October 2014 Recap

Oh, hello December! I’ve been meaning to get around to the recap posts for awhile (since I know those are the ones you really like to read Grandma 😉 ), but I was really motivated to post some book reviews and recipes the past few weeks so I went with that instead. But never fear, the recaps are back!



I read 5 books in October, and they were all pretty good reads. I loved The Shadow of the Wind, and I also thought In Cold Blood and The Sun Also Rises were great as well. As of October 31, I have logged 48 books for the year!

Books read:

1. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

2. The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot

3. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

4. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

5. Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway


Recipes Posted:

1. Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup


I did pretty good in the fitness department in October. Obviously 64 isn’t as many miles as I might have liked, but it’s the best I’d done in several months!



Although we didn’t win the World Series (we came SO close), I still had a really great time watching the Royals! My parents happened to be visiting in early October, so I even got to take in a few games with them. I also gave myself a baseball inspired manicure!


This is not a great picture, but as you can see the lettering came out really nice. I also attempted to free-hand a baseball, but it didn’t turn out as well. It wasn’t my biggest nail-art fail, but it’s not really blog worthy. I’ll have to make another attempt during the next baseball season!


Fun things I did in October:

1) Attended a Northwestern Football game



Honestly, it was one of the more miserable football experiences I’ve had–it was cold, rainy, and windy. Yuck. It was all worth it in the end though because the cats pulled out a surprise win against Wisconsin!!!!


2) Celebrated Elizabeth’s birthday


Love this picture!

3) Attended Beth’s Wedding

K and I also traveled to Philadelphia in October to attend the wedding of our friends Beth and Andy. Neither of us had ever been to Philadelphia before (and honestly we spent almost no time in the city itself) but we thought the city was really pretty (from the train window) and that the public transportation was great.

The day of the wedding was a little chilly and rainy, but that didn’t stop these two from making the most of their big day. They had a beautiful ceremony and were greeted by a fountain of bubbles on the way out of the church.


Of course many of the bubble-blowers were scientists, and we were all really fascinated with how the bubbles clustered and didn’t pop on this bush…

10257720_10100559352569771_3416277451945756644_oThe reception was so nice and very well planned. We really enjoyed all the delicious food! 🙂


Thanks for inviting us to your wedding Andy and Beth. We wish you many happy years together!



Hope you have a great weekend!


Thursday Thoughts (On a Friday) 26.0

Whoops! I missed my Thursday post (again), so I’m doing it on Friday instead!



Last weekend I took a trip to the upper peninsula of Michigan. Honestly, I kind of expected it to already be a snow covered tundra by the time I got there (even though it was only mid October), so I was pleasantly surprised by the sights that awaited me. It was so pretty and scenic!


We spent some of our time exploring the towns of Hancock and Houghton. We stopped in a coffee shop, and ate in a few of the cafes/restaurants. I was a big fan of this pretty (and tasty) hot chocolate:


I also spent some time playing with my new favorite puppy, Snoop. It took us a bit of time to adjust to each other, but we quickly became friends:


Throw me the toy already, human

As I mentioned above, I was SO surprised by how pretty it was outside. As someone who was not raised in a place with a lot of water, it was awesome to wake up to this view everyday:


Initially, I was called to the window to see “a ship”, which I assumed was a sailboat or something. So you can image my surprise at seeing a giant ship (barge?) right out back. This giant ship/barge (clearly I’m an expert at using nautical terminology) brought a load of salt for the roads in the winter. It spent hours unloading:


I guess a salt barge in itself isn’t that interesting, but it was kind of surprising to see it it literally right out the back door!

On Saturday we took a drive up the Brockway Mountain Drive to Brockway Mountain. It was a beautiful, sceanic drive with fantastic views of Lake Superior and Copper Harbor. We also saw a rainbow!


It took like 50 tries to get one without me squinting


Lake Superior


Copper Harbor

Overall I had a great weekend–the UP (i.e. Upper Peninsula) totally exceeded my expectations!


Halloween Nail art:


Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail polish: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Sun Kissed

Nail Detail: Sally Hansen Midnight in NY


I suffered a sad loss this morning. My dependable Mr. Coffee stopped working after over 8 years of loyal service.


Yes I happened to be this coffee shirt

Honestly, I’m a little sad. It will be nice to get a new one, but I will miss the one that got me through undergrad, a stint at NASA, and most of grad school. Farewell Mr. Coffee, and thank you for helping me get through many a long day.


That’s it for now. Have a great weekend everyone and go Chiefs!

This Weekend, I… 3.0

What a whirlwind of a week! I spent Tuesday-Saturday morning in Kansas, and returned to Chicago Saturday afternoon. The plan was for me to come home to visit my hometown dentist after getting “sticker shock” from the Chicago dentist I saw earlier in the year (more on that another day). Fortunately my appointment fell during the week of my mother’s birthday, which meant I was able to fix my teeth AND hang out with my mom on her birthday (for the first time in many years). I had a really great trip (even the dentist office wasn’t so bad), and I’m really glad I got to spend time with my mom on her birthday!


