Love and Lent

And I guess it’s President’s Day in the United States so….Love, Lent, and…Lyndon B. Johnson?

a wagyu beef burger I had a couple weekends ago 😀

Love

I am typing this at the very end of Valentine’s Day — such a GOOD day! I love seeing people celebrate their relationships. One of my friends (hi, Kelsey!) got married yesterday too. Many of my friends are also in flourishing dating relationships, and I am HERE FOR IT.

If you are single, dealing with heart break, or have lost your significant other, you might be like, “k bye.” But wait! Truly, you have a Pursuer, who delights in you greatly and wants to give you e v e r y t h i n g. I cannot overstate how important and freeing this is: God Loves you and wants everything that is true, good, and beautiful for you. *clenches fists and throws head back at how much I want you to know this*

But talk to Him about it, because I can only tell you so much about the One who actually loves you infinitely.

This year I have spent much more time alone with God, and I am so incredibly far from perfect in loving Him, but He has been the sweetest in every way He sustains me at work, allows me to see stars faintly at the end of a late work shift, allows me to see a stunning sunset when I get off work early enough, strengthens me through trials, and supports me through my loved ones from afar.

Seven(!) years ago I wrote this “Letter to My Future Husband,” and I also put a “p.s.” in there saying if my future husband doesn’t exist, then I’ll be a single person for Christ, and to be quite honest, the latter is not looking like a bad option, ÂŻ\_(ツ)_/ÂŻ

Lent

Not gonna lie, I am nervous for Lent this year! I am giving up all music, Youtube videos (my preferred streaming service), and podcasts EXCEPT for Fr. Mike’s Bible in a Year Podcast, so that I can keep up with listening to the Bible from start to finish. But I usually listen to that first thing in the morning. The hardest part about this fast will be coming home from a long, stressful day of work (happens often) and being in silence.

I have prayed for weeks about this and knew a while ago that this was the move for Lent this year. I think it will help a lot with my sleep discipline, and it will also allow me to give more of my heart and my time to God, especially when I’m the most irritated/stressed/tired.

But dang, this will be so hard, good grief. There is nothing seems to be nothing like dancing to music and listening to other people talk about their lives on Youtube when I’m all wound up from work. I know there is something even better, but I’m sure it will take some grace to find out.

Moves and grooves

I’ve been posting a workout on Instagram stories every Sunday now, which I think is a good amount of Instagram for me at this time.

In other news, I’ve gotten up to 7 strict pull-ups on a really good day! I’ve gained a bit of weight so I’m generally pulling more weight than I did when I first moved to NY, but my back is getting stronger!

Hope you have a wonderful week, friends. You are loved!

So tell me:

How was this Valentine’s Day for you? Joys or sorrows?

If you observe Lent, what are you fasting from this year (if you care to share)?

What did you do this weekend?

Three Words for Valentine’s Day Weekend

“I love you!”

…But not said to a significant other. I was saying that to my family and friends though, which is equally (if not, more) important.

I guess my three words are still “Dear No One“. (P.S. Tori Kelly’s dress on the red carpet for the Grammy’s last night, WHAT!? Gorgeous. Wish she won best new artist, but Meghan Trainor is cool too.)

I’m running short on time since I’ve been studying oodles for my exercise physiology exam, so here are some snapshots of my Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend in three words each!

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another jar down

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not as good

{but still delicious}

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post-work lunch

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childhood friends reunite

{dinner at Orinoco + dessert at Paris Creperie}

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fantastic guava flatbread

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roasted portabella arepa

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“Gram’s apple pie”

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Snape-inspired crepe

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this is inside

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warmth before fashion

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“Galentine’s” date night 

{food bucket list at Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe + watched “How To Be Single”}

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lamb cumin noodles

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HAND-PULLED NOODLES

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Alton Brown approves

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pork flatbread afterwards

hit. the. spot.

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muffins are underrated

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my Valentine’s date

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Valentine’s self-gift

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lunch with family!

{Dumpling Cafe}

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soup dumplings ROCK

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wish me luck

I LOVE YOU!

So tell me:

Three things you did this weekend (please feel free to use more than three words)!

