Joyful Exhaustion

So I cried on Sunday night.

Crying is pretty much a weekly occurrence just to let out all the emotions that have built up from the week, which might sound like there’s a problem that I need to fix, but crying is a very normal and therapeutic thing for me. Sometimes I cry by myself, and sometimes my parents kindly let me cry irrelevantly in the middle of our conversation (love you, Madre and Pop).

Needless to say, it’s been a long week. I started developing a very “woe is me” mentality by the end of the weekend, but the more I pray and talk about what I’m feeling with others, the more I realize that I have been given nothing but love through the people and circumstances God has placed in my life.

9 hours of sleep on Sunday night wasn’t a bad thing either.

Besides keeping up with school, here are some other things that have kept me joyfully exhausted lately:

1) Grabbing a cheeseburger with Fr. Barnes (the priest at our Catholic Center) for lunch on Thursday.

2) Gearing up for Holy Week!

3) Making time to spend with friends, even if only at the dining hall. This dining hall dinner involved double the carbs, which meant double the fun.


seafood and sausage paella, so fancy!


cheese ravioli

4) Cooking allllll the things at work, which gets so tiring after 5+ hours! I have so much respect for chefs and stay-at-home mothers/fathers. Yeesh.

5) Colby from You Make You (@be.happyhealthyfit) came to Beantown this weekend!! She crashed at my (now roach-free!) place, which meant a lot of quality time together 🙂

Some scenes from our foodie/fit/fun adventures:

Salads + corn bread at the food court on Friday night, followed by some bona fide college comedy.


We had some study sessions. This one featured a Quest cinnamon roll cereal bar that Colby gave me. It totally brought me back to the cereal bars of my childhood.


Friends who sweat together…


 (even though we were both really sore this day)

Nothing some good pho can’t fix! This was my first time at Le’s, and it crushed the game.


We split an XL bowl of chicken pho…


…and a pork/shrimp vermicelli bowl, all for a grand total of $20! College wallets rejoice!


We finished almost all of it.


But our dessert stomachs were ready for [vegan] ice cream. Colby is sadly allergic to gluten and dairy, so FoMu was a Godsend.


FoMu serves vegan, coconut milk-based ice cream. I got strawberry (per the server’s recommendation) and “f’oreo” in a waffle cone.


Verdict? Delicious, rich, and creamy! But you have to be okay with coconut, because you can definitely taste the coconut in all the flavors.


Colby got peanut butter (made with Teddie’s pb!) and strawberry

Then Colby spotted this gluten-free, vegan ice cream cookie sandwich and, being allergic to dairy/gluten and being deprived of places like FoMu at her school, she said, “when in Boston…”


So we split it 🙂 (’twas a whopping $7+ though, what the freak!?)


We took an Uber home because a) very full; b) raining.

Ugh, it was so fun spending the weekend with Colby. She is such a kind and genuine soul, and she has a refreshing presence in the healthy living social media world. I love you and am so honored to have spent this time with you, Colby!

6) This is the opposite of exhaustion, but shoutout to Megan for being the best roommate and always cleaning up our apartment without complaining or really saying anything. I see ya and appreciate you greatly, girl.


egg in a hole on my Rainforest Cafe plate // Megan: “you have to see the logo if we want to be endorsed”

7) Workout/Bible study on Sunday mornings! This week, we had a great conversation about combatting the fear of living with our own selves.

8) Brunch with my fellow future PT friend, Selena! We went to Tatte on Sunday, and it was glorious.


I recommended that Selena get the shakshuka, which is what I got last year. She loved it!


And I got the turkey B.L.A.T (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato), which was fan-freaking-tastic. Thick cut applewood bacon, chipotle mayo, toasted and buttered multigrain bread MMM. Finished every last bite!


Of course, we finished our meals with a pastry from the bakery. She got the creme brûlée croissant (!!!), and I got the pear almond muffin. Both were incredible.


8) Lots of gross anatomy studying. We already have another exam next week?

9) Giving tours in the snow and the sunshine. This spring weather is sloooooooooooowly but surely coming along.


10) Keeping up with relationships with friends, family, and God. I often take advantage of one or the other, but I am constantly reminded of how precious these relationships are.


