Thursday Thoughts (on a Friday) 19.0: Birthday Recap Edition

Hello friends! Last week I turned the big 2-7 and this weekend my family is coming to visit me. All four of us will be staying in my one bedroom apartment…it’s definitely going to be cozy! But before the weekend festivities begin, I should recount what’s been going on in my life the past week. The majority of this post will be a massive photo dump from my birthday…but I’ll try to throw in some other non-birthday things as well.



Work  updates:

1) The manuscript for the “short project” has been submitted to my advisor! It’s a co-first-author paper for me, so I’m pretty excited about it. Hopefully he gets back to us with edits soon!

2) The editor comments from a book chapter I recently wrote also came back last week. Amazingly there were only four comments, and the editor had very positive things to say about the manuscript…so that made me feel pretty good. It’s my first first-author manuscript so I’ll be glad to see it finally published.

3) Work has just generally been very busy, which is a good thing I guess. My work trip to D.C. is coming up and I really hope I can finish everything that I need to in time.


Nail Art:


Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail Polish: Sally Hansen Blue on Black


For my birthday dinner my friends and I went to Thai Sookdee in Evanston. I had a delicious dinner and a great time socializing with friends…such a great time that I forgot to take any pictures. Blogger fail 😦

After dinner we ventured to World of Beer for more socializing. This time I DID remember to take some pictures…lots of pictures…Prepare yourself for a massive photo dump:


Love these ladies!


I managed to get a pic with Pete (who is leaving for the summer) and Dana before they left!


Me and the men of office 1021. I love this pic but it’s blurry…


Maria and I (with someone trying to photo bomb us)


Me and my two best friends from Wine Riot


These guys…believe it or not this is the best of three


Ran into Yujin from my group


Me, Sarah (who is successfully preventing a photobomb), and Kayla


Me, Maria, Kayla, and Sarah

Sarah even brought me a piece of birthday cake to the bar. I felt so special!!!




Thanks again Sarah! I really appreciated it!


Guess who came into town on Wednesday????


That’s right this girl! I had a great time wandering around campus yesterday showing her off. We also braved the cold and the wind to take a quick  walk along the lake:


My parents got in to town this afternoon and it’s sure to be a great weekend!


Well that’s it for now. I hope everyone has a great and safe memorial day weekend!


Thursday Thoughts (on a Friday) 18.0

Hello friends! Yup. My Thursday Thoughts are being published on a Friday again…but Friday Thoughts just doesn’t have the same ring.



Work  updates:

1) TAing has kept me very busy this week. There was a midterm in my class this week and my students were asking me hard science questions. Usually, I just have to help them out with the homework problems so I can answer most questions that come my way fairly easily. This week they were clearly thinking really deep thoughts about solid state physics. Yikes. Luckily with the help of a few textbooks I was able to answer them.

2) The “short” project is officially over! We are writing the manuscript! Yay! I am also starting another small study (and this one will actually be small since I am in charge of it) similar to the one we just completed. This one will be entirely my own, and since it’s small I should be able to start writing in a month or two. Keep your fingers crossed for me.


Nail Art (‘scuse the chips):


Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail Polish: Sally Hansen Midnight in New York

Glitter Polish: Revlon Sparkling, and Revlon Blue Mosaic

I loved this manicure and am mad at myself for not taking a picture of it when it was fresh!


Tuesday with Morrie showed up to COMPETE on Tuesday. We dominated both games and picked up $40 in gift cards. The second round win was in large part thanks to yours truly. Generally, I help out with a few of the answers every round but this week was my week. It’ll probably never happen again but it was nice while it lasted. I had hoped to put up the picture of us with our giftcard, but the Sporcle people haven’t uploaded it to their Facebook page yet. Boo.


For the last 2 years now, I’ve attended Second Glass’s Wine Riot. This is an awesome event where you get to sample wines from all over the world for four hours. In addition to the being able to taste the wines, they have short courses to teach you things about wines. There are also temporary tattoos, a photoboth (which is always interesting after a few hours of drinking wine), and LOTS of delicious Cabot cheese. This year they added some other interactive exhibits such an exhibit where you could directly compare wines to determine if you like “oaked” or “unoaked” wines or “old world” or “new world” wines better. Just for the record I preferred “oaked” and “new world” wines…I had a fabulous time and will now (shortly) recap the event with some photos:


I began the day tasting wines and went to two classes. The first course was put on by the Naked Grape Winery, and taught me the difference between Oaked and Unoaked wines. I actually learned a lot. I went to another course on South American wines and very much enjoyed the wines (who doesn’t love a good Argentinian Malbec) but don’t remember most of that one because I was too busy texting my dad this:


I may be nearly 27 but I still like to give my parents a hard time. Of course they didn’t believe me (since it’s pretty clear I’d been to visit the temporary tattoo booth), but it was still fun to send it to them.

