ve doubted my ability to become a competent physical therapist several times.

I’ve been ceaselessly encouraged by friends, family, and God to keep on keeping on.

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I’ve seen blue skies, gray skies, purple skies, and orange skies.

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I’ve had fun nights filled with line dancing, cheers-ing, and singing at the top of my lungs.

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I’ve had nights that didn’t seem to end even when the sun rose.

I’ve seen friends, family and strangers with even longer nights of the soul than I could imagine.

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I’ve made myself some wholesome foods.

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I’ve made myself think I’m eating wholesome foods.

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I’ve felt hurt in ways that I’ve never felt before.

But I’ve felt joy and the feeling of being cared for in ways that I’ve never felt before.

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I’ve seen what it means to be among beautiful women of God, who love to the very end.

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I’ve hurt others in ways I never intended but still wish I never did.

I’ve had to humble myself and apologize for my wrongdoings, which happen more times than I can count.

I’ve accomplished things in mind, soul, and body through God’s grace, and I’ve seen others do even more.

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I’ve seen tears of sadness, tears of guilt, tears of anger, and tears of joy.

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I’ve cried until I didn’t know why I was crying, and I’ve smiled until I didn’t know why I was smiling.

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I’ve dropped the ball in some friendships and allowed others to help me pick it up.

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I’ve seen God in every single day, in all of these things which remind me that, although we are dying, we are living all the more. I am beyond thankful for every person and every motion of the heart that has made this semester, this year, this LIFE… something beautiful.

God is good. All the time.

p.s. if you want to read something nourishing for the soul, please do yourself a favor and check out my friend Kelsey’s blog – she writes about beauty and about humanity so eloquently it hurts.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am grateful for you.

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Current Simple Joys

Life is hectic and cluttered enough, so let’s keep things simple today.

current simple joys

Snow days.

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{last Thursday}

Making waffles with my roommate on said snow day.

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and glasses of milk in mason jars

Ecstatic Californian friends who have never experienced a snow day before (@Sarah).

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crooked smiles because I’m pretty sure the left side of my face was frozen

Sipping hot cocoa and talking about the mystery of the universe with friends after coming inside from the frigid cold.

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Situations/statements that make me or someone else laugh like an idiot.

When people do spot-on impressions of other people.

Workout dates with Christina.

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Followed by lunch dates + good lighting for food photos.

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@ Mei Mei’s Street Kitchen – we shared corn fritters…

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…and I got a classic double awesome 

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When my best friend gets me a piece of carrot cake with a glass o’ milk at the dining hall.

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Waking up after less than 7 hours of sleep but still feeling alert.

Bending over to stretch and letting blood rush to my head after a long day.

Perfect avocados.

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Which turn into perfect avocado egg toasts.

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When hundreds of gross anatomy flashcards pay off.

Friends who are undyingly loving of one another.

Gelato on sale.

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Painting my nails while studying.

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Standing close to the stage for an acoustic concert with my best friend.

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Hailey Knox opened – she is insanely talented!!!

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just supporting my close pals

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they are incredible ♥︎ 

Discovering a new song to play on repeat.

Breakfast that’s already made.

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Having pockets of time to move and groove in some way every day.

Mountains of guacamole.

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not a joy – stomach ache after eating this whole thing #whoops

FaceTiming with the family.

Having something to look forward to this weekend (retreat + long weekend + Rachel turning 21!).

So tell me:

Three current simple joys in your life!

What are you doing this weekend?

Quiet and Cozy Thanksgiving

I’m such a procrastinator.

But that’s not news, right? I have yet to do any significant studying for my two exams or any additional preparation for my seven-page paper due next week. I’m telling myself that something WILL get done today.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. –Mark Twain

^^^It’s so harddddddd.

Instead of complaining any further though, I should embrace the attitude of gratitude. ‘Tis the season! It has been a relaxing and lovely two days spent with my family so far, but I started off my holiday break in Boston with a breakfast date!

