Thursday Thoughts (on a Friday) 34.0: March Recap

Oh my–can it truly be April already??? March absolutely flew by! Admittedly the days seemed pretty long (I’m busier than ever at work) but the weeks seemed to be over before they even really started. Oh well. As usual, I wanted to take a few minutes to recap the the previous month. Although it was very busy, it was also full of some really good moments and a very relaxing (and much needed) trip home.

***

[1]

I read 5 books in March. I’m very happy with my reading progress so far this year–I’ve read 14 books already!

Books read:

1. Little Bee by Chris Cleave

2. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity by Katherine Boo

3. Stella Bain by Anita Shreve

4. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

5. Middlemarch by George Eliot

Books Reviewed:

1. Enemies: A History of the FBI by Tim Weiner

2. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

[2]

After a very slow start, I’ve started to make progress toward my fitness goals for 2014. I’m still far behind where I’d like to be, but 74 miles is a big improvement over 43. To meet my 1000 mile goal for 2014, I need to hit about 105 miles a month from here on out. Admittedly, that’s a little bit daunting but it’s way too early to throw in the towel. Obviously I CAN put in over 100 miles in a month since I did it in April 2013. If I did it once that means I can do it 8 more times, right? RIGHT!?!? Even if I never meet this pie-in-the-sky goal of 100o miles, it’s still kind of fun trying to get there.

March

[3]

March Nail Art:

March

Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Clear’d for Takeoff

Nail Polish: Revlon Cherries in the Snow

Glitter Polish: Revlon Sparkling

[4]

Recipes Posted:

Easy Brown Bread

[5]

Fun things I did in March:

1) Hung out with other Ski Trip Orphans (we don’t do snow things):

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2) Finally settled a bet over the outcome of the 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (go Cats!):

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First Snap I’ve ever saved…Worth it!

3) Celebrated St. Patrick’s Day

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The best selfie I’ve ever taken

I had to have one green beer:

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4) Took a very much needed, but very short, trip home

I had dinner with my good friend Erin. We’ve been friends for 20-some years now!

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We took a day trip to Abilene to visit the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. Of course before visiting the museum we had to stop at the Brookville Hotel for some delicious fried chicken:

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Trust me it’s as good as it looks:

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After lunch, we headed over to the Museum. The first stop on the tour was visiting President Eisenhower’s boyhood home:

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Then, we headed to the library to watch a movie on the President’s life. Finally, we made it to the museum with only an hour left before closing. I got lost in the temporary exhibit (I’m one of those people who likes to read everything at a museum) and never even made it to the actual Eisenhower portion of the museum. Whoops–guess I’ll have to catch it next time!

5) Enjoyed a delicious dinner and good wine at Bin 36

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Wine flights–what a great idea!

The lighting in the restaurant wasn’t ideal for pictures. The waiter took several pictures of us but none of them came out well. Regardless, I’m going to post this one anyway for posterity’s sake:

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Don’t worry–even though we have demon eyes we still enjoyed ourselves!

***

Hope you had a good week and have a great weekend!

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Thursday Thoughts (on a Friday) 33.0: February Recap

Why hello there! Yes, I am indeed still alive, but the last few weeks have been a disaster (work-wise). Things are sort of returning to a normal-crazy instead of the crazy-crazy I’ve been dealing with so I should be posting more regularly again. But only time will tell if this actually happens. Anyway…I know we are already well into March, but I still want to re-cap my February (and besides it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want 😛 ).

***

[1]

First of all, this:

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In addition to all the work-crazy, I slipped on some ice and messed up my wrist and hand. Luckily, nothing was broken and it is “merely” a bone-bruise. I have merely in quotes there because it hurt WAY worse than any other bruise I’ve ever had. Needless to say it really halted progress toward any personal or professional goals for a few weeks which was super frustrating. I’m out of the brace now and on the mend, and overall am VERY grateful that nothing was broken (this time).

[2]

I read three books in February…not my best month but certainly not the worst. I started reading Middlemarch in the middle of the month (which I’m loving by the way), so that has slowed my reading progress considerably.

Books read:

1.  Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende

2.  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

3.  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

Books Reviewed:

1. Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

[3]

As I hinted at above, the wrist injury significantly slowed progress toward my fitness goals, especially since it happened on February 3 (I think I had like a whole 3 miles for the month before that happened). However, as I started to heal I really made a real effort to get to the gym. So, although 43 miles is far from ideal I am still satisfied with this number. Here’s to hoping I hit much higher numbers in March!