In addition to taking classes, tasting wines, eating cheese, and getting temporary tattoos we took pictures:


And visited the infamous PHOTOBOOTH!!!!!


Wouldn’t you like to be friends with these people?

The photographer convinced us to take this one:


The contingent of Tuesday’s with Morrie that was represented at Wine Riot (i.e. me, Dan, and Kayla) decided to have our picture taken in the photobooth as well:


As the oldest member of Tuesday’s With Morrie I was handed this sign


Overall I had a GREAT time at my third Wine Riot.


After Wine Riot, Kayla, Dan, and I were headed to the train when we walked past the Willis Tower (aka the Sears Tower). We decided it’d be fun to take a trip up and take pictures since neither Kayla nor I had ever been up (and Dan hadn’t been there since they’d added the Sky Ledge).


After paying the $18 and pretending to watch a movie we weren’t interested in we finally got to go to the top.



Then we waited in line and got a turn at the Sky Ledge


Aww aren’t we so cute?


Oh No! We’re Falling!!


O.k. now we are sleeping

As you can see, the money was well spent. Thanks very much to the random stranger who took the pictures of these crazy people…

Back on the ground we paused for one more picture by the river


Wine teeth…super classy!

You guys are great friends and I had an awesome time.


Well that’s it for now. Have a great weekend everyone!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8.0

Hey Everyone! I hope you had a great weekend. It’s time for another installment of “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?”


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Last week I finished:

Clash of Kings

Synopsis adapted from Goodreads:

Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over and age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King’s Landing. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.

In many ways I think I liked Clash of Kings better than Game of Thrones. For starters, I know I remembered less of season 2 of Game of Thrones than season 1 which I think enhanced the reading experience for me. Also, I think reading about the characters as opposed to just watching them on television has helped me become more invested in them as well. In any case, I enjoyed reading book 2 and look forward to reading book 3! 4/5 stars.

This week I am reading:


Synopsis adapted from Goodreads:

In her final novel, as in her earlier ones, Jane Austen uses a love story to explore and gently satirize social pretensions and emotional confusion. Persuasion follows the romance of Anne Elliot and naval officer Frederick Wentworth. They were happily engaged until Anne’s friend, Lady Russell, persuaded her that Frederick was “unworthy.” Now, eight years later, Frederick returns, a wealthy captain in the navy, while Anne’s family teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. They still love each other, but their past mistakes threaten to keep them apart. Austen may seem to paint on a small canvas, but her characters contain the full range of human passion and moral complexity, and the author’s generous spirit renders them all with understanding, compassion, and humor.

I’m excited to FINALLY read the last of Jane Austen’s novels. I’ve loved all of her novels, and I’m sure this will be no different. I’m also happy to be reading another classic book this year…admittedly I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary fiction lately!

This week I am listening to:

Wolf Hall

Synopsis adapted from Goodreads:

England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell: a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people, and implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph?

I’m still really enjoying this book. I bet I will finish it this week! In other news, I was able to check out the audioversion of Bring Up the Bodies so I will be ready to move on in the series when I finish Wolf Hall!


What are you reading this week?

It's Monday

Linking up with Book Journey!

Thursday Thoughts (on a Friday) 17.0

Hello friends! I can’t believe it’s May already! Also, I can’t believe it’s been since early MARCH since I gave any update on what’s been going on in my life lately. Thus, today’s “thoughts” are on the longer side…



Some quick work updates:

1) My fellowship was renewed for year 3. Yay money!!!! It’s always comforting to know I’ll be able to eat and pay rent.

2) This week we *finally* finished taking all the data for the “short” project I was put on two months ago. Hopefully the writing phase will go quickly and we can get this paper submitted as soon as possible!

3) I’ve begun preparations for my summer internship for my fellowship. It looks like I’ll be headed to the D.C. area again, but will only stay for two week intervals. This will allow me (and my lab mate with the same fellowship) to prepare samples at school and then measure them at the national lab. Hopefully it’ll be a productive summer!


