Taking a Piece of Last Year Into the Next

I rang in my new year watching the Times Square countdown on TV while eating celery with hummus, drinking (sparkling) watered down pomegranate juice, and making overnight oats.

And I gotta be honest, I was pretty darn content with all of it (except the watered down pom juice; that was disgusting).

Here we are in 2018! Oooh I just realized that this is an Olympic year in PyeongChang! (Had to google that.) I doubt I’ll be able to watch any of it this year though, since it’ll be happening right at the beginning/middle of the semester :/

Here’s another collage of the past few days’ happenings. I’ll call this collage: “Food and fun, feat. the back of my head.”

new year collage

Breakfasts have still been of the peanut butter banana variety, and I don’t foresee that changing in 2018. Top left is an overnight oat smoothie blended with spinach in the morning, and below that is a Greek yogurt bowl with banana, cinnamon, honey and peanut butter.

I think breakfast with pb and banana will always make me feel…at home. It’s something I enjoy, and it gives me a sense of familiarity. Like, “Shhhhh, everything will be okay. There’s pb and banana here.”


throwback pic from when I was in FL 3 years ago

The other day I was running around the neighborhood because it was gorgeous here in FL last week (now it’s all gloomy and blah). I had run 3 miles and was mentally prepared to go for another 1.5 mile loop, but just as I was passing by the house, Madre called me and asked, “Where are you? We’re eating lunch now. I made tuna tataki!” Running more vs. eating fresh tuna? The latter won, and boy was I happy about it. Thanks, ma!

I’ve been into @tanyapoppet‘s workouts these past few days. I’ve always loved her creativity and minimal use of equipment / time. I also feel like she performs at a level that is more advanced than my current level, but it’s still manageable and attainable. I did three rounds of this workout one night at, like, 11pm + this one yesterday. Good grief, I have not done these kinds of complex moves in a while, and my two-cookie-a-day lifestyle this past week did not make the workout easier.


(Top middle photo on collage): On New Years Eve, Mom and Pop took our family friends (and me) out to Crazy Buffet for some MSG-loaded fun. Despite it being mainly an Asian buffet, my favorite thing I got was probably the mac & cheese and the coconut tapioca pudding HAHA.

(Bottom left corner photo on collage): Yesterday I made crab cakes using this recipe, and they were fabulous. The only setback was that I had to make fake Old Bay Seasoning, since I forgot to pick some up from the store and didn’t feel like getting a whole container for one recipe. We had about half of the spices used in Old Bay available in our pantry, but I had to grind up whole bay leaves with my fingers as best as I could. It was a pitiful sight, I’m sure.

Lots of Mass and prayer have been going down, as always. A lot of my prayer has guided me towards what I talked about in my last post — living for God and saying yes to Him today.

this year as with every year, Lord: Thy will be done

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I’m not a resolution person, because I dunno…December 31st was just as important and opportune for change / improvement as January 1st. Rather than making a new resolution for 2018, I think I want to take what I learned from 2017 with me into 2018, so that those lessons can foster growth in new ways.


hahaha Spartan Race with my friend Ben was definitely a highlight of 2017

What do I mean? Well, the best thing I learned in 2017 was to say yes to God every day in the littlest ways. I know the basic things that God wants me to do: Love Him. Love others. Do my best in school. Take care of myself so that I can take care of others. 

I learned that persistently and consistently saying yes to any little thing that goes towards one of those things has somehow, by the grace of God, made me a better person (I think).

For example: Making someone feel important and heard by turning my shoulders squarely and intently towards the person while he/she is talking to me, instead of looking semi-annoyed and staying half-turned toward my laptop (do you know what I’m talking about???)… Even saying yes to little things like that matters.

Being obedient to God in all the tiny things has made life richer, because even mundane details become meaningful and even beautiful.

Thus, I just want to continue practicing saying yes to Him all day, every day in 2018 (and forever).

I neverrrr knowwww iffff anything I sayyyy makes senseeeee. Hopefully it does.

Happy First Tuesday of 2018! An occasion for some champagne, yes?

