I’m Still Alive!!!!!!

Tap, tap…is thing on?! I know it has been quite some time since I last posted, but I’m finally breaking radio silence to share some good news with you all–I’m still here!!!! SO MANY LIFE THINGS have happened since I last posted…in June. In fact, I was in the process of finishing a post for one of those things in August when Wilhelm broke my laptop. I wish I was kidding…he’s lucky he’s so gosh darn cute!

He's lucky he's so gosh darn cute!

I hope to update soon on some of these life events that have been keeping me busy: my PhD defense, my engagement, a trip to Germany, a cross country move, and a new job (!)…to name a few. It’s been fabulous. It’s been incredible. It’s been exhausting.

I’ve been keeping up with all your blogs (even if I’ve been terrible about commenting) and am excited to be back!


Thursday Thoughts 31.0

Happy 2014 everyone! I’m so excited to be getting in a Thursday Thoughts post on a Thursday without it being a monthly recap post. Now if only I can actually stick to this schedule every week in 2014…Ha! It probably won’t happen but a girl can always dream right? 😉



Can I take a minute of your time and talk about how awful the weather has been? I’m sure you are sick of hearing about it, but I wanted to share some images my friend Dana took (since she is way braver than me) of Chicago-land (i.e. “Chiberia”) during the so-called “polar vortex.”  They do an excellent job of showcasing the extremely harsh, but strangely beautiful conditions we have been dealing with:


Photo Credit: Dana


Photo Credit: Dana

The past week has been without a doubt the coldest weather I have experienced in my life, and I wouldn’t mind at all if I never did again. The good news is we might hit near 40 F this weekend–it’ll practically feel like summer weather!


After having a wonderful and relaxing break over the holidays, I’ve been trying to get back in the swing of things at work. I have set some ambitious goals for myself this year, namely getting a manuscript completed soon, and I’m trying to stick to my daily “to-do” list to get things done. Hopefully I can keep at it, and 2014 will be a productive year for me.


New Years Nail Art:


Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail polish: Sally Hansen Midnight in NY, Essie Good as Gold, Essie Silver Bullions


Last weekend, before the terrible cold moved in, I finally got to meet my sister’s BFF Tanya


I had heard so much about her, and it was awesome to finally meet her. We had a great time talking and ate delicious guacamole and tacos at Mercadito.


On Sunday we played our first game of Battlestar Galactica. It was a very (very) unlucky game for the humans (of which I was one).


So many cylon ships attacking us!!!!

Needless to say, we (the humans) didn’t win but I still had a great time.


Hope the new year is treating you right!

Thursday Thoughts 22.0

Whoops took another blogging break! Now that the craziness of the summer research trips is over I should be blogging more frequently (I hope).



Work updates:

My, my my it has been a BUSY month of work for me. I spent most of the month of August preparing samples for a research trip. No really, I worked 20 out of the first 21 days of August…so when I say I spent “most of the month” I really mean it. It was definitely a roller coaster of a month. Some interesting things that happened:

1) During a Saturday session in the lab, I flushed my student identification card down the toilet. Yes, you read that correctly. It was one of those horrifying, slow motion moments that happen in life where you find yourself screaming “NOOOOO” but are powerless to stop the inevitable. What made the loss of the ID card particularly tragic (other than the $25 replacement fee) was the fact that I needed the card to get back to the instrument I was using in a user facility, which was locked since it was not core business hours. Also, since it was a Saturday (and who in their right mind works on a Saturday) the place was completely deserted. To make a long story short, I did eventually find a random passerby to let me in and was able to complete the work…but it sure was interesting there for a bit.

2) 3 days before I was set to leave on the research trip some of my samples were completely destroyed due to a really bad miscommunication between me and a collaborator. This forced me to push back my trip a few days AND re-make the samples. It was neither fun nor easy, but I did it.

I did eventually get to go on the research trip, and think we got some good data from it. Now begins the long process of analyzing and hopefully writing something up. I’ve been working on this project for a longggg time and I would REALLY like to finish it.


Some recent nail art:


Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail Polish: Sally Hansen Back to the Fushia

Accent Nail: Sally Hansen Sun Kissed


Despite being pretty busy this month I managed to get in a decent amount of miles:


Obviously 58 miles is not the 84 I was hoping for…but considering how busy I was I think that’s pretty good! Listed also is my total for the year–nearly 645 miles! I’m pretty proud of that considering I have always been an infrequent exerciser. Clearly, documenting my miles and attempting to reach a 1000 miles for the year has been a successful way to achieve my “staying active” goal.


My trip to D.C. for work wasn’t all work this time (thank goodness). I took a bit of time off over the weekend to explore:

Old Town Alexandria, VA


O.k. this isn’t Old Town but is taken along the Waterfront Walk which is accessible via Old Town

Mount Vernon


Smithsonian Air and Space Museum



Other random fun things I did while I wasn’t working in August:

1) Attended a fun game night at my friend Mark and Stacey’s:


Kayla and I

2) Tapas at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba


Sangria (and ‘cuse the poor quality photo)!

