Incredible Things

There are some incredible things as of late that are noteworthy:

It’s incredible that Thanksgiving is this week. That means finals are coming, which means the semester is almost over, which means I’m almost halfway done with sophomore year of college, which means my senior friends are almost done with college, which means I need to shut the freak up before I go insane.

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dining hall thanksgiving dinner {that cornbread stuffing}

It’s incredible how kind people can be, despite the fact that you’ve only met in person once (or not at all). My blogger friends near and far have been nothing but kind and loving to me and to other fellow bloggers, often for no particular reason. Sweet prayers and messages from Julia and Hayley. Kind words by Emily. Heavy care packages from a certain no-bake king. All of YOU who choose to read about what goes on in my brain. God bless you.

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The power of a 10 minute nap is incredible. I was in desperate need of a nap the morning/afternoon before my exam on Thursday. I could have studied straight through until 3:30 pm, but my friends forced me to take a nap. SO BENEFICIAL. My brain could actually function. Who ‘da thunk?

It’s incredible how talented humans are. Besides people like Michael Phelps, Mother Theresa, and Beyonce, there are some darn talented people around you! Including you. I was reminded of that at my friends’ a cappella concert on Friday night.

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It’s incredible how God shows so much love through people. It’s truly life-changing to have friends and family who seek to love as Christ loves.

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It’s incredible how much work I have to do over Thanksgiving. I’m just complaining for the sake of it, which is not model behavior, but… I have two exams and two essays due next week. It’s always a good time to be thankful for a great education, but this is REALLY a good time for that, eh?

It’s incredible that it’s still pretty warm outside in late November. Not that I’m complaining!

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It’s incredible that Justin Bieber made it onto my Spotify playlist. It’s his song “Sorry“. I’m sorry I like it. UGH.

The power of patience and prayer is incredible. Because guess what this girl got this weekend!!! Let’s just say I might not need another gynecology appointment. More on this later.

Find something to smile about at every hour of the day. When in doubt, nap it out.

So tell me:

Something incredible in your life right now.

Thanksgiving plans for my fellow Americans? I’m going back to New York to see the much-missed fam and COOK!

I Failed at Thanksgiving

Although I did have a minor Thanksgiving cooking fail (which I will melodramatically get to in a second), yesterday was wonderful in every way, and I am incredibly thankful for the family time and delicious food. I hope you all had relaxing and love-filled Thanksgivings as well!

My Turkey Day started earlier than I preferred after going to sleep at 2 AM. But sleep is for the boring, and it was time to go to Mass and be thankful, dangit! 😉

Breakfast was calling my name when we got home from church, so I made an old favorite that I had been missing in college—Gina’s cookie dough cereal. It hit every point of peanut butter-oat-banana craving in my body (aka the perpetual craving).

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I contemplated doing a quick workout before the cooking commenced, but my body was feeling tired and sore so I opted to work out in a more casual way. I spread out 5 sets of 20 air squats, 20 pushups, 20 sit-ups, and 20 burpees throughout the day for a total of 100 reps of each exercise. I went on a quick walk with Pop as a cooking break later too.

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Then it was time to tackle the food! I was in charge of the cornbread, stuffing, and brussels sprouts, so I started with the one that took the most time and the one that is the star of Thanksgiving in my eyes— the stuffing.

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Now in your mind’s eye, multiply this amount of stuffing by ten. I kid you not, that’s how much stuffing I made. Mom and I thought it would be a good idea to overshoot and double this stuffing recipe (totally recommend the recipe by the way!), so that’s what I did. If any of you stuffing lovers out there have a second wind, please hit me up. We have three large containers completely full of the stuff…ing.

Veggies were also in the works! I’m not even trying to be an overzealous, healthy living, hip hip hooray person right now, but the vegetables probably tied with the stuffing for best dish in my opinion.

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Mom roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash with just olive oil at 400F for 45 min.

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Brussels sprouts halved and pan roasted in coconut oil // salted and peppered with // tossed with walnuts and dried cranberries.