So tell me:

How did you ring in 2018?

Are you a resolution person? If yes, what are your resolutions? If not, do you do anything else going into the new year?

What is a food that always makes you feel “at home”?


Out of Blogging Shape

Merry Christmas!!! I hope you all had a fantastic day with loved ones yesterday!

Six months ago, you wouldn’t have to ask me once to remember to blog, but currently, I feel as though I’ve fallen out of “blogging shape”. Several friends have had to remind me that I could utilize my break from school to blog more, and I just respond by saying, “…Huh. You’re right. I almost forgot I had a blog.”

Part of the reason I’ve been hesitant to bite the bullet and blog more frequently again (besides grad school busyness finally dying down and my subsequent desire to do absolutely nothing) is that I feel like I have too much I could blog about. As I both implicitly and explicitly described in my traditional end-of-semester blog post, I have learned oodles of academic lessons and life lessons alike; I could probably write a short novel about everything that swirls around my head these days.

But as I would do when getting back into physical shape, I’ll ease into blogging shape again by starting light and slow. Let’s start with a recap of Christmas break so far.

(Also, I’m running out of media storage space on WordPress, and since your girl doesn’t have the time nor the money to upgrade to WordPress Premium just for extra photo storage, we’re gonna work with collages. Not ideal, but better than nothing!)

Christmas collage

We made it to balmy Florida last Friday, feeling climate-confused (i.e. hot and cranky) carrying our heavy winter coats out of the airplane and into the humidity of Orlando. I cannot complain about the 70 degree temperatures and blue skies down here though 😀

Most of our meals have been Asian home-cooked meals made by Madre. Everything from pho to spring rolls to sticky rice with Laotian sausage to Korean galbi jjim (aka the best beef dish I ever did taste). She snuck in steak with blue cheese sauce one night too, and that was SOULFUL. I love cooking for myself in Boston, but ain’t nobody got time for steak over there.

Other things I’ve eaten include oatmeal (classic), Cheetos (childhood fave), avocado egg toast (classic), fried bananas (omg), salads (nutrition), and fried pork belly (LIVE UR LIFE).

Moves and grooves have come in the form of hula hooping, peddle boating (Ben gifted the boat to the fam for Christmas!), Just Dance, Wii Sports, and some outdoor workouts.

Side note: If you peddle boat fast enough, it’s a decent butt workout. Should I peddle boat to a spin class playlist??

We technically started Christmas Day on the dot at 12am with midnight Mass, which was gloooooorious! Ladies dressed in red, trumpets blasting (legit trumpets were used during Mass, so fun), joyful spirits, and Jesus in the manger. UGH.

I also ate an embarrassing number of my aunt’s homemade cookies to celebrate. 🙂

After sleeping in, we ate brunch and then FaceTimed many of our family members for a couple hours. I fried some bananas for the masses and did 100 burpees for time and for… fun (?) before we headed to our family friends’ house for Christmas dinner!

The top left corner photo of the collage shows just a little bit of what we ate. Everyone’s mother is such a good cook!! Options included pot roast, galbi jjim that Madre made, sweet and salty ribs, pancit malabon (Filipino noodle dish), peanut oxtail with eggplant and bok choy, asparagus, and loads of white rice as the base for all that goodness. Dessert included fried bananas, brownies, and pistachio muffins. #blessed and #stuffed.

The “kids” (read: all of us under the age of 27) watched a hilariously and nauseatingly cheesy Hallmark movie before we switched to Beauty and the Beast, to which we sang along with passion and enthusiasm.

Back at home, I prayed with the Christmas Day Gospel (John 1:1-18) and reflected on the truly incredible and beautiful mystery of Christmas. This quote from the former pope also struck me:

God’s sign is the baby in need of help and in poverty. Exactly the same sign has been given to us… God’s sign is simplicity… God’s sign is that he makes himself small for us. This is how he reigns.

