Thursday Thoughts 27.0: October Recap

Happy Halloween everyone! In addition to eating some delicious treats today (well currently my delicious treat is an oat and honey bar…but whatcha gonna do?), I also want to recap my October.



Oh say it ain’t so!!!! I only finished two books this past month. In my defense they were sort of longish, and the books I began reading after them are also pretty long. Regardless, those two books bring my total up to 39 books for the year. I’m really going to have to “book it” (he he) if I want to hit my goal of 52 books for the year.

Books Read in October:

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

2) The Rook by Daniel O’Malley


I did A LOT of cooking in October. As usual though, only a few recipes actually made it to the blog.

Recipes Posted:

1) Penne Pasta in a Tomato Cream Sauce

2) Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal


After a poor showing in September, I rallied in October to put in a much more impressive 92 miles of cardio.


For the year I’m logged about 777 miles. Obviously my 1000 mile goal is still doable, but I am going to have to pick up the pace even more these last few months (which could be difficult with the holidays approaching). If I don’t make the goal at the end of the year I will be obviously disappointed. Even if I don’t make it I know that this project has accomplished what I hoped it would: it has ensured I am more consistently active.


Fun things I did in October:

1) Went to a football tailgate:


2) Enjoyed a visit with my parents (GO CHIEFS!!!):


3) Took a trip to the upper peninsula of Michigan:


3) Played Trivia (but only once 😦 ). Nothing says “big winner” like a giant bag of microwaved popcorn:

Bonus Prize


October you were pretty good to me. I’m excited to see what November has in store! Have a great weekend everyone!


Thursday Thoughts 24.0: September Recap

Happy Thursday everyone! I’m busy gearing up for a visit from my parents this weekend, but before they get here I thought I’d quickly recap my September (I’m only a few days late :P).



I had a pretty successful September on the reading front. I really enjoyed all of these, especially The House of Mirth.

Books Read in September:

1) Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

2) The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

3) The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel

4) Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

5) I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits


I did a fair amount of cooking in September and even finally got back in the habit of posting my favorite recipes on this blog!

Recipes Posted:

1) Spiced Beef Ragu Shells

2) Lasagna Soup in the Slow Cooker


September wasn’t my best month on the fitness front. I just really wasn’t able to get into the workout groove between burning my arm on the oven in a baking accident, and suffering from a lingering cold.


For the year I’m logged about 687ish miles, which means it’s going to be a race to the finish (literally) if I want to make my 1000 mile goal for the year. I haven’t given up hope yet, but I am going to have to get serious about the cardio this month (and not get sick again) if I want to make it.


I did a few simple manicures that I liked this month, but didn’t take pictures of them. The most complicated I attempted was a blue and white stripped accent nail manicure:


Base/Topcoat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail polish: Essie Bouncer It’s Me

Accent Nail: OPI Alpine Snow


Although I was busy with work, I did get to do some fun things in September:

1) Early in the month, I went home for the Michael Buble Concert:


2) Last weekend I traveled to Homestead Orchard to go Apple Picking. It was a small, cute orchard in Woodstock, IL, and we were able to pick Blushing Golden, McIntosh, and Gala apples.


The weather was perfect and it wasn’t too crowded. All in all I brought home about 12 pounds worth of apples! Be on the lookout for some apple-related recipe posts as I get around to cooking delicious things with my apples!

3) Tuesdays with Morrie is back on the trivia circuit again. We had to find a new location for this season of trivia as our old bar unfortunately quit hosting. We’ve tried out two different spots, and I think we’ve found a keeper (although I personally have not been to this locale yet) 🙂


Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday Thoughts 23.0: Michael Buble Concert Edition

Happy Thursday everyone! After coming back from my DC work trip, I left three days later for a quick trip home. I had a fabulous time at home and am now trying to establish some sense of normalcy after about a month and a half of non-stop work and travel. Thus, my “thoughts” list will be shorter this week…



Last Saturday my cousin Keith married his beautiful bride Felicity. They had a beautiful ceremony and reception, but being the bad blogger that I am the only picture I snapped was this gem of my parents dancing:


Mom has already indicated that she isn’t crazy about this picture, but I like it because they look happy 🙂

It was so nice to be there for the ceremony and great to see family again!


On Sunday evening, Mom and I attended the Michael Buble (MB) concert. We have both been fans for a long time, and had been waiting for him to go on another US tour. I was so excited when I heard he was going to perform in Kansas City, and that Mom and I had scored 18th row seats!

We arrived at the Sprint Center early since we had to get our tickets at the box office. Unfortunately last weekend was one of the hottest of the year–it was around 100 when we were getting the tickets. So, we decided to cool off at a nearby bar in the Power and Light district while waiting for the doors to open:


Excited to go to the concert!

Finally, it was time for the doors to open:


Man it was soooo hot outside

After the doors opened (and we experienced the blessed A/C) we had to wait in the lobby for about another 20 minutes. This gave me a perfect opportunity to snap a few photos with “Michael”:


Eventually we were able to get into the arena and down to the floor to our seats. We had a great view of the stage:




The warm-up group for Michael was Naturally 7, and they were AWESOME. This amazing group performs what they call “vocal play” which means they not only sing their own songs but also provide their own accompaniment via their voices. I couldn’t believe how much their voices could sound like instruments–especially the “guitarist”. You should definitely check them out if they are ever in your area.


Finally it was time for MB to perform. He opened with the Little John Wille hit “Fever”, which began with an awesome (and somewhat startling) burst of flames. Immediately after that he played one of my favorites, “Haven’t Met You Yet.”


He also played some of my other favorites like “It’s a Beautiful Day” and “Feeling Good”:


In the middle of the concert he left the main stage and performed a few songs on a smaller stage at the back of the floor section with Naturally 7. On his way back to the main stage he covered The Beatles “All You Need is Love” and a TON of heart shaped confetti was dropped on the audience (which was kind of fun):


Overall I had a really great time and Michael put on a great show! Thanks so much for being my concert buddy mom!!!!!


Have a great weekend everyone!

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 ;)!!!

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