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I later ended up being responsible for taking the turkey out of the oven, but that was apparently a bad idea on everyone’s part because I left it in the oven for a weeeee bit too long. I was just waiting for the thermometer to get to 165F, but somewhere along the line I allowed the turkey to cross the line from juicy and tender to kinda dry. What’s with me and overcooking meat?! 

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Connecting to Mulan even more on this day.

At least it looks pretty.

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It really wasn’t bad either. It was on the drier side, but not terrible. Pop even said it was his favorite part of the meal, but that’s such a dad thing to say. Thanks anyway, Pop 🙂

I attempted to drown my disappointments in cornbread until I spotted the jar of honey on the counter…I forgot to put honey in the cornbread batter, and I didn’t realize until the cornbread came out of the oven. The recipe is sweet honey cornbread. #AlisonRuinsThanksgiving2014

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I quickly remedied the situation by pouring a generous drizzle of honey on top of the cornbread when it came out of the oven, which formed a sweet crust on top as the bread cooled. Then a small extra drizzle of honey on each slice made all things new. Phew!

My cooking job was done after that (thank the Lord), and after mom finished the mashed potatoes, we said our prayers of thanksgiving and feasted!

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At 4 PM, we had a laid back Thanksgiving dinner. I loved that there was no feeling of “stress” to eat ALL THE FOODS. There was enough room in my stomach for a late night snack even! Oh, and dessert of course.

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Classic apple pie a la mode. Perfect!

We got the apple pie at a church fundraiser (which got the pies from a bakery), and it was on point. The flaky crust was the best part because…carbs!!! I don’t need turkey. I just need stuffing, cornbread, veggies, and pie.

The rest of our evening involved cleaning, relaxing, snacking, and watching The Help. It’s one of my new favorite movies. I laughed and cried, which is a sign of a winning movie to me!

‘Twas a lovely Thanksgiving indeed.

Oh hey, it’s Black Friday. But Black Friday started on Thursday apparently, so I’m a day late? I’ll be spending my day catching up with some of my high school best friends at breakfast, homework, and maybe a workout.

I hope you all have a fabulous Friday!

So tell me:

American friendsWhat was the best thing you ate for Thanksgiving?

Turkey or side dishes?

Did you go/are you going Black Friday shopping?

International friends— What did you eat last night? 

Simple Phrases That Make All the Difference

Greetings from New York!

I had to refrain from making that greeting ALL CAPS because I’m beyond excited right now! As soon as my eyes fluttered open this morning, I noticed that:

a) I wasn’t in my dorm and I felt a little discombobulated.

b) I smelled something delicious cooking (Madre at work ♥ )

c) It’s snowing!!!

I ran downstairs like an excited 5-year-old on Christmas to say good morning to my mom. I am now watching The Price is Right while eating overnight oats. The finer things in life.

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It looks like there is a blizzard outside, but that’s only because I had to lighten this picture, like, 10 times.

We arrived home from Boston via car at around 1:30 AM this morning (hence me sleeping in and this post going up super late). The Thanksgiving traffic coming out of Boston added a hefty two hours to our commute, so we were drained and ready for bed by the time we got home.

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But being me, I was hungry and I wanted a snack, so I reached for something I had missed dearly

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Almond butter!

And then I made sure to prepare the overnight oats that I am currently eating because it has been way too long since I had my fave. I was literally quasi-yelling, “Oh my gosh YAAAAASSS,” while  was making them. Thankful to be home indeed.

Simple Phrases That Make All the Difference

Speaking of being thankful, tomorrow is the day for such thankfulness for us Americans, huh? I was reflecting on how I wanted to bring together my thoughts of thanksgiving in a blog post, but I was stuck for a while because I didn’t really want to start the inexhaustible list of things for which I am grateful.

Instead, I noticed that one thing I’ve been hearing and saying more often than ever recently is, “You’re beautiful,” or, “You’re awesome,” or, “You’re wonderful.”