He does not come with power and outward splendor. He comes as a baby — defenseless and in need of our help. He does not want to overwhelm us with his strength. He takes away or fear of his greatness. He asks for our love: so he makes himself a child. He wants nothing other from us than our love, through which we spontaneously learn to enter into his feelings, his thoughts, and his will — we learn to live with him and to practice with him that humility of renunciation that belongs to the very essence of love.

God made himself small so that we could understand him, welcome him, and love him…

Christmas has become the feast of gifts in imitation of God who has given himself to us. Let us allow our heart, our soul, and our mind to be touched by this fact!

— Pope Benedict XVI

And with that, I wish you a blessed week ahead, friends. I think I’m going to go on a walk (step counts always plummet by literally thousands when I’m home vs. at school), work out… and maybe study a bit (I know, I am cringing too, but I must retain information!).

I feel like I used so many parentheses in this post. *shrug*

So tell me:

How did you celebrate Christmas (or any other holiday during this season)?

Best thing you ate this week.

Have you ever gone peddle boating?


Soaking Up the Slumber

I have goosebumps.

It’s been a little bit chilly here in Boston this week! But man, is it lovely. We have been blessed with sunshine and ~perfect~ temperatures.

Classes start again in just 4 days, so I have given myself guilt-free permission to soak up as much slumber and relaxation as I can before all hell breaks loose (← drama queen).

For example, on Monday I set my alarm for 8 am, but I closed my eyes for two seconds… and the next thing I know, it’s 10 am. LOL. It’s still been a productive week of getting some errands done, catching up with friends, praying, and (yes) even a little bit of studying to prepare for classes.


Here are some random thoughts and things from the noggin on this Friday:

1) What is your all-time favorite fudgy brownie recipe? I made some for my friends and myself last weekend using this recipe from I Am Baker, and they were delicious, but I’m open to recommendations!


2) The Super Premium French Vanilla ice cream from Trader Joe’s is RIDICULOUS. It is the most luxuriously creamy and dreamy ice cream I have ever purchased from a store.

3) Shoutout to my friend Evan for poaching eggs for avocado toast. We ran into each other at Mass on Sunday and decided to catch up over lunch. I offered to make us avocado toast instead of going out to eat (yo girl has been spending so much $$ recently), and we both appreciated the decision.


I think making avocado toast is my love language to all my friends.


more egg toasts this week (one with cheese, garlic salt, red pepper flakes and cumin + one classic avocado with sriracha)

4) I had some random determination to make a vegetarian meal for this week’s dinners, so I made this chickpea and spinach curry. The full-fat coconut milk in it warms my heart and clogs my heart all at the same time, and I love it. This was also my first time using garam masala! It only took me TWENTY MINUTES to find it at the grocery store.


5) The BEST thing I made this week was peach blueberry cobbler — a summer necessity in my book! I doubled this recipe and obviously added blueberries.


buttery biscuit goodness enveloping saucy sweet fruit YES

Undoubtedly had to eat it a la mode (hot out of the oven, might I add). More of that dreamy vanilla ice cream from TJs.


I got to share it with many friends the day I made it, which made me very happy.

6) I ate out for three meals in a row, and although I felt a little “blah” from all the heavy food, it was so worth the company and conversation. The food was also fabulous.

Meal #1 was at Audubon with my dear friend Casey. We hadn’t caught up one-on-one in so long, so this was much needed.


love this girl so much

We shared the polpette (meatballs that they made with venison and beef) with asiago, tomato sauce and the most delicious charred hunk o’ bread.


And then I had the roasted vegetable salad, which had delicious things like sweet potatoes, beets, fennel (did not realize how much I liked fennel ’til that night!), brussels sprouts, fennel, arugula, and pine nuts. Look how pretty this stack is!


It does’t look like much in this photo, but there were SO MANY vegetables in there. I had to take some home.

Meal #2 and #3 do not have photo documentation because I didn’t feel like whipping out my phone in the middle of conversation. Yesterday afternoon, Fr. Barnes (our Catholic Center chaplain) kindly treated me to a burger and a beer at the Sunset Grill and Tap as a belated birthday gift to me. Both the burger and the beer (I got the Great Divide “Roadie” Grapefruit Radler) were superb.