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My dear friend Emma invited me to her apartment to make some FlapJacked pancakes (that I still had from BLEND!) and eggs. We finished all the pancakes and were pretty embarrassed when her apartment-mate asked if there were any left. #shame.

I arrived home with mom late Tuesday night, and since then I’ve been eating, hangin’ with my family, and procrastinating catching up on social media. Because I’m never on social media during school…

Wednesday involved eating, clothes shopping, grocery shopping, eating sushi, cooking, eating, gym, and eating.

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Kylie’s simple paleo pancake (SO FREAKING FLUFFY!) with copious amounts of peanut butter and pomegranate seeds + glass o’ milk

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late sushi lunch with mom mid-shopping

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gym with Pop

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homemade crab cakes! + plain Greek yogurt + sriracha

Ben came home late that night, so I stayed up late chatting with him. My eyes were nearly glued shut getting up for church the next morning, but it was worth the QT with the bro.

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starting Thanksgiving Day thanking God from whom all things flow

After Mass, we headed home to get cookin’! I fueled myself with overnight oats in a jar before transforming into a wannabe Barefoot Contessa. I was in charge of all the side dishes, and I asked mom to be in charge of the turkey so that I wouldn’t overcook it again.

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my love — stuffing 

In addition to bread, we used some leftover buttery croissants for the stuffing. Go big, friends.

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best roasted sweet potatoes

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rosemary thyme roasted baby potatoes

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honey balsamic roasted brussels sprouts and string beans

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cornbread muffins

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da bird

We actually ended up undercooking the turkey at first, so it was a fiasco trying to cook the parts that were still raw while keeping the perfectly-cooked parts separate. You’d think we would have this down after 15+ years, but…guess not. Nevertheless, the turkey turned out delicious and juicy!

I also went on a nice walk with Dad at the park after I finished cooking. It was the perfect, brisk weather for a Thanksgiving walk.

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Then we came home with a hefty appetite and dug in!

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The stuffing, rosemary potatoes, and cornbread muffins were my favorite. I know you know the carbs are the best part.

Speaking of carbs. Best for last!

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apple pie a la mode

We finished at around 6pm, so the rest of the night involved watching Chopped, writing this post, and just appreciating the presence of family. (Imaginary audience: “AWWWWWWW.”)

I feel fortunate that each year, Thanksgiving becomes a lot easier, mentally speaking. This year, I didn’t feel nervous about the amount or density of food that would be available to me, and I think that is because I allow myself to eat heavy foods outside of holiday occasions. I was definitely stuffed by the end of the night, but it just felt like a bigger meal, which is probably a monthly/biweekly occurrence.

As Julia so beautifully wrote, we just need to be kind to ourselves. I didn’t finish every bite on my plate, and I didn’t have pie immediately after dinner with the rest of my family because I wanted to digest for an hour or so. I still ate a lot of delicious food, including pie, but I didn’t feel (self-imposed) pressure to eat or not to eat.

As for working out, I joined my dad when he went to the gym the night before, but I just did a fun strength workout without focusing on calorie burn. On Thanksgiving day, we walked. We went with the flow.

I did not get to this point overnight, so I implore you to not be discouraged if you still struggle with restrictive temptations or anxious feelings during the holidays. In fact, there are many non-holiday instances during which I still feel anxious over food. Recovery is always a work in progress, but every effort to combat disordered habits and thought processes is valuable.

Tonight we’re going out to NYC to eat more. Not before I get some work done though!!!

So tell me:

How did you spend {American} Thanksgiving?

Favorite food from the feast?

Three non-obvious/random/quirky things you’re thankful for! yoga pants, clean public bathrooms, and towels that absorb really well

2015 Summer Bucket List Review

Time passes these days like:

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[source]

I was never even a Harry Potter fan (sorry), but somehow this gif makes me feel like I should be emotional.

Speaking of emotions, I have a whole cocktail of those happening inside me right now.

