Camping “Lite” + Life Lately

I have a first degree burn on my upper lip from a blazing hot marshmallow.

On a separate occasion, my friend Zoe flung a blue-flaming marshmallow onto my lap. It’s been an exciting week!!

This weekend, some of my friends and I headed to the lovely state of New Hampshire to camp at Bear Brook State Park. I’m going to call it camping lite, because there were pretty nice bathrooms, and we ran to the grocery store once to pick up bagels and beer LOL. However, we still started our own campfires, cooked on the campfires, slept in tents/hammocks, hiked a bit, swam in lakes, and I didn’t shower for three days despite the campsite having bath houses (*shrugs*). Hygiene seemed very optional in our group on this particular weekend.

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Truly though, this was the most magnificent weekend. I had been wanting to go camping for ages (mostly for the goal of seeing stars, which we did two nights in a row!). We could not have survived without our friend Domenica who came through with literally ALL the camping equipment, as well everyone besides me who knew how to start a campfire.

We cooked burgers, brats, toasted bagels, and s’mores on the campfire throughout the weekend, and let me t e l l you: nothing tastes better in the world than food that you really work for (and that has natural smoke flavor, mm, and maybe some crunchy gravel #texture). I still smell my smoky hair (I promise I’ve showered multiple times since the trip), and all I think of is our kumbaya circle around the fire and how time just seemed to slow down twofold out there.

Other highlights included:

  • A three hour trail walk that had some nice hills. Zoe and Connor were brave enough to be the first to eat wild blueberries on the way, and thank the Lord, because those li’l bloobs were life-changing. Special thanks to Rachel and Austin for navigating the confusing trail map. The only bummer was that the summit of the hike was view-less and infested with ants. Like, we got up there, stayed for 0.5 seconds, and immediately ran back downhill while slapping biting ants off our ankles.
  • Saying a rosary with all my friends while walking on the trail.
  • Deep chats and fireside stories. (Almost didn’t add this because it sounds so freaking cheesy.)
  • Waking up to tall pine trees and blue skies that we could see through Dom’s open-top tent.
  • Waking up to Dom’s alarm, a rap song called “Stomp the Bleachers.”

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  • Swimming in lakes. And finding out that it is VERY normal for people to pee in lakes and oceans? I knew that people did it, but I did not know that it was so widely ACCEPTED. Also that pee is sterile?? My whole world has turned upside down.
  • Treading water and swimming (leisurely) for the first time in ages. Not a modality that I am used to; it felt like more of a workout than it should have.
  • Visiting Domenica’s family and seeing their farm full of chickens, bees, and a pig. Her parents very generously hosted us for lunch and dinner on Sunday, which was fantastic all around. We are so grateful!
  • Domenica’s family. I just love them.
  • Going to Mass on Sunday with the crew.
  • A water station right next to our campsite, so that this water chugger never went thirsty.
  • The sky full of stars each night. Makes my heart flutter.

It was also gloriously cool in the evenings, which was a welcomed change from the sweaty nights we’ve been having in our hot box apartment in Boston. It was pretty brutal last week.

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peep Zoe top left with an ice pop and box fan

Fourth of July was a blast! A bunch of friends came over to our apartment for lots of noshing and a little drinking throughout the day, complete with a visit to the park, JP Licks ice cream, and fireworks over the Charles River at night.

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Oh I just reminded myself that I want to see how the World Cup is going. I am only really into it by diffusion from friends’ enthusiasm. Top left photo shows Sarah, Zoe and I watching the Colombia v. Poland game a while ago at a bar.

Rachel and I also went on a grand food bucket list date a couple weeks ago. We started with a DECADENT brunch at North Street Grille early in the morning (tiny place — long line forms fast) for lobster benedict (the bucket list item) and chicken and waffle sliders. All with a heck of a lot of home fries. Ho.ly.mo.ly. Not gonna lie, we thought the chicken and waffle slider was the winner over the lobster benedict, but it was all phenomenal anyway. We bought but did not eat (not enough stomach space) a bar of Taza chocolate, and then we slooooowly sipped iced hot chocolate from L.A. Burdick and gave the last of it to Sarah to finish later.