Late at night, my friend Elayne and her parents generously treated me to dinner at Barcelona Wine and Tapas, since I helped Elayne move earlier in the day. We shared four bomb tapas + seafood paella + crepes and ice cream. Oh my goodness.

Full of many good things indeed.

7) I am convinced that my current training goals include move-in and move-out. I work out so that I can move furniture and boxes up and down stairs efficiently and safely. #FunctionalFitness.

8) This burpee box jump workout is killer if you ever need something to get the heart rate up. I subbed 12 heavy over-the-shoulder slam ball throws for the wall balls. Your soleus might be extremely sore the next day, to the point of wanting to strangle a small animal when foam rolling them.

This is also a short and sweet 16- minute workout that will make your butt sore for days.

4 rounds, 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off:

  • goblet squats (35# KB)
  • dive bomber pushups
  • box jumps (25 in)
  • side jump lunges
  • pushup burpees
  • KB swings (35#)

9) I just enjoyed a very green smoothie, because my veggie intake yesterday included lettuce on my burger and a couple mushrooms smothered in goat cheese. And many many potatoes.


10) I hope my American/Canadian friends have wonderful Labor/Labour Day weekends! And good luck to all my fellow college students starting the new semester. If you’re anxious…

Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your lifespan? If even the smallest things are out of your control, why are you anxious about the rest? – Luke 12:25

These words have been giving me a lot of peace amidst the worry of a very busy semester ahead.


So tell me:

What is a classic summer dessert that you love to eat/make every year?

What is your favorite store-bought brand of ice cream?

Favorite brownie recipe?

What are you doing this weekend?

College students: How does the schedule look like this semester? Mine makes me a little nauseous looking at it, but we shall overcome!!


Virtual Breakfast Date

virtual breakfast date

…I would squeal that we get to chat over my FAVORITE MEAL OF THE DAY!


overnight oats in an almost empty pb jar + granola on top for crunch

…I might yawn and say, “excuse me,” because I woke up at 6am (which is E A R L Y for this night owl) to work out with my dear friend Elayne.

Elayne: “Oh my gosh are you limping!?”

Me: “No I just can’t walk this early in the morning.”


‘Twas so worth the sleepy sweat fest.

3 sets each:

  • 10 DB overhead burpees (10#)
  • 15 side plank hip dips (each side)
  • 20 KB swings (25#)

1 min. burpees

  • 10 renegade rows to plank jump
  • 20 alternating single leg v-ups
  • 20 overhead tricep extensions

1 min. burpees

  • 10 bird dogs
  • 10 plank kick throughs (each side)
  • 10 tabletop sit throughs

1 min. burpees

…I would ask you if you saw the solar eclipse, even though you’re probably 120% done with that convo. Madre and I saw it from home in New York, where we had 76% coverage. My brother’s girlfriend kindly gave us the special eclipse glasses for optimal viewing!


AND for optimal photo-taking. (Hundred percent accidentally looked directly at the sun for a millisecond.)


I was so stoked to get this shot of the eclipse right around peak time for us!


…I would tell you about this weird breakfast I had at home, made with whatever we had on hand. I warmed up some frozen bananas, mashed them, mixed it with some brown rice Madre had just cooked, and topped it with cinnamon raisin peanut butter. IDK. It was delicious though! Rice-pudding-like.


…I would surprise you by saying that I bought running shoes (more accurately, Madre gifted me new running shoes – thank you ma!). I’m not currently planning on running any races or anything, but a pair of comfy Asics were on sale at TJMaxx, so I just went for it. I do run occasionally, so it’ll be nice to have proper running shoes.