February

[4]

February Nail Art:

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Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail Polish: Revlon Cherries in the Snow

Glitter Polish: Revlon Sparkling

[5]

Recipes Posted:

Beef Stew in the Slow Cooker

Cajun Chicken and Rice

[6]

Fun things I did in February:

1) Good times with friends at a karaoke bar

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2) Awesome dinner at Devon Seafood and then concert at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

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Mmmm scallops!

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3) Celebrated a lovely friend’s birthday (with a really bad picture of me)

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***

Hope you had a good week and have a great weekend!

Thursday Thoughts 32.0: January Recap

Happy Thursday everyone! Can you believe we are already at the end of another month? Neither can I! I liked doing these monthly recap posts last year, and I think I will keep doing them this year. So, here is my January in review:

***

[1]

January was a good month in reading for me–I read six books!

Books read:

1.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

2.  Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

3.  The Call of the Wild by Jack London

4. The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte

5. White Fang by Jack London

6. The Pact by Jodi Picoult

Books Reviewed:

1. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling

2. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind

3. Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff

[2]

At the end of last year when it became clear I was not going to make the 1000 mile cardio goal I had set for myself, I decided to try again in 2014. So how am I doing so far?

January

….Not that great apparently. In my defense it was really (really) cold in January, and because of that I worked from home a lot (and thus had less access to the gym). I also caught a cold in the middle of the month…excuses, excuses I know. On the bright side, 41 miles is not the lowest number I’ve recorded in a month or even the second lowest (o.k. by one mile…but WHO’S COUNTING!?!?!) so that’s something! January is a little early to throw in the towel, but I will have to step it up the next few months.

In other fitness related news, I also set myself a goal of completing three strength/resistance training sessions a week this year. I decided to implement this change to my fitness regime because I kept reading all these articles about how muscle burns more calories than fat and speeds up your metabolism, plus I know I’m pretty weak. I’m happy to report that so far this goal is going really well. Although I have yet to actually fit in three strength sessions in a week, I haven’t yet missed a week. I’m also stepping out of my comfort zone and participating in group exercise classes at my gym (just core fitness and the like…I’m still scared of body pump). Thus far, I’m enjoying this addition to my workouts!

[3]

January Nail Art:

January

Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

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

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Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail polish: CoverGirl Outlast Vio-Last

Accent Nail: Sally Hansen Hi Ho Silver

[4]

Recipes Posted:

Healthier Chicken Piccata

Cinnamon Apple Muffins

Peanut Butter Cookies

[5]

Fun things I did in January:

1) Finally met my sister’s BFF Tanya

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2) Played a game Battlestar Galactica (in which the humans lost very badly)

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3) Endured The Polar Vortex/General Cold (o.k. this one wasn’t fun, but was noteworthy)

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Photo Credit: Dana

4) Fun night with friends at Schubas

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I didn’t even know they served Schlitz on tap, let alone in these fancy flutes…

***

Hope you had a good week and have a great weekend!

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? 😉

***

[1]

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:

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Photo Credit: Dana

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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!

[2]

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.

[3]

New Years Nail Art:

January

Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

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

[4]

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

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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.

[5]

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).

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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 30.0: December Recap

It seems like every time I turn around another month has gone by…December in particular was CRAZY. The first two-ish weeks were overtaken by work, work, and more work. Also, (as you’ll see) I went to a few holiday parties :P. Overall it’s been a great December (even though it went by too fast) and generally a fantastic year. 2013 TOTALLY made up for the rough patch I had in 2012. I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for me…but before I get too ahead of myself I’ll take a look back at December ’13.

***

[1]

Books read:

1. Beloved by Toni Morrison

2. Animal Farm by George Orwell

3. Enemies: A History of the FBI  by Tim Weiner

4. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (almost finished)

I’m going to fall short of the 52 book goal I set for myself this year, but at 47 I’d still say I came awful close!

[2]

Well I’m going to fall short of the 1000 mile goal this year:

December

Obviously it’s a little disappointing to not meet this goal, but honestly I’m not that upset about it. This was the first year I’ve really stuck with any fitness goals I set for myself, and know that I was MUCH more active than I’ve been in previous years. So even though I didn’t meet the goal, I still feel like I accomplished what I set out to do (which was to be more active). I plan to set the same goal for myself next year…we’ll see how I do!

[3]

Fun things I did in December (and oh boy there were a lot of them!):

1) Attended The Graduate School Holiday Party

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Appetizers, live music, and socializing with good friends

2) Attended a holiday wine tasting

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Lovely ladies with Alex photobombing in the background

3) Played one last game of Battlestar Galactica in 2013

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4) Enjoyed a holiday party with my labmates

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I’m lucky to work with a good group of people!