Do you find that cashew butter is too mild to put on foods (I can’t taste it with my banana/cinnamon oatmeal!)?

Did you watch the Grammy’s? I actually did not, but of course I kept up with TK.

Five Minute Friday #3: Making Changes to Fulfill a Purpose

I have a new companion who comes with me to all my meals, but I’m not really sure I want him there… He kinda weighs me down sometimes, but I can’t let go of him, and I always pay attention to what he has to say.

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See him? Mr. Exercise Physiology. I have an exam for on Tuesday, and I need all information about metabolism to saturate my brain.

Other recent happenings include lots of sandwiches with guac…

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…and Lent! It started this Wednesday, so this week’s Five Minute Friday vlog has to do with making changes in one’s life in order to fulfill a purpose (not just from a Catholic perspective).

link to the video here!

Catholics do have set rules for fasting and abstinence throughout Lent. Here are some infographics if you’re curious!

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[source]

Ooo Valentine’s Day is this weekend, isn’t it? Flashback to when I wrote a letter to my future husband on this blog for Valentine’s Day two years ago. “Dear No One” is still my theme song.

Happy weekend!!!

So tell me:

If you participate in Lent, what are you giving up/adding? Giving up: makeup and scrolling Instagram (I can post but that’s it). Adding: Must be at least 5 minutes early to everything if I can help it and a decade of the rosary each day.

If you do not participate in Lent, do you feel called to make any specific changes in your life to meet your goals?

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day/President’s Day/the weekend?

I’ll be celebrating “Galentine’s Day” with Rachel tomorrow night! 🙂 The only way I might choose a guy over Rachel is if he comes up to me with a single rose in his mouth, Coldplay/Tori Kelly tickets, and a box of chocolates jar of peanut butter within the next twenty-four hours.

Things I Learned Last Week

HI!

I know I checked in with Weekly Moves and Grooves yesterday, but I missed sharing life happenings with you all and hearing about your lives too. Last week was jam-packed with studying and activities, so blogging just couldn’t happen.

But now I’m here and ready to share some of the crazy-fun-weird things I learned last week!

Studying with a friend really does do wonders.

I usually like studying by myself, but the night before our anatomy exam, my friend Cassandra and I reviewed all the material by testing each other and using a white board to draw bones, tissues, and muscles. It definitely made me feel more confident during the test!

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Breakfast for dinner in the dining halls should be a weekly occurrence.

Carbs and dairy and carbs. The essentials.

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Two snow days in a row doesn’t mean a thing anymore.

We had another blizzard last Monday, which resulted in cancelled classes on Tuesday as well. That would be a total of five snow days this semester! What is school?

Some professors are holding classes on a couple Saturdays to make up lectures and labs, which is good from the academic standpoint as well as the *ahem* tuition standpoint.

Oh we had a blizzard yesterday too. It’s time to migrate, like, last month.

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Officially taller than me.

Boston wears snow beautifully though.

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A snow day does not mean more free time.

Holy smokes, last week was BUSY. The snow days were used to catch up on work, and then the work/appointments/meetings kept coming, which is why I didn’t get to blog.

Busy, but good busy (for the most part). 🙂

Grilled cheese + tomato soup is one of the greatest food combinations.

I already knew this, but I learned that I should have it more often, especially during the winter.

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This grilled cheese was swiss, tomato, and caramelized onions on wheat. Mmmm.

My friends talk about my blog when I’m not around.

Rachel told me, “I was telling Cassandra that if I were Alison, I would be making my dessert look pretty and taking a picture of it.” I am both flattered and embarrassed.

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I will go the distance for brussels sprouts.

I don’t usually like tempeh, but the dining hall was serving orange maple tempeh with brussels sprouts and zucchini, so I got it just for the brussels sprouts.

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The tempeh was bland, but the brussels were worth it.

I am a certified Boston University tour guide!

Come to Boston University so that “I can show you the worldddd…shining, shimmering, splendid!” (<— Aladdin, anyone?)

A little bit o’ love can mean so much to someone.