So my exhaustion is mostly first-world-induced, I know. But fast-paced, privileged lives can be surprisingly threatening to true peace and joy, which can best be found in the silence and simplicity of God’s Love.

Hope you all have a great Tuesday!

So tell me:

Have you felt super busy/exhausted recently?

Have you ever tried vegan ice cream? 

Two things you’re grateful for!




“I’ve Had So Much Rest. I Should Be Able to Do This Workout!”

I feel like an adolescent going through a growth spurt. Or just a woman going through woman things.

I can’t. stop. sleeping. Or eating for that matter.


Kylie’s banana pudding for breakfast

*eats a Rawxie bar*

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thanks for getting these sent to me, Emily! ♥︎ 

*eats a giant apple*

*eats a slice of cheese*

*eats crackers*

…within a 45 minute time span. *eats a spoonful of peanut butter an hour later*

Also, I defied my craving for a slow workout yesterday, which wasn’t the best idea. I did one round (instead of two) of Colby’s day three lower body workout, and I was absolutely spent. It wasn’t just a muscle fatigue thing; it actually did not feel good for my body or brain, so I skipped the second round.

After my warm up, I thought, “I really don’t want to do this workout. I could nap right here, right now.” Evidently, sometimes I still have trouble listening to my body, but I like to at least warm up and start the workout. If it absolutely sucks, then I modify like I did yesterday.

Do you ever think, “I gave myself a rest/yoga/active recovery day yesterday. Heck, I had so many days off of exercise last week! I should be able to do an intense workout today!”? That’s sort of what went through my mind yesterday, but I know that’s not necessarily true. We have a cycle ladies, so the kinds of movements and amounts of energy our bodies need cycle naturally.


sneaky pic by Madre a couple days ago feat. college things

Dudes, you probably have off weeks too, right? I dunno, maybe you’re all invincible and never get tired.

All this to say: Don’t forget to listen to your body. You will not shrivel into a raisin if you do just yoga/walking/resting for one week.

Last night I had the privilege of meeting up with my wonderful friend, Christine! We were also supposed to meet up with Colby, but the poor girl had an infection that she had to take care of. Keep her in your prayers!

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Facebook reminded me that it had actually been exactly one year since we had dinner in the city together during my last winter break! This time, we met up at Le Botaniste, an organic, plant-based, fast-service restaurant.

We both got brown rice bowls with their delicious coconut curry peanut sauce. My add ons included pickled cabbage, turmeric onions, and Moroccan carrots.


It was very satisfying, filling and tasty, but I can definitely make these at home. The company was the most important part though! Christine and I had a lot of much-needed girl chat.

Christine: “Do you want to get dessert?”

Me: “I was just about to ask.”

To froyo we went!


toppings galore


dessert-y for me, fruity for her

Vegetables and sugar are two of my favorite food groups.

I love you, Christine!! Thanks for a fun girls’ night 🙂

So tell me:

Does your workout motivation/energy ebb and flow?

What is the best vegetarian/vegan restaurant you’ve ever been to? 

Gluttony or “Just Living”?

This weekend was definitely gluttony.

Disclaimer: If you are struggling with disordered eating, I ask that you please read with caution or not read this post at all. Please take care ♥︎ 

But let’s talk about guilt over gluttony in the context of recovering from an eating disorder. I’ll start with a little fact about myself:

Before I developed disordered eating habits, I experienced guilt over eating more than I thought I should, because I felt that I was being selfish if I ate to the point of satiation. What about all the children my age who have nothing to eat for dinner tonight? My parents shut that down really quickly, but this is a real sentiment that I had when I was younger.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s prudent and good to avoid gluttony and to be mindful of our brothers and sisters who have less to eat than us. However, I know from experience that there can be uncertainty between two thoughts during recovery:

“Am I eating all this for the sake of recovery?”


“Am I just being gluttonous?”

I am neither a dietitian nor a priest, but I do know that “gluttony” is necessary for recovery from an anorexia-type eating disorder. I put “gluttony” in quotation marks because eating a lot— an amount greater than you feel like eating—during recovery from an anorexia-type eating disorder is essential for healing the mind and body. It is the only way to get yourself to reach a healthy weight and challenge restricting behaviors.

(This doesn’t mean eating until you get sick, but many of you probably understand what I mean.)