4) Traveled to my college town for a visit and got to enjoy tea OUTSIDE in December

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Beautiful Day in the ‘Ville

5) Enjoyed catching up with some lovely ladies I went to high school with

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6) Had Christmas with my family at home

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7) Went cross country skiing for the first time ever (and I didn’t die!)

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8) Enjoyed some quality time with this guy

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Oh hiiiiiiiiii

9) Saw lots and lots (and lots) of snow in the UP

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***

Hope you had a very happy holiday season and a great new year!

Thursday Thoughts 29.0: November Recap

Oh my goodness it’s December already!!!!! Where has this year gone?!?!?!

Please excuse the short blogging break–I had the flu and went home for Thanksgiving. Luckily, my fever broke THE day I had to fly home…so hopefully I didn’t give it to anyone there (fingers crossed). Since it’s Thursday and the beginning of a new month, I thought I’d recap my November. Have a great weekend everyone!

***

[1]

After a poor showing in October, I read four books in November. It’s doubtful at this point that I’ll make my goal of reading 52 books this year since I’m currently at 44, but I’ve had fun trying reach this goal!

1. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

2. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind

3. Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff

4. Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman

[2]

Well folks, it looks like I’m not going to make the 1000 mile goal this year either. Am I disappointed? Sure. Am I just going to throw in the towel and quit working out? No way! I realize it probably seems too early to declare defeat, but thus far I have only accumulated 862 miles. With a crazy work schedule and holiday travel, it is highly unlikely I will find the time required to get in the 100+ miles of cardio needed to reach this goal. Regardless, I did pretty good in November, especially considering the bout of flu and holiday travel. You have to take the small victories where they come.

November

[3]

As per October, I did a fair amount of cooking in November but was terrible at posting recipes. I’ll try to do better this month, but no promises! 🙂

Recipes Posted:

Slow Cooker Chicken Dinner

[4]

I did a few fun manicures in November, including an especially time consuming argyle manicure:

1) Chiefs Manicure (I love them even if they keep breaking my heart)

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2) Argyle Manicure

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[5]

Fun things I did in November:

1) Went to a Halloween Party (on November 1):

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2) Celebrated last season’s trivia winnings:

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3) Celebrated my sister’s birthday at home on Thanksgiving

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4) Took a failed trip to the Kansas History Museum, which turned into a nice afternoon walk instead

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***

November you were pretty good to me (minus the whole having the flu for a week thing) and I’m excited to see what December brings!

Thursday Thoughts 28.0

Happy Thursday everyone! Here are some things on my mind today:

***

[1]

O.k. I know it’s November now, but I still want to post a few pictures from a fun Halloween party I went to on November 1st (see it still applies for this month :P). The party was held by someone in the department, and as usual everyone showed up in great costumes! I wore a flight suit and aviator sunglasses I got a flight show several years ago, and went as a “pilot” or “hey! Top Gun!” depending on who was guessing…

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Harry Potter, Grunge Girl, and Pilot/”Top Gun”

Of course, I had to get a picture with my Tuesday’s With Morrie/Wine Riot buddies:

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[2]

In honor of my 9-0 Kansas City Chiefs, I have been rocking this Chief’s themed manicure for about a week. Added bonus: I have been trying to get rid of these polishes for awhile (mostly because they are getting old), and this manicure went a long way toward that goal!

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[3]

Last Friday night, Tuesday’s with Morrie had a big, blowout occasion to celebrate (and use) our trivia winnings from last season. We had decided early on last trivia season to save up the gift cards we won each week and use them all at once. It took awhile to find a date that worked for everyone, but we finally did. In honor of this momentous occasion, we all dressed up and enjoyed a nice dinner at Farmhouse first. Afterwards, we headed to good ole JT’s to use the giftcards:

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We had a good time chatting and catching up, and of course I took pictures. Two of my favorites are shown below. Since there are only two ladies in the trivia group, I always like to get pictures of us. So when I asked to have our picture taken, I was instead rewarded with this lovely picture of Alex and Dan:

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But they did eventually comply, and we got our picture.

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[4]

On Tuesday I was FINALLY handed the book for which I wrote a chapter about a year ago this time. It was really nice to finally see it published, especially since I had to write the whole thing in 3 weeks RIGHT after my Ph.D. qualification exam. Now all I have to do is keep publishing things and they might let me out of here some day…har har har

[5]

There is a big game that will be holding my attention this weekend–the 9-0 Kansas City Chiefs vs the 8-1 Denver Broncos. It’s sure to be a good game, and will probably be a nail biter for me. Go Chiefs!

***

Have a great weekend everyone!

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