  • Disappointment that summer is over
  • Contentment with how much I’ve learned this summer
  • Excitement for going back to my beloved Boston
  • Nervousness for how things will unfold this school year
  • Sadness that I’ll have to say goodbye to my family (…and the kitchen)
  • Gratitude for everything

I made a summer bucket list back in May, and it is now time for tasting and judgement to see how well I did! Before I take a look, I’m going to say that I think I got at least 50% of the items done. Fingers crossed.

1) Go to the beach (with Colby hopefully!)

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not with Colby unfortunately, but with friends at BU!

2) Get a decent spot at a Tori Kelly concert

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almost got stuck behind a 6’5″ dude, but Tori was incredible

3) Go on an easy hike with friends

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I’m counting the one in Portland…with family

4) Watch a movie in the theater

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5) Watch The Parent Trap ➔ {sadly, I never found the opportunity to find and watch this classic}

6) Meet up with Arman in New York City

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wish I had time to meet up with him again!

7) Improve my handstand and other yoga arm balances

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still working on it! trying to get proper alignment first and foremost

8) Come up with at least three new recipes ➔ {got at least four!…even though I almost never measured the recipe exactly}

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energy balls

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mango banana chia seed pudding

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best roasted sweet potatoes ever

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strawberries ‘n’ cream smoothie

9) Get my full splits back (semi-comfortably) ➔ {you’ll just have to believe me on this one}

10) Re-read The Story of a Soul ➔ {nope…but I did start Unbroken!}

11) Eat a Dairy Queen Blizzard

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12) Learn most of the muscles in the body (there is a diagram on the wall at my PT internship, and I’ve been studying it every day when I have free time) ➔ {wrote them down but didn’t LEARN them}

13) Go to a farmers’ market ➔ {I feel like I did, but I don’t think I actually did…}

14) Find an occasion to which I could wear a maxi dress, and wear a maxi dress for said occasion ➔  {wore a maxi skirt to the wedding rehearsal dinner in Seattle, which is good enough}

15) Watch the sunrise ➔ {I’m counting my watching the sunrise while driving to Toronto}

16) Hold an L-sit for 10-15 seconds ➔ {I think I may have underestimated myself, because I think accomplished this the day after I posted my bucket list}

17) Do another vlog with Daliza

Questions Nobody Asks

18) Have a picnic with a friend ➔ {I wish!}

19) Gain weight (for real) ➔ {update on that whole shebang coming soon}

20) FaceTime with bloggers ➔ {FaceTimed Julia from Lord Still Loves Me!}

I completed 15/20!! I’ll take 75%.

I can’t forget about the food bucket list either! I completed…six. I made peach blueberry cobbler a la mode, chili, peanut butter cookies and fish cakes, and I ate Bareburger (twice) and a meatball sub at Festa Italiana. But I also cooked up a lot of new things this summer that were not on the list, so I’m happy!

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Liv’s sweet potato lentil chili!

food bucket list


I also accomplished a lot this summer that I did not originally set out to accomplish!

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Needless to say, it’s been a fun and blessed summer. Now it’s time to move ahead into the school year for more adventures!

So tell me:

Two things you accomplished this summer that you wanted to accomplish.

Two amazing things you ate/cooked this summer.

Two things you accomplished this summer that you weren’t planning on doing.

The Great and Small Things I Learned {College Semester I}

Beautiful friends of the earth, HELLO!

I’m done with my first semester of college and my mind is blown. I am typing up this post from my cozy home in New York, and I could not be happier to be on winter break for a month(!) spending time with family and friends. I am, however, going to dearly miss my friends from BU!

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Finals are over, and I have concluded three things: I still despise statistics, I love psychology, and a good breakfast that involves peanut butter and banana makes any morning of a final exam better.

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Post-chemistry-final distress selfie

Mom picked up brother Ben and me from Boston yesterday, and I’m happy to report that our drive home was much swifter than our drive back home for Thanksgiving break. I drove most of the way home, and we were cruisin’ right along. Thank God!