So what happens once you are completely recovered (or even 99.9% recovered)? Personally, I believe I am well past the point of “eating more food for the sake of my health”. If I eat more than I think I should at this stage of my life, it’s probably unnecessary. But am I gluttonous or “just living”? 

I think it can be argued that “just living” involves a little bit of gluttony. Most of us don’t need that extra drink or dessert, but those extra treats that put us a little over the top can be good for our mental health and social experience.

According to Google, gluttony means “habitual greed or excess in eating”. I certainly believe that eating more than you really need is not a terrible thing every now and then (if you are at a healthy stage in life). However, for ME, once it becomes habitual — once excess eating becomes…excessive — that is where I’d say I’m being a little bit gluttonous.

This is a self-reflection. I do not mean to speak for anyone else! But I’m curious to hear if anyone has similar reflections.

So let’s look at the amount of food my family and I ate this weekend.

Friday Night

Dinner at Shiki with our family friends.


some bites of my parents’ yakitori


squid appetizer for everyone to share


gigantic mussels for everyone to share as well


sushi for me!


Back story: We and our family friends are HUGE foodies, and for whatever reason, it’s a tradition for us to go into NYC and do a “food crawl” to many different food vendors. Rule: We must walk.


light breakfast (light for my standards): Greek yogurt with half a banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, blueberries, and pb

First stop: Chelsea Market! Also known as the land of “I can’t choose what to eat.”

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We all parted ways and bought our own dishes before reconvening, but we also shared a bunch of things. Many little bites here and there!

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little bites of a couple kinds of doughnuts from Doughnuttery — delicious!


one of my favorite bites of the day: ginger pecan pie


egg, ham, cheese, scallion corn muffin — totally up my alley


Ben’s Mexican plate with cactus and beef


I couldn’t even finish my salad after bites of all the other things!

way too much food before noon #chelseamarket #nyc

A post shared by Alison (@alison_grooves) on


After Chelsea, we walked uptown towards Broadway via High Line for a more scenic route. The weather was overcast, cool, and absolutely perfect!

We watched a matinee of Book of Mormon, which is a pretty esteemed musical. It was definitely hilarious, but it was also so vulgar and blasphemous that every time something funny happened, all I could do was stare with wide eyes and a dropped jaw. I may have smiled too.


I do appreciate it as a musical, however. The music is super catchy and the acting was phenomenal.

"Hello!" 📘👔🙏🏼 #bookofmormon #broadway #nyc

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We headed over to Koreatown for our post-show/pre-dinner snack. Madre and Pop suggested a Korean food court called Food Gallery 32.

I had a bite of taiyaki, which is a pastry shaped like a fish, stuffed with red bean paste. Fresh out of the iron, this thing was FANTASTIC. Crisp exterior, gooey interior, rich filling.

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Colby, you’d love this.

Plus a sip of Ben’s taro bubble tea.


Dessert before dinner (but don’t worry, we ate dessert after dinner too).

My uncle made reservations for us at Momofuku Nishi, a trendy, modern Japanese restaurant.



We were basically sitting on wooden boxes, but I wasn’t mad about it.

Family style all day!


cold shanghai noodles


some magical fried chicken


butter noodles that tasted cheesy but weren’t actually cheesy

Then there was this “Impossible Burger” that we split into eight little pieces.


Perhaps you are asking, “What the heck is this sad looking burger doing at an upscale Japanese restaurant?” Well, the burger is vegan (the patty at least). But it 100% looks and tastes like meat. Hence, the “Impossible” Burger.


The only wow factor was that it was vegan, because otherwise, it just tasted like a really mediocre fast food burger with subpar french fries.

The main event was this 10 lb. pork roast that my uncle had to order ahead of time for our party of seven.

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the bone literally slid right out


Ben rolling up the sleeves


We ate it in lettuce wraps with many delicious condiments, herbs, and sticky rice. There was a good amount of meat that we got to take home for leftovers! It was a heavenly piece of meat.


Then it was time to walk our way to dessert. Our family friends stopped at Momofuku Milk Bar to pick up some cookies to go. Then we headed to Van Leeuwen ice cream. On our way though, we got distracted by a place called Snowdays, which sells “shaved cream”.


It’s a frozen block of cream that is shaved. My aunt shared her black sesame shaved cream with coconut and mochi with all of us. Pretty unique! It’s like ultra light ice cream.