I ran a couple miles in them on solar eclipse day, and then I played around with these pistol burpee handstand ma-jiggies:

…I would excitedly tell you that my family and I ate a fantastic Italian dinner as we got to meet my brother’s new significant other 🙂 So much love for them.


burrata to share as a starter (SO CREAMY AND DREAMY)


salad that came with my pasta


rich and delicious lobster ravioli with artichokes and roasted red peppers


amaretto cake (and unpictured profiteroles) to share for dessert

…I would say that I love my brother. We only had an hour to really hang out and catch up with each other before I had to leave for Boston, but it was great QT. Grateful for this goon!


are the feelings mutual? *shrug*

…I would tell you that I had homemade baklava with homemade skyr (Icelandic yogurt) for breakfast before driving to Boston. Ben’s girlfriend made a huge batch for all of us!! So sweet (literally and figuratively) of her. It was perfect.


…I would remark at this gymnastics/stretching mat that Madre bought for me as a surprise. My room is a mini PT clinic.


…I would proudly say that I finally picked a good pineapple. The last time I bought a pineapple, I had to drown it in honey and microwave it because it was THAT bad.


…I would talk about how grateful I am for Rachel. It’s been so good living with her again, because now we can have girl chat with a glass of wine (or sangria) on the couch at the end of the day. That might change once classes start for me, but for now it’s delightful.


proud of this working woman

…I would show you last night’s tasty dinner. I made Budget Bytes’ glazed pork chops, (← so easy and good!) roasted broccoli, and a random cheese quesadilla on the side (ended up dipping it in ketchup #sorry).


…I would say that God has reminded recently to not be anxious about saying “yes” just to the big things He asks me to do, but to more importantly say “yes” to the very little and mundane things He asks me to do in daily life. If I cannot do His will in little things, there is no way I can do His will in big things. Loving in the littlest ways is sometimes the HARDEST.


…I would squeal once again that I’m going to my friend’s wedding tomorrow! I LOVE WEDDINGS. AND I LOVE MY FRIENDS.

…I would ask you:

What did you eat for breakfast today?

What are some things you want to share? Happy, sad, cool, “aha” moments?

What are your favorite little ways to spend time with loved ones?

Plans for the weekend?

In and Out of Canada {Take Three}

We had such a productive four days in Toronto!

It’s seems that my family has an annual tradition of being in and out of Canada to visit relatives. Here was take one and take two.


Whenever I leave the ever-walkable city of Boston, my daily step count plummets by approximately 15,000 steps, while my calorie intake increases significantly, especially when in Toronto, amidst Asian food paradise.



After a fun and active day on Thursday with my cousins, Friday was a fun and food-filled day with my cousins at the Canadian National Exhibition! First though — moves, grooves and breakfast.

I did a nice 10 minute warmup (I am a zombie if I work our first thing in the morning) before completing this 20 minute workout (30 seconds on, 10 seconds off, 5 rounds):

  • burpee tuck jumps
  • weighted squats
  • donkey kicks
  • superman to scapula retraction
  • burpee to plank kick throughs
  • hamstring ball curls


Followed by 4 x 30-40 second wall walk holds and Greek yogurt with fruit and granola.


My cousin Amy and I were chaperoned by my parents to the train station and then took a train and bus on our own to get downtown.


Quick story: At the train station, I tried to pay for my ticket with a $50 Canadian bill, but the guy at the ticket counter told me, “Go away,” while gesturing to the turnstile. I was confused and slightly distressed and didn’t know what he wanted me to do until Amy whispered, “He wants us to go for free!” OH. (You don’t see this happen in Boston or NYC.)


I’m eight years older than Amy, but age is obviously just a number when it comes to having a clue about anything.


Anyway, after a pleasant (and free) ride on Toronto’s public transit, we arrived at the CNE, ready to explore! The CNE is basically an annual MEGA fair in downtown Toronto. Just visit the website if you want to learn about what happens there; it’s huge.

We explored the “farm” first, which is a building filled with farmers and their animals from around Canada.



I felt the slightest tug to never eat pork or beef ever again, but I’m a cold-hearted person I think eating meat conscientiously is not a bad thing.

Next we visited the arts and crafts building, which housed hundreds of vendors and booths, which means we housed many samples in our bellies.