Many times I’ll be passing by a friend on the sidewalk and saying hello with a warm hug, and then we would exchange at least one of these simple phrases. They don’t deserve a prize for unique compliment of the year by any means, but when you think about what beautiful, awesome, and wonderful mean, you can’t help but smile.

via my friend Rachel’s Instagram

If I want to be sappy and honest, hearing and saying these words so often has made me more thankful for the companionships in my life. I get that some people might say, “You’re awesome,” as a quick, colloquial compliment when you don’t know what else to say, and maybe that’s the case for other people and I’m just being a mushy blob of feels right now. But my friends at Boston University definitely give me a sense of genuineness every time they say one of those phrases. I certainly mean it if I say them to you!

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Breakfast date with my freshmen friends. That would be a wheat waffle with pb, banana, and honey. Mhmm.

Words are powerful. I guess that’s why I like to blog (even though my words are a bunch of crazy foodie talk half the time). We can throw words out there without thinking about what we are actually saying, or we can use our gift of language and communication to tell others how much we love them. We do both of these things at the appropriate times (hopefully), but when it comes to the latter, there is something so special about a simple, friendly phrase.

When I hear or say, “You’re beautiful,” I don’t think about aesthetic beauty (although, I have some good-lookin’ friends, don’t get me wrong). I think of how beautiful their spirits are— how they are humble, faithful, and charitable.

When I hear or say, “You’re awesome,” I think about how strong and resilient people are. Everyone has their trials that we may or may not be able to see, but people still have the ability to smile, do well, and help others.

When I hear or say, “You’re wonderful,” I think about how we are all children of God. That’s wonderful enough in and of itself.

So I tell you now in this season of Thanksgiving: You’re beautiful. You’re awesome. You’re wonderful.

And lastly, thank you.

I hope you all have a joyous, safe, and blessed Thanksgiving!

So tell me:

What is one simple phrase that resonates with you?

What are you doing today?

Half of my day is gone thanks to sleeping in, but I’m planning on going to the nail salon, doing some homework (ew, I know), and maybe seeing friends!

 

Things I Miss From Home

The pre-vacation jitters are hitting!

In other words, I’m typing up this blog post with very little desire to get a head start on studying that I’ll need to do during the long weekend. I’ll get to that in a jiffy, not to worry.

The fact that I only had two classes yesterday and I only have two classes today contributes to my excitement for Thanksgiving break, but we’re all spending good times together here at Boston University before going home to celebrate with our families. The food is still on point here too.

I like breakfast, I guess.

Also, my friend Albert and I went on a mini adventure yesterday. We were planning on volunteering at a church in downtown Boston for a special Thanksgiving dinner service, but it turned out that they did not actually need our assistance/we needed to register ahead of time and we did not do so. Sooooo our efforts turned into an adventure of taking the T back and forth, walking around like lost tourists, and then coming back to campus hungry for dinner. It’s the thought that counts, right?

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This chicken parm sandwich on a whole wheat bun made us happy though!

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Walking around downtown Boston, seeing all the shops, and smelling delicious foods from the restaurants really made me miss New York. I am incredibly grateful for everything Boston has provided me, and I am definitely considering this my second home now, but I can’t help missing lots of things that are just home. 

Things I Miss From Home

It was memory lane to the max when I went through my media library looking for these photos. Got me swellin’ up with emotionzzzzzz.

Food

 zucchini bread

Baking

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OVERNIGHT OATS (in a jar preferably) OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS HOW I MISS THEM.

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Banana soft serve

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Smoothies in a bowl

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Greek yogurt

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Almond butter

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Green smoothies

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Cookie dough cereal

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Avocado toast

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Smoked salmon

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Hummus

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Any sort of salmon

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Mom’s cooking (she just sent me this photo last night and has some left for Ben and me when we get home!)

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Brussels sprouts roasted in coconut oil (scary flashback to when I made vlog of me making them by myself on Superbowl Sunday…)

People and Things Besides Food

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My family being all together at home (ironic because this photo was taken in Boston)

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DSLR camera. VSCO Cam has become my best friend these past few months, but I miss that big clicker of a machine.

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Dance company…

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…and dancing

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Fraaaaaands!