Had to take a picture for ol’ Disney Channel’s sake. Did anyone else watch Wizards of Waverly Place?

Finally, Van Leeuwen. Ben and I shared three scoops (I was greedy. We definitely should have just gotten two scoops). I chose ginger, honeycomb, and vegan banana nut. They were all so good! I couldn’t choose a favorite.


Obviously, humans don’t need this much food (unless you burn calories like Michael Phelps). I did feel gluttonous (especially with that ice cream at the end), and I do not condone eating like this every day of course, but it happened, it was a wonderful time with family, and I am grateful for all the food.

So tell me:

Have you ever struggled with discerning gluttony vs. “just living”?

Have you ever done a “food crawl”?

What are you doing today? Happy Labo(u)r Day!!! 

Nothing Like A Little Friendly Competition

Everything huuuuurts.

This weekend was packed with good and fun things (at the expense of sleep and my safety at times), which explains why I’m posting this today instead of yesterday. What’s been happenin’!?


‘Twas a pretty standard day— class, bible study, gym (two rounds of this workout— another one of my faves @Jo), work, “trying” to do homework in my dorm on a Friday night.


I was actually in a good mood



they had avocado! *praise hands*


very much wanted to eat the chicken I cooked at work


Are you ever up in the middle of the night and tired enough that you can’t read a book but “on” enough that your brain can’t shut up? That was me this day.


I must keep telling myself that I am indeed thankful for functioning kidneys.

Saturday was a big day because some folks at the Catholic Center (myself included) participated in a fun, athletic competition called the “St. Sebastian Cup”. My friend Lauren sent me a snapchat of herself that morning making a protein shake with the caption: “Are you scared?”


I had overnight oats, so no, I was not scared.


The competition consisted of three games of Ultimate Frisbee…


copyright Cecilia R. Photography

My team didn’t score a single point in all three games… but we had HEART. Unfortunately, heart doesn’t get you points.


copyright Cecilia R. Photography

But then there was this banana relay race. We all had to jump across a field and back with a banana between our knees, then run with the banana between partners without using our hands, and finally eat the banana.


copyright Cecilia R. Photography

EXPERT. But only good enough for second place.

Next came the painful part. We played two games of capture the flag, and I may or may not have been plowed over by one of my teammates when we were both sprinting to tag the same person. It all happened in slow motion, and before I knew it, we were both eating dirt and my right hip was talkin’ to me.

But as any elite athlete would, we carried on with the competition.

Lastly, we had tug o’ war with a thin, slippery nylon strap. Safe? Not at all. Blood was shed. Maybe it helps that St. Sebastian is a martyr? (Too dark?)

Anyway, my team got fourth (aka last), and Rachel’s team got first.


copyright Cecilia R. Photography

(*cough* stacked team *cough* what?)


It was a mighty fun time though, and we all went to the dining hall to feast on good food, including some bomb bread pudding.

At night, I attended a Women’s Retreat about being uniquely made. It was a lovely, heartwarming way to end a hard day of “friendly” competition (things got pretty spicy at some points!).


The lovely ladies running the retreat made us vegan sweet potato chili! I un-veganized it with cheese and sour cream 🙂



freshly baked chocolate banana bread ♥︎ 

I did some reading for class back at home afterwards, and I kept falling asleep. Rachel kept waking me up and motivating me to finish my homework like a good friend. But I wanted to sleep.


I think it’s safe to say that everyone who participated in the St. Sebastian Cup woke up moaning in pain on Sunday morning. Convo with my girl, Lauren:

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The pain was even worse two days later.

But Sunday was a beautiful day for productivity, Mass, and National Siblings Day!


banana oatmeal with almond butter for breakfast


not a cloud in the sky


finding places to stand and do work outside


took the siblings out for dinner (Rachel is the “adopted sister”)


roasted butternut squash, goat cheese, spinach, balsamic pizza


berry + vanilla creme crepe

And then there was Monday, which was a solid day all around. We had stretch and massage day in dance class, so that was GREAT.

Hope you all have a fantastic week! Play outside and get into some friendly competition (just be careful).

So tell me:

What is your favorite competitive athletic activity?

Is there something that you get very competitive about?