Amy and I met up a little later with my other cousins, Kate and Megan! We all hung out together for the rest of the day, which made for a sweet girls’ day 🙂


The CNE has quite a few shows and performances throughout the day, so we first went to the ice skating and acrobatics show. It was awesome (and a little heart-attack-inducing with some of those acrobatics). There was also a “Fire Guy” show in front of the arena beforehand.


Then it was time for lunch! The food building is RIDICULOUS, guys. There are so many food stands, healthy and…daring alike.


this is like 10% of it

I walked around for 10 minutes feeling overwhelmed yet hungry, but I knew that I definitely wanted pierogis (Polish potato and cheese dumplings), so I got a cup of four with sour cream on the side to start.


My uncle also recommended the waffle ice cream sandwich (a CNE classic apparently), so I had my heart set on one of those. It did not disappoint!!


it doesn’t look like much, but it was PERFECT — tender, buttery, warm and toasted waffles with good ol’ vanilla ice cream in the middle — UGH

I wish I had more time/money/space in my stomach to spare, because there were so many things I wanted to try. Look at this list of 10 outrageous foods at the CNE, some of which look repulsive and some of which I would so eat.

We scurried out of lunch to watch the parkour show just outside the food building! This was one of my favorite things at the CNE. It’s just so entertaining and awe-inspiring to see people flip and jump over obstacles like it’s absolutely nothing.


After the parkour show, Amy and I walked around the carnival area while Megan and Kate went on a couple rides.


Amy and I shared a corn dog at some point because a) Amy had never eaten corn dog before; b) I secretly love corn dogs.


The four of us met back up at another big exhibition hall for more samples and people trying to sell us things, like these self-massagers (admittedly, I could have used that thing for an hour).


There were also sand and butter sculptures in the making!


the butter sculptors were working on recreating that black and white photo in the background — Justin Trudeau holding baby pandas LOL

‘Twas such a successful trip to the CNE with these beautiful ladies!


met up with our Aunt Sharon at the very end too!

Amy and I headed back outbound to our families for sushi dinner at 8pm. I really wanted vegetables at this point, and a starter salad had to suffice for the day, but I’m okay with a day of only 2-ish servings of fruits/veggies.

Because THIS:


{Sushi} Roll me outta there.

On Saturday we spent a lot of time with Pop’s parents, which was wonderful. There was also a big family lunch at Congee Queen in there!


The rest of the day was just spent chillin’ with my grandparents, dropping them off at a wedding, a walk/deep chat with Pop, Mass, and then more foooooood.


Vietnamese for dinner (aka so many veggies YES)


my two kids in a candy store 😉


banana + tapioca in coconut milk *moment of silence*


red bean pastry

My Asian side (aka my whole side) thrives in Toronto.

We all had big plans for Sunday morning, but none of them really worked out. I had big plans to work out before we hit the road for NY, but that didn’t happen as I went to sleep past 1am.

We also had plans to leave at 7am, but that didn’t happen as we promptly discovered that our car battery was completely dead. Thank God for CAA for coming to the rescue! We only left 1.5 hours later than we planned, which wasn’t bad at all. (I also got to foam roll and stretch before sitting in the car all day #bless.)

Then the rest of the day involved road tripping. Snacks and stretching are a must.


ketchup chips are a Canadian road trip specialty/necessity in our family

We were back in New York as the sun was setting, so we headed to So Gong Dong for a last hurrah Korean dinner.


Korean short ribs to share (the best)


veggie bibimbap

Madre also graciously helped me buy some new training/running shoes at TJMaxx after dinner since mine were about as useful as slippers.

One day in NY now before heading back to Boston for another four months!!

Hope you all have a joyous Monday!

p.s. WHO IN THE US IS WATCHING THE SOLAR ECLIPSE!? My brother gave me special eclipse glasses to view it this afternoon from NY (not total eclipse, but 76% coverage isn’t too bad!)

So tell me: 

Have you ever been to the CNE?

What is your favorite carnival food?

Two things you did this weekend!

Has your car battery ever died? Thank God ours didn’t die in the middle of the road!