Nail Art:


Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail Polish: Sally Hansen Midnight in New York

Glitter Polish: Revlon Sparkling


Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail Polish: Cover Girl Sangria

Accent Nail: Revlon Pink Lingerie, O.P.I. Alpine Snow, Essie Good as Gold


The previous two years I have gone home for spring break and thus have missed celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago. This year however I stayed in Chicago and was excited to get the “real” Chicago St. Pat’s Day experience. The day began bright and early with a visit to the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  After a long (and very interesting) train ride downtown we followed the crowd over to the parade. And boy was it CROWDED. I’ve always heard that parades are better watched on T.V. at home and now I totally know why people would say that. It was really fun to be there in person…but honestly it was cold, crowded, and we couldn’t see that much.

After the parade was over, we headed to the river which is dyed green every year in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. We didn’t make it downtown early enough to see the ceremony, but we did still get the obligatory picture by the green river. Aww aren’t we cute? 🙂


After having some lunch, we headed to some local watering holes for a few green beers. Overall it was a great day, and now I can finally say I’ve had the real Chicago St. Pat’s Day experience.


Every quarter, the ladies in my year get together for a girl’s night. Typically we have dinner and watch a movie/chat at someone’s place. This quarter we decided to go out for Mediterranean food and then go bowling! Our first stop was Zizi’s in Lakeview. Admittedly the service is really slow, but the food was excellent! Plus it’s a BYOB…you can’t go wrong with that! Usually, we forget to take pictures, but I actually remembered this time!


After stuffing ourselves full of Zizi’s, we headed to the Seven Ten Lounge for bowling. It was definitely one of the classier bowling alleys I’ve ever been to. What WAS unusual though was we had to keep score–no electronic scoring keeping here! Thank goodness Sarah remembered the bowling section from her high school gym class and we were able to keep an accurate tally! We had a great time, and I especially enjoyed watching Dana granny bowl…


Going for a strike!


A few weekends ago I took a self defense course through my university. It was quite the eye opening experience. Much of the class focused on awareness and avoidance, which is the first (and probably most important line) of self defense. The final (most intense) portion of the class was the hands-on defense training. I liked the fact that the things they taught us didn’t necessarily require a lot of strength as I discovered throughout the course of the class that I am (shockingly enough) not very strong.  At the end of the weekend, we were put through four real world scenarios. The instructor put on pads, and we were able to go at him with full force. It wasn’t a stretch of the imagination to be a little bit afraid because with all of those pads on he kind of looked like Robocop…

photo 2(1)

photo 3(1)

photo 1(1)

I hope and pray that I will never need to use most of what I learned in that class (although I intend to go back to a class next year and practice), but it does give me options should I never need them.


Well it seems the time is right to do both a March and an April work-out wrap up since I never got around to it in the month of April. As you can see I’m doing pretty well…


My goal is to get in 1000 miles of cardio this year which means I must do about 85 miles every month. In both March and April I exceeded 85 miles, so I am well on my way to meeting my goal! Admittedly, the increase in miles the past two months has been due to (slightly) better weather which allows me to walk to school, but I still think it’s a good thing since the focus of project is on being more active.

I’m wavering on whether or not I should sign up for a 5k sponsored by my graduate school in a few weeks. It’s only $10 to register AND is a really low pressure race, which is good considering I’ve never run one before. Also, I’ve never been a great runner and after breaking my foot in 2011 I’ve mostly stuck to interval runs. So, although I’ve definitely run well over 3 miles at a time since 2011, I just haven’t done them contiguously.  I’ve been working this week to increase the length of my intervals and so far my foot seems to be doing o.k. I know I could just sign up and walk the part I wasn’t able to run…but I just really don’t want to do that. If I’m going to sign up for a race I want to run the whole thing in a reasonable amount of time. So stay tuned…


Tuesday’s with Morrie is still meeting weekly for trivia. Recently they changed the trivia night from Tuesday to Wednesday, but “Wednesday’s with Morrie” just doesn’t have the same ring for us. Also, the Chicago-area league play has started, and since we registered as “Tuesday’s with Morrie” we are kind of stuck with it. But that’s o.k. because we have been doing pretty great since league play started…in fact at the beginning of this week we were second throughout the whole Chicago-area. Unfortunately this was not our best week, so we will likely fall in the rankings next week…

In other news, check out the awesome poster Kayla made for our group!


Yep. She made me Thor. It’s the hair…and my proclivity for making ridiculous faces in pictures


Well that’s it for now. Have a great weekend everyone!