Besides my vacationing, I’ve been volunteering at the Little Sisters of the Poor, which is basically a skilled nursing facility/nursing home/hospice for elderly folks from very low income backgrounds. It’s been a wonderful time. I am learning a lot about joy, patience, and being very present with the person right in front of you.

I’ve also been walking a lot because it’s 3 miles each way to Little Sisters of the Poor.

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And here’s a random photo of one of the most soul-nourishing sunsets that I watched from campus last week. Lots of growth happening here.

Next Monday starts six weeks of PT clinical!

So tell me:

Have you ever gone camping?

What is your favorite part of camping?

Do you pee in lakes (be honest, no judgement; I have done it)?

What are some highlights of your summer so far?

 

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Fourth of July in Boston

Coming you today fresh out of one of the best weekends ever!

Fireworks were exploding for Fourth of July, and my heart was exploding with joy from being with people I love so much.

Here’s why this weekend was “one for the books,” in the words of Rachel.

-Overnight oats for the super early train ride into the city.

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-Smooth and safe bus rides to and from Boston.

-Lunch back at the ol’ Boston University.

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-Rachel finding me standing while eating this lunch (four hours on a bus = butt in pain). First words out of her mouth: “You are NOT standing right now.”

-Giving and receiving big hugs from my friends again.

-Praying with my friends. Having friends in faith is inspiration taken to a whole new level.

-A three hour walk around Boston with Rachel just because we had so much to talk about. Love that chick.

-Making pizza balls on the floor of Rachel’s apartment because… #collegestudentlife. The pizza balls were messy and uneven in size/shape, but they were delicious. Two girls, one package of pizza dough, God knows how much cheese, all gone.

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-Talking with my friends into the wee hours of the morning.

-Being woken up by sunshine and birds (not ideal at 7 AM, but still a beautiful thing).

-Banana oatmeal with pb made in my friends’ apartment for breakfast.

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looks like a smaller portion than it actually was, mostly because my spoonful of peanut butter was HUGE

-Spending an absolutely gorgeous day at the beach with some of my favorite people.

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-Climbing rocks and playing frisbee on the beach.

-Eating a sandwich on the beach (it’s true, Jen— tastes better on the beach!).

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-TORI KELLY CONCERT (with Jeff Leblanc as the opener). She sounds even better live. We got on line kinda late after getting back from the beach, so we could only get a spot in the back (it was general admission).

There was a guy who was at least 6 feet tall right in front me at first, but he realized I was strugglin’ behind him, so he courteously asked if I wanted to switch spots with him. Forever grateful for little acts of kindness like that! Also, the venue is pretty small, so she still seemed so close.

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-Not worrying about specific eating times/what exactly/how much I’m eating, and just going with the flow. I snacked my way through dinner between the beach and the concert. Then I had a second dinner with Ben and Rachel after the concert at 11 PM.

-A fabulous Fourth of July: sleeping in, brunch (I ate huevos rancheros for the first time— amazing), watching Black Hawk Down (very violent, cried a bit), a cute apartment dinner, ice cream (PB cookies and cream from J.P. Licks, oh my goodness), and fireworks over the Charles River.

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-Cheesy bread to finish off the day.

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-Saying goodbye to my friends. WAIT, I’m not being mean. Of course it broke my heart, but my sadness in saying goodbye reminded me that it is a wonderful gift from God to have such incredible friends who I seriously trust with my life.

-Eating this classic lunch upon arriving back home. Avocado toast with sunny eggs and sriracha + leaves salad.

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-Fun things in the mail: new books and snail mail from my friend Emma! I ♥ pen pals.

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-USA Women’s Soccer Team winning the World Cup!

-My parents’ anniversary today! My bro and I are blessed to have parents who display such love and sacrifice for one another and for their children.

-Jury duty today. Not my activity of choice, but hey, might as well continue the proud-to-be-American theme, right?

Wishing you all an awesome Monday! Eat something doughy and cheesy.

So tell me:

American friends, what did you do for the Fourth?

Non-Americans, what did you do this weekend?

Have you ever been summoned for jury duty?

Weekend Moves and Grooves {MIMM #25}

Today? School? What the heck is school?

Yes, yes. The time has finally come to go back to the grind after a seemingly endless string of snow days and then winter break. As much as I’ll miss my days of chillaxin’, I’d say it’s about time to get back into a routine. Spring is upon us, and I need to buckle down for all the events coming up!