3) Attended another fantastic BBQ at my friend Dan’s (sadly no pictures were taken).


Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday Thoughts 21.0

Happy Thursday everyone. Some thoughts on my mind today:



Work updates:

1) I gave a research talk to my group this week and I think it went pretty well. I spent a lot of time beforehand making figures (and re-making figures) and slides, but I think it paid off.

2) It’s time to start thinking about/preparing for my next research trip. I took a trip in late June (hence my lack of posting during the entire month of June) and it’s hard to believe the “late August” trip is already approaching. Seriously, where does the time go?! So for the next few weeks I’ll be busy prepping samples (and hoping they work).


A few weekends ago (time is really flying by folks) I attended my friend Kayla and Alex’s second “No Pants Pirate Party”.  For this party everyone dresses up in pirate garb, but cannot wear pants. Acceptable lower garments include shorts, skirts, swim trunks etc. As usual people came up with some pretty funny costumes (jorts were really popular this year) and everyone had a great time.




Trivia is now over for the season, which makes me a little bit sad. However, we did get a chance to compete in the Chicago area (and National) league finals this weekend. The finals for the Chicago area were held at Derby, which despite being really far out of the way for us was a cool place.


They had a really nice brunch menu–I had a mimosa and the “hangover burrito” (which was a really large breakfast burrito).


The ladies of team Tuesdays with Morrie

Unfortunately we didn’t win any of the prize money, BUT we did win a raffle prize ($25 gift certificate to a bar in Wrigleyville). Overall, we had a great time and it was a nice way to finish out the trivia season!

In other semi-sad news, the local bar which used to host the weekly trivia is no longer participating. This means we probably won’t play in the league this year 😦


After an atrocious cardio performance in June, I stepped it up and reclaimed some of my pride in July:

JulyI’m really happy I made my goal, and I definitely made it more of a priority this month (despite having a busy schedule). Even though it can be kind of tough sometimes to make the numbers, I’m still glad I’ve kept at this goal. I’ve noticed that tracking all of my numbers this year has really made me aware of the difference between how much I think I exercise and how much I actually exercise. I know that trying to make that 84 miles a month goal has really helped me to exercise more consistently.


The lovely and always interesting Sarah posted this yesterday, and it really hit home for me. In the past year I’ve gone through many changes and the things she says in this talk really highlight some of the things I’ve thought, felt and experienced.

Side note: I like TED talks but haven’t seen very many of them. Does anyone have any recommendations for other talks I should see?


Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday Thoughts 20.0

Wow! I can’t believe I am at my 20th Thursday Thoughts post! When I started writing these I had no idea I’d still be posting them well over a year after I started! I really enjoy writing (and re-reading) these posts because it gives me a chance to write about little things that happen in my daily life that don’t merit a full post. So without further ado..



Last weekend I went home for my cousin Brooke’s wedding. I had a great time watching Brooke and Josh begin their life together–it was a beautiful wedding and reception. Of course since I was having such a good time I don’t have very many pictures from the event, which I am o.k. with because I was enjoyed my time with my family. Here are two snapshots from the evening:


Matchy, matchy…


Jen and I with the beautiful bride


After all the wedding festivities died down, we spent some time unwinding at my parents house. Dad grilled us some delicious steaks, and then we watched Oz the Great and Powerful in 3D! As you can see we were really stylin’ in our 3D glasses…




On Tuesday, I went with some friends to see the Tony Award winning show, The Book of Mormon. I had a blast–it was a great time! The music was awesome, and I loved finding the “spoofs” on other Broadway melodies in the songs. Of course before the show Kayla and I took the obligatory “picture in front of the show sign”…but as you can see our friends decided to “photo-bomb” (note man in red was not in our party and is a bonus photo bomb…if there is such a thing):



Nail Art of the week:


Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen “Flawless”

Nail Polish: Revlon “Dreamer”

Tips: Essie “Bouncer, It’s Me”


So about those fitness goals…Mid July

As you can see I didn’t do so good in June (if you recall my goal is to complete 84 miles of cardio per month so I can reach 1000 miles of cardio by the end of the year)…I’ve definitely done better in July but at this rate I am still far behind my goal. Honestly, the past few months have been crazy–lots of changes in work and in life as has been evidenced by my lack of posting. It’s also been CRAZY hot so I haven’t been walking to work either (lame I know). I’m starting to get things back on track again, and my hope is that if I don’t make the goal this month then I’ll hit it in August.


Have a great weekend everyone!

Memorial Day Weekend Recap

Yes, you read that title right. This blog post will be a recap of events that happened about a month and a half ago. I’m sorry to not be posting about current events, but this is my blog so I can do what I want 😛 In all seriousness, I really do want to post about this particular weekend because my family and I live very far apart and we don’t get to spend that much time together. Thus, any time we do get to spend together is memorable and important to me. So that’s that.