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My last Boston meal for the semester was grilled lemongrass chicken with rice and veggies from a delicious Vietnamese takeout place. Hit the spot.

The Great and Small Things I Learned This Semester

Needless to say, college teaches you things. Of course you obtain your book smarts and knowledge of this awesome universe in which we live, but some of the most valuable things are learned by just living life away from home and getting out of that sweet comfort zone. So without further ado, here are some of the great and small things I’m taking away from my first semester at Boston University!

(P.S. I’m typing this list while listening to OneRepublic’s song, I Lived. It’s awesome inspiration music.)

  1. Holding doors for other people and having the door held for you is an easy way to make you smile.
  2. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t have plans on a Friday or Saturday night. In fact, it’s often preferable.
  3. The fruit crisps are the best desserts in the dining halls (a la mode, of course). Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset
  4. The communal bathrooms will get gross, but you live through it.
  5. I still don’t know the names of all the guys on my floor (is that a good thing?).
  6. I have the best roommate!

    Happy birthday to the coolest roommate out there!!! 💃 #BUmovesandgrooves

    A post shared by Alison (@alison_grooves) on

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  7. Dorm workouts can make you as sweaty as a gym workout. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
  8. But nothing beats an outdoor workout by the river. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
  9. And running is oooooookayyyy…I guess. 😉Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
  10. 10 AM classes are ideal. Not too early, not too late.
  11. Always snag bananas from the dining hall. You can never have too many bananas.
  12. “Room keys, ID card, room keys, ID card, room keys, ID card, PHONE!” <— an important thing that needs to run through my mind whenever I leave the room.
  13. It is possible to make best friends in just three months.bu friends
  14. I’m the “mom” of the group.Processed with Moldiv
  15. Hugging gets you through the day/week/life.
  16. Statistics is poopy.
  17. So many of my problems in the past were a result of a negative outlook and a “woe is me” attitude. Mentality is incredibly powerful.
  18. You will observe weird people, and you will also be the observed weird person. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
  19. I am a messy, klutzy person. Exhibit A // Exhibit B.
  20. Pedestrians RULE Boston. Sorry, drivers.
  21. The dorm walls are thinner than you think. Beware.
  22. How to cook steak…sort of.
  23. You will probably eat more sugar than you should, but life goes on and things will balance.picstitch
  24. There will always be cookies. Everywhere.
  25. Lunch and dinner dates are a thing and I kind of love them.Processed with Moldiv
  26. You will end up wasting more time than you wanted, but if you have the drive, you will find the time to get work done.
  27. Sleep is uhhhhhmaaaazinggggg.
  28. You walk so much in college. To go to class, to go to the gym, to get to a study place, to get your food…
  29. The funk in my dorm hallway slowly but surely gets worse every day (it’s honestly only the boys’ side). It was getting to near toxic levels when I left.
  30. Selfies are a way of life (see huge collage under #13).
  31. My blogger friends and readers are so wonderful and supportive.
  32. Speaking of wonderful…It’s good to say words such as wonderful, beautiful, and awesome to people, especially when you genuinely mean it.
  33. Humans are resilient like WHOA. We go through a lot.
  34. This semester has been one of the happiest times in my life.
  35. My faith has grown more this semester than it has in my entire life.10604424_10204140246360943_6812184516786650349_o

There are at least fifty other things I learned in addition to these, and I’ll probably think of them as soon as I hit publish, but here’s what I have for now!

It’s been so fun. There’s literally nothing I can say or do except to thank God for His abundant blessings. I pray that I can be fruitful with His gifts by spreading joy and service to others.

To whom much is given, much will be expected.

Have a fabulous day, friends! Good luck to all those finishing finals and traveling home! ♥

Thinking-Out-Loud

Thinking out loud with my favorite!

So tell me:

Three things you’ve learned in the past 3 months/6 months/year!

When was the last time you experienced profound mental, emotional, or spiritual growth?

What are you doing today?!

I’ll be baking, visiting my high school, and hopefully meeting up with some friends!