Some people at the Catholic Center got together to put together Valentines for people who are homeless in Boston. The joy of the recipients is always a reminder of what love is all about— giving. #cheeeeeese

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How to dissect a cat.

For anatomy. My lab partner and I named our cat Larry (is it terrible that we named him?).

I have a new favorite way to eat cottage cheese!

Remember my usual concoction of cottage cheese with strawberry yogurt, banana and peanut butter last semester? I guess I wanted a new combo along with this new semester. Now I’m loving it with frozen blueberries, peaches, and granola!

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Cheetah Girls 2 is still fabulous.

Rachel and I had a little “Galentine’s” night in with popcorn and classic Cheetah Girls 2. We knew all the words to the songs and loved every minute.

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I have a banana problem.

I feel the need to stock up on bananas whenever I leave the dining hall, so now I have enough bananas in my dorm room to make a pyramid out of them.

Chill pill. I’m on it.

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Luckily, there are no fruit flies in the winter!

I’m evil for liking raisins.

A loving Valentine’s snapchat from Rachel (who does not approve of raisins at all):

raisin lover

Hope you all have a rockin’ Monday! Happy President’s Day to my fellow Americans! My parents are coming to visit Ben and me for our day off 🙂

So tell me:

One thing you learned last week!

How did you spend your Valentine’s Day?

What is your favorite childhood movie?

Please tell me you like raisins.

Almond French Toast + Weekend at Binghamton {MIMM #24}

Happy President’s Day!

Hi, guys!

I hope you all had a fun Valentine’s Day and a restful weekend. I have a crapton of marvelous things to share with you all from this weekend, so let’s get to it!

MiMM

Thank you to Katie for another marvelous linkup!

A lot of bloggers have been recapping their awesome V-day happenings, and I’ve been commenting on them about what my Valentine’s plans looked like:

French toast for breakfast

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To make this:

  1. Whisk one egg. Mix in a splash of milk (enough to turn the egg a pale yellow color), dash of cinnamon + nutmeg, and a scant Œ tsp. of almond extract. Pour mixture into a shallow dish.
  2. Heat up a skillet on medium-high heat.
  3. Soak 2 slices of hearty bread (day old/dried out preferably) in the mixture for about 30-40 seconds on each side.
  4. Add a small pat of butter or coconut oil into your heated skillet and add in the slices of bread. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Meanwhile, cut half a banana lengthwise and sear on the sides of the skillet along with the bread. About a minute per side.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with two more slices of bread (or however many slices until the egg mixture is all used up).
  7. Serve with desired toppings! (I love mine with a dollop of Greek yogurt, nut butter, and a drizzle of maple syrup.)

This was my Valentine’s Day gift to myself and it rocked my socks off. Thanks, Alison. You’re welcome, Alison.

Homemade cinnamon rolls (This recipe for the rolls [minus the egg— I don’t think you need it!] This recipe for the frosting)

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I couldn’t find our rolling pin, so I just used my mom’s pestle and wrapped it in wax paper. Gotta do what ya gotta do.

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These definitely turned out JUMBO-sized, but as Sir Mix-a-lot and Arman said, “I like big buns
and I cannot lie.” They did sink a little once they cooled though. I didn’t actually have a whole one with frosting and all until last night, and mannnnn was it dreamy. Like the recipe says, they really do taste like Cinnabon! 

Babysitting

The only stressful part about this was driving to the house because of all the snow (and I got lost), but otherwise, this guy was the cutest Valentine’s date ever. He was also the most well-behaved baby I’ve ever taken care of! I even got to do yoga after he went to sleep. Yeah, I did yoga at someone else’s house. Guatever. It was my dance director’s place, so it’s not THAT weird.

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{I received his mom’s permission to post this}

I believe Valentine’s Day was a success!

Early Saturday morning, my mom and I hit the slushy, snowy roads for Vestal, NY since this weekend was Binghamton University’s admitted students day!

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Pre-driving fuel: Greek yogurt (I go through containers like it’s my job), half sliced banana, leftover French toast, chia, hemp, sunflower seed butter

It was really not a good time to be on the roads, but the police cars, salt trucks, and ten other travelers on the road kept us company. Luckily, Binghamton is not terribly far from where we live, so we made it there in fair time.