What did you do this weekend? 

Do You Like That Just Because It’s Healthier?

You might have been asked that question before:

“Do you eat that just because it’s healthier or because you actually think it tastes good?”

I get it. It’s true that the healthier option can leave you longing for the real deal food.



For example, the following foods are best in their truest, non-“healthified” forms:

  • ice cream and gelato (love you, Arctic Zero, but you’re not ice cream)
  • almost any dessert, for that matter (butter, sugar, flour=♥)
  • cheese (nutritional yeast can never be a creamy brie or sharp cheddar)
  • beef burgers (turkey, chicken, black bean burgers…valiant effort)
  • pasta (spaghetti squash is a vegetable and only a vegetable)
  • peanut butter (PB2 and Better ‘N’ Peanut Butter are travesties)
  • fried fries (baked fries are delicious, but not as delicious. don’t lie.)
  • the whole egg (the chicken gave you the whole egg, let’s be courteous and at least eat a yolk or two)
  • real meat and fish (tempeh, tofu, seitan, beans— eh.)
  • sugar, honey, maple syrup (someone please tell me you sense a weird aftertaste from stevia)
  • milk chocolate (I know a lot of you love dark chocolate, but I gag on that stuff)
  • full fat or 2% yogurt (I don’t want to turn back to sour nonfat)
  • sweetened sunflower seed butter (unsweetened sunflower seed butter is like glue in my mouth)
  • cow’s milk (it’s the cookie’s favorite beverage. almond milk is second place.)

In other words, I do not plan on becoming a vegan any time soon.

But then there some instances in which I genuinely prefer the taste of a healthier food over its less healthy counterpart.

  • natural peanut butter vs. commercial brand
  • whole grain bread vs. white bread (only when it comes to sandwich bread. restaurant bread is a whole ‘nother story!)
  • plain Greek yogurt vs. pre-sweetened yogurt
  • brown rice vs. white rice
  • vegetables vs. other side/snack  (sometimes)

Of course, what I actually eat depends on the day and my mood. But I don’t force feed myself healthy foods just because they’re healthy. I’ve come to trust that my body craves what it needs. If it wants a fresh, crisp salad, I’ll eat it. If it wants a hearty meat dish, I’ll have that.

Sometimes I will be especially mindful of salt and sugar intake if I’ve been eating a lot of either, because too much of those things makes me feel like poop (physically, not so much mentally). In those cases, I might choose the less tasty, healthier versions to bring my blood sugar/sodium levels back to earth.


I’ll stop talking about food and let you see food!


Yesterday, I ate mostly healthy stuff, because that’s just the way the cookie (Quest bar?) crumbled.


breakfast peanut butter banana rice pudding with Greek yogurt and chia seeds + strawberries

I was actually craving a smoothie, but I forgot to freeze bananas the night before, so I made this instead. A great choice featuring natural peanut butter and brown rice.

And because this was a pretty sweet breakfast, I wanted mostly savory for snack and lunch.


mixed nuts — this times ten perhaps


leftover pulled pork over salad

If I have a salty, saucy meat dish, I love having fresh veggies underneath to soak up the juices and make it taste a little less salty in my mouth.


For snacks, I like to be satisfied with flavorful things. I chose processed snap pea crisps over the bell pepper strips I was thinking of packing. I also had half a Justin’s vanilla almond butter sandwich on Dave’s Killer Bread. The hearty, whole grain bread was tasty and kept me full.




More salad with brown rice and leftover chicken, because I was lazy. That’s the reason.


Bell peppers with hummus— now I wanted that crispy freshness to cool down my mouth from the sriracha I put on my salad.


mint chocolate chip Quest bar (still from Blend swag) with peanut butter

I know. It’s a Quest bar with stevia in it. I still like it, but it will forever only be “dessert”— with quotation marks.

This is real dessert from Monday night:


vanilla bean ice cream with strawberries and a cinnamon raisin WB Kitchen cookie (which is pretty good, but definitely no oatmeal raisin cookie)

I’m getting some more real ice cream tonight with my friends 🙂

Hope your days are filled with sugar, spice, and everything nice!

So tell me:

Some less healthy foods that cannot be replaced justly.

Some healthy foods that you actually prefer.

What did you have for snacks yesterday? I need some new snack ideas!