This last weekend before turning my brain back on included a ton of moves & grooves (naturally), and a lot of delicious eats. All marvelous things!

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Linking up with Katie‘s Marvelous in My Monday!

Friday

This was technically my last day to myself since dance started back up on Saturday, so I definitely soaked up the time. My morning started off with my favorite breakfast— overnight oats. After reading blogs and doing some religious education prep, I went to my happy place and baked some banana nut muffins (using this recipe + walnuts). Does anyone else feel that baking is therapeutic? Or maybe I just think it’s therapeutic because I know I’ll have a sweet end product. 😉

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Moves

I headed to the gym for a bodyweight leg workout. After a 5 minute warmup on the arc trainer, I completed 3 rounds of each set of these bodyweight exercises:

  • 10 modified pistol squats (each leg) + 20 Bulgarian split squats (each leg)
  • 60 sec. wall sit (I did hold a weight for this one) + 20 lunge pulses each leg
  • 20 hamstring ball curls + 20 single leg bridge lifts (each leg)

Short and sweet! I ended with a quick 8 minute ab tabata that included 2 rounds of: toe touches, Russian twists, Spiderman planks, reverse crunches, side plank hip raises right and left, cross knee tuck planks, and ankle touches.

Then my mom came home with sashimi. She’s the best. ❤

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I also made a valiant effort to finally continue reading Catching Fire on Friday. Yeah, I’ve prolonged reading that book for about two years now. I still only read about 5 more pages…I’m not dedicated enough. But I wanna watch the dang movie, so that’s my motivation.

I was probably distracted by the awesomeness of this dinner:

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Sesame soba noodles (made by Mom), bell peppers, coconut oil roasted brussels sprouts, cashews, and a soft-boiled egg.

Everything was already prepped thanks to Mom, so this dinner came together in about 2 minutes, and it ROCKED. And if I may… #eattherainbow.

Saturday

I woke up thinking, “Wow. I actually have to do stuff today.” That stuff included dance from 11 AM -4 PM and then Mass at 5:30 PM. In the evening, we went out for a Groupon dinner (surprised?) at one of our favorite Persian restaurants. I totally spoiled my appetite by eating a snack at 4:30 after dance and then eating way too much of the appetizer. It was a delicious eggplant dip with house-made naan.

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I had only a few bites of my entree because I was already so full. Amazing falafel salad! I was sad that I couldn’t eat more of it.

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Lucky for me though, the waitress took quite a while before taking our dessert order and bringing them out, so I had time to digest and make room for the good stuff 🙂 Persian saffron ice cream and THE BEST saffron pistachio cake. I think it’s my favorite cake ever!

Sunday

Compared to others’ Sundays, mine are usually pretty long and full. It kinda goes against Sunday as a day of rest, but teaching Sunday school and dancing aren’t really considered work. It’s a joy to spread God’s teachings and dance with my girls!

My friend in dance company, Rachel, baked blueberry muffins for our brunch yesterday, and it hit the spot. I am a HUGE sucker for blueberry muffins. Hers had cinnamon and so many plump blueberries! Thank you for making my day, Rachel. 🙂

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Dance rehearsal was especially tiring yesterday, so I was more than ready to relax at home with my parents to watch the Harding-Kerrigan-20-year-later special (<—did anyone else watch that? the tension is real.) and the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. I smiled at Russia’s sense of humor as they mocked their own opening ceremonies.

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I’m sad that they’re over! Sochi bear’s tears almost made me cryI guess it’s a good thing though, because I would be staying up until the wee hours of school nights to watch them. My family always gets really into the games…as you can tell from our hockey-watching drama. We’re already looking forward to Rio! Oh, and the World Cup is this year too, right? So we’ll turn into soccer fans for a little while just for that. 

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#TeamUSA

So this is goodbye to the Olympics and my perpetual winter break. Unless it snows again. If it does, I can kiss my spring break goodbye.

It was a wonderful weekend though, and I hope the same is true for all of you! Have a great Monday, friends!

So tell me:

Do you find baking/cooking therapeutic?

What is the best cake you’ve ever had?

Three things you did this weekend!