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After checking into our hotel, we found a Vietnamese restaurant through Yelp called Nhu Y that was about 30 steps away, so we ate lunch there. We needed some pho to hit the spot on such a dreary day.

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Mom and I shared a bowl of beef meatball pho and a lemongrass chicken dish that was delicious! Binghamton isn’t really known for having the most amazing food, but this wasn’t bad at all.

After lunch, we veg-ed out in our room. When I finally had an ounce of motivation to get out of those fluffy hotel beds, I went to the hotel exercise room to do something.

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There weren’t many options, so I just did a 45-minute incline walk on the treadmill while watching the Olympics. By the way, workout selfies will forever make me uncomfortable. Check out that mini lion-mane.

The rest of our evening consisted of Mass at the Binghamton Catholic center (so lovely!), a sushi dinner, and late-night shopping at an awesome supermarket called Wegmans. We actually went a little crazy at Wegmans because it was like Target + Trader Joe’s in one. A dangerous duo (imagine me saying that in an Australian accent).

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Beautiful Mass as the snow softly fell outside— it felt like Christmas!

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Vestal sushi is sub-par since we’re so spoiled with the sushi around our area.

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We’re bread hoarders. (We freeze them for later.)

The next day was the Binghamton University Open House!

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Hotel breakfast: Oatmeal square, nut bar, orange

The parking and check-in were very well-organized, which is much appreciated. My favorite part of the whole day was probably the Welcome session though. One of the all-male a cappella groups called “The Crosbies” entertained us while we waited for the event to start. They are incredibly talented and hilarious entertainers!

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At 11:00, they introduced the BU President to make the welcoming address. Apparently, university presidents are superstars.

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Dying to shake hands with him 😉

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After his speech, along with a few others from different faculty members/students, we were allowed to break into different groups to attend sessions that interested us. Since it was FREEZING outside and I had already taken a campus tour in August, I passed on that. I decided on a general information session and the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences session.

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Of course, we tested out the campus food at lunch too.

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Sandwich made to order (chicken breast, roasted red peppers, muenster cheese, lettuce, tomato on whole wheat) + minestrone soup

My meal was not too shabby, but the options in this dining hall seemed a lot more limited compared to that of University of Maryland. Other items available in this particular dining hall yesterday included pizza, made to order omelets and pancakes, savory breakfast/brunch foods, typical cafeteria hot foods (fried chicken sandwiches, burgers, etc.), and a salad bar.

Overall, my experience at the open house neither deterred me from Binghamton nor drew me to it. These are the main points I concluded from the weekend:

Pros: distance from home, value/price, community

Cons: academic programs may not be the best for my interest (physical therapy as of now), location is sort of out there

My mom and I agree that Binghamton University will probably not be the place for me. Right now, I think Maryland and Virginia are my top choices, and I’m visiting both in April. We shall see!

Ok, wow. Are you still reading this? 

This was definitely a longer post than usual, and most of you probably couldn’t care less about my college experience, but this weekend was definitely important in helping me discern my college decision.

Wait, I’m not done actually. So Blend Retreat 2014 tickets went on sale last night, and my mom and I are seriously considering going this year! If you don’t know what the Blend (blogger + friend = blend) Retreat is, it’s a blogger/blog-reader weekend retreat during which the attendees get to hang out, get active, get swag bags, and just have FUN. I’ve seen some of my favorite bloggers attend in the past, and I can only imagine how amazing it would be to meet them in person!

You have no idea how excited I was to find out that my parents were on board with the trip. I could technically go by myself (I will have turned 18 just a week before the retreat— score), but my mom is totally up for going as well. The only thing that’s keeping us from registering right now is school. I have exams the Monday after we get back, and I’m just not sure if I could afford to go on a trip that weekend. It just depends on which subjects the exams are for, because then I can gauge how much pre-retreat-studying I should do. Schoooooool.

K, I’m done. Have a marvelous Monday, everyone 🙂

So tell me:

Tell me three things you did this weekend!

Are you planning on going to the Blend Retreat?!