As I’m sure you’ve gleaned by now, my parents and sister Jen came to visit Chicago over Memorial Day weekend. We all stayed in my apartment (and survived the experience) and had a nice time together. I was actually somewhat on top of things back then and actually did a good job of documenting the experience in pictures. Thus, this post is somewhat of a photo dump, but I’ve tried to include my remembrances as well.


Wednesday May 22-Thursday May 23

Jen arrived in town late Wednesday evening so we just hung out around my apartment. Not long after we got back to my place I discovered a large spider on the ceiling which my tough lil sis took care of for me. She definitely earned her keep.

The next morning I had a meeting at school, so I took J to with me and introduced her to my friends and co-workers. She was a good sport and even got in some good laughs telling stories about us growing up. For lunch we had some delicious stir fry Flat Top Grill, and after that we went for a cold, windy walk around campus. I rarely see the waves like this on Lake Michigan:


After our cold walk on campus we went for dinner at Celtic Knot. We were both tired after a long day of walking around school and campus, so we just hung out at my apartment in the evening.

Friday May 24

Mom and dad arrived in town around lunch time so we headed over to the Firehouse Grill for lunch. After lunch we mostly ran errands and put in the window AC units in my apartment (which is always a good time). For dinner, we went to Dave’s Italian Kitchen. I had never been there before, and I was surprised by how delicious and affordable it was.


Saturday May 25

Saturday morning we got up early to get my car serviced, and went to the farmer’s market while waiting for my car. It was sort of a cold morning so we didn’t stay too long. We had lunch at the always delicious Noodles and Company and dinner at That Little Mexican Cafe. And of course before bed Dad caught this lovely moment of sisterly love:


Sunday May 26

Saturday morning we got up early to have breakfast at The Dixie Kitchen. The Dixie Kitchen always serves good food but their breakfast is especially delicious. After breakfast we took a nice Sunday morning drive down Lakeshore Drive so Jen could get a feel for the beautiful Chicago skyline. After the drive we relaxed in my apartment for a few hours before heading into the city for the evening.

First we took the train down into the city to see “the Bean”


Awww aren’t we cute?

The Cloud Gate aka The Bean:



After enjoying our time at “the bean”, we got back on the train and headed over to Uno’s for dinner. It was a really nice afternoon (until the clouds moved in and it started raining…which luckily didn’t happen until AFTER we had finished eating) so we elected to eat outside (we also were avoiding the 1+ hour wait). Of course we can never pass up an opportunity for a good photo op:


Mom and Me


Dad and I


Dad and Jen


Jen and I

After dinner, we headed to The Second City to see Let Them Eat Choas. I always have a great time at The Second City and this night was no exception!

Monday May 27

On Monday morning, we said goodbye to Mom and Dad who spent the day driving home. After they left, Jen and I decided to have a Sister Day in the city.

First, we headed back into the city to take the Chicago River Architectural Tour. After hiking around Navy Pier for a bit, we finally found our boat. We even had time to snap a few pictures before the trip began:



As you can see, it was cloudy and quite chilly…not necessarily the best day for a boat tour but we made the best of it. Our tour guide was really entertaining and we got to see some pretty great sights:




The Wrigley Building


Admittedly, all of these pictures came from the first half of the tour. For the second half of the tour they turned the boat around and the wind was DIRECTLY  in our faces, which made it really, really cold. I still tried to enjoy it and take it all in, but it was difficult after that. All in all I really enjoyed the tour and definitely recommend it to anyone who visits (or lives near) Chicago. My only advice: choose a warmer day.

After the boat tour, we headed to Quartino’s for dinner (and to warm up). Since it was early we were able to walk right in, which was really nice. I was too famished and cold to take pictures of our meal (I know bad, bad blogger) but trust me it was delicious. Luckily, I remembered to take a picture of our desssert, Torta al Cioccolato:




All in all it was a really great trip and I’m so glad we were able to spend that time together! Maybe we can do it again some time, but next time we should have it at Jen’s house ;)!!!

Checking In

Psst…remember me? Yes, I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last posted either! Wow! Life has kept me VERY busy this past month(ish), and it doesn’t seem that the pace is going to lessen any time soon. The following is a small smattering of the things that have been occupying my time:

1) A visit from my family over memorial day weekend. Yes, I know that was a really long time ago now, but that was sort of the beginning of the end of my regular posting (apparently). We had a great time and I plan to re-cap our adventures in a post soon (because posting about things that happened 1+ month ago is the way blogging is supposed to work right? 😉 ).

2) Work. I was VERY busy most of June preparing samples for a research trip that I took at the end of June.

3) The Research Trip. During the last two weeks of June I traveled to Washington, D.C. to take measurements on the samples I mentioned in number 2. The trip was successful, and I will returning to D.C. at the end of August to continue (and hopefully finish!) the work I started there.

4) Enjoying summer in Chicago. It’s been beautiful folks.

In short, life has been busy, but life has been good. I hope to get back to my normal semi-regularish posting schedule soon. I’ve missed my little corner of the interwebs. Thanks again to all of you who have asked how I am doing/when I will be posting again. I am indeed alive and will be posting more soon!

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