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Leisurely walks

Also, in an odd way, I miss hearing my mom’s Thai TV screaming in the background, seeing my dad on the computer, and driving.

This song is the definition of my feelings right now:

Praying that you all have safe, convenient travels and joyous reunions with your loved ones in these coming days!

So tell me:

What is one food that reminds you of home?

One weird thing that reminds you of home?

What did you eat for breakfast yesterday? 

What It Feels Like To…

College is all about new experiences. We have the big ones like moving into the dorm, joining new clubs, passing those incredibly difficult exams, and graduating (whoa, far into the future, eh?). But we also have all the little ones in between. This weekend I reflected on some of the small, new things I experienced, both good and not so good.

After this past week, I now know what if feels like to…

Have Thanksgiving dinner before Thanksgiving day.

It feels kinda wrong, but oh so right. Thank you, dining halls!

Stuffing ♥ ♥ ♥ 

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pumpkin pie + white chocolate cranberry cookie!

Cook a steak.

I felt so flustered. Have you ever thought about how you might feel if you were thrown into the show Chopped and you got choked up? Yeah, this was that feeling.

The people for whom I work asked me to cook up two steaks that they had in the freezer and I agreed since they had so much faith in me. LOL.

I was looking up “how to cook steak” and “how to defrost frozen steak” on my phone and trying to decide the best/safest ways to do both and ahhhhhhhhhh. I think I did okay with the defrosting and the initial sear on the steaks, but then I overcooked the steaks in the oven. I gave them well done when they requested rare and medium rare. *facepalm*

They said it was really good, but I think they were being nice. Maybe the baked potatoes and tuna salad I also made for them redeemed me.

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This was actually delicious!

Be at a hockey game where Boston University Terriers pull out an awesome win!

So much pride.

We won 3-2 against University of Maine at overtime!

Watch a quality romantic comedy.

ALL THE FEELS. I watched About Time with a bunch of friends on Saturday night, and it might be one of my new favorite movies. Watch it if you have not yet!

Have America’s Next Top Model as a roommate.

It’s fantastic for the self-esteem, really. (jokes jokes.)

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© Christina Chu

(I also know what it feels like to basically have a pro photographer as a friend!)

She might not actually be America’s Next Top Model, but she totally could be, right?! She modeled for a fashion show this weekend and I heard many rave reviews that she killed it on the runway. Evidently. I live in the same room as this beautiful person!!!

Run five miles.

Besides feeling kinda uncomfortable because I needed to go to the bathroom the whole time, I felt amazing! That’s the longest I’ve run without stopping to date. Yay!

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I started the GPS about ½ a mile into my run, so the 5 miles were hit, I promise!

Oh, and for the record, a “running high” is quite similar to a burpee high… But the view and fresh air that comes with running is a wonderful bonus 🙂

Pay over $3.00 for just the dry cycle for my laundry.

That feeling would be rage-y.

One extra long cycle apparently wasn’t enough for my load of laundry (which wasn’t especially large or anything), and I was still left with super damp clothes by the end of it. I contemplated air drying it all, but there’s no space in the dorm for that and all the clothes were too wet anyway. Thus, I bit the bullet and paid for another full dry cycle. That totaled to $4.75 for laundry.

Life.

So there you have it! Some of my latest and greatest new experiences!

Something I’ve been thinking about doing is posting shorter yet more frequent update/musings kinds of blog posts instead of longer, spaced out dump-my-life-on-you posts. I don’t want to sacrifice quality for quantity, but I’m hoping to spark interesting conversations about things that pop up during my day that I find worthwhile putting into a post. Does that make sense?

Basically, I want to try to post more often with less content (unlike this lengthy, random post) while having a more specific focus in each post. If that still doesn’t make sense, then we’ll just see how this all unfolds, won’t we?

Have a marvelous Monday, friends! I’m going home for Thanksgiving tomorrow what whattttttt.

So tell me:

After this weekend, I now know what if feels like to_________.

Do you like tuna salad?

(I can post the recipe for the tuna salad I made if ya want! It’s pretty bomb if I do say so myself.)

What is your favorite romantic comedy?