This weekend, I got a manicure with my mom for her birthday


I decided that this year I wanted to do something with my mom for her birthday since I was actually in town. So, we went and got manicures together on her birthday. Scheduling the manicure was a bit tricky because we were planning to go to Kansas City that evening, and Mom had already expressed that she didn’t want to get there too late. Since I wanted the manicure to be a surprise the day of her birthday, Dad told mom he would paint the living room while Mom and I had lunch. Luckily, she really wanted the living room painted, so she readily agreed (even though it would mean we would get to KC a bit late). Thanks for taking one for the team Dad!

Mom and I had a great afternoon together, and as you can see the manicures came out great!

This weekend, I helped celebrate my mom’s birthday with a dinner at Buca di Beppo


This is a really awful picture of me but is the only good one of the rest of the group. You’re welcome guys.

 After we checked into the hotel in Kansas City, we headed to Buca di Beppo for dinner. It’s one of my family’s favorite places to eat Italian food, although we don’t get to go there often since the closest location is in Kansas City. My uncle Joe was even able to join us for dinner! The dinner was delicious (I ate wayyyy too much) and it was really nice catching up with Joe!

This weekend, I visited the Power and Light District with my parents for Mom’s birthday


After dinner, my parents and I headed to the Power and Light district to watch some basketball. I haven’t spent anytime in downtown Kansas City for YEARS and I was amazed at how much it has changed!!! We were able to walk (safety) from the hotel to the bar district, and I was so impressed with how the city has revitalized this area! Our first (and only stop) was at Johnny’s Tavern. I can’t say the service was particularly great nor I was I thrilled about having to pay $8 for my boulevard beer (geez I thought I had left the Chicago prices behind me!!!!), but there were plenty of televisions around to catch all the action!

During a lull in one of the games, I reminded my parents that not only was this mom’s birthday but it was also the anniversary of the night they met (the 34th anniversary of that night to be exact). They met on my mom’s 18th birthday at a bar which was hosting ladies’ night (classy Dad), and 34 years later they are still together. Awww aren’t they so cute??? 🙂

This weekend, I enjoyed a relaxing morning in Kansas City


Friday morning we had a nice, relaxing breakfast at the hotel. Afterwards, we hung out in the hotel room for a bit. I read the newspaper, and we enjoyed this really great view of downtown Kansas City!


I hope everyone had a great weekend! Linking up with Sarah!


Thursday Thoughts 14.0

Whew! It’s Thursday already!? Here are some things that are on my mind today…



I wanted to have a picture of some snazzy new nail art this week, but sadly I don’t. I have unsuccessfully tried twice to do this manicure, which uses a sharpie for the tips. My guess is I haven’t let the sharpie part dry enough before putting on the top coat since I’m having lots of problems with smearing and discoloration. Alas! I’ve been wearing my last failed attempt for like a week now, and will probably do something simple for Valentines day week. Two failed experiments in a row doesn’t make me excited to try for a third!


I am finally almost done with my blog revisions. I’ve been working to get the menus in the header updated, and only have an “About Me” page left to add. Almost there!


It’s official! I made my monthly cardio goal for January!

January Goals-edit

My goal was to hit about 85 miles so that I can reach 1000 miles of cardio by the end of the year, and as you can see I exceeded that! It’s probably a good thing I did because I have a feeling it’s going to be more challenging to reach that number in February. For starters, it’s a shorter month. Also, it’s been too cold and snowy for me to walk to school (2.3 miles each way), so I’ve been having to take public transportation. This is reflected in the meager 12 miles I’ve completed so far this month 😦


I found out yesterday that my second co-author paper has been accepted! I’m doing a happy dance. Maybe I will someday get to leave here with a degree!


I get (i.e. am required to) host my first visiting scientist to our lab. This scientist will be visiting from another national laboratory, and I will be the one to coordinate travel arrangements as well as tours of the school and the lab. It’ll be a good experience for me, but I know it’s going to be a bit of work on my part. I’m nervous about that, but am hopeful that it will be a productive visit. Maybe a new collaboration will form from it and I’ll get another paper. Ha! I can dream right? 😉


I’ve had a very busy social calendar of late. It’s a rough life I know! 😉 I’ve had plans 5 of the last 7 nights, but of course I have no pictures to show for it…

Here is a quick recap…mostly for my parents and posterity’s sake. Feel free to buzz past if you are uninterested and/or do not fall into either of those categories (but Mom you have to read this!).

Thursday 1/31: My friends Alex and Kayla came over to help me change my kitchen light. Don’t mock–I have 12′ ceilings and the light fixture is this heavy globe…and it was dark in there y’all! Afterwards, Kayla stayed and I made us dinner and we watched Revenge. It was during these episodes where I attempted the second failed sharpie manicure experiment.

Friday 2/1: I went into the city to have dinner and drinks with my friend Elizabeth and her friend Emily. Emily recently moved to the city, and so we hung out in her neighborhood (i.e. River North).

Saturday 2/2: I stayed at Elizabeth’s Friday night because I didn’t want to come all the way up north by myself late at night. She and her roommate Kate made me pancakes, and then I took the train back up north. The instant I walked into my apartment, my friend Ricardo (i.e. the organizer of the Food Adventures) called me and told me everyone was having lunch at Crisp. I quickly got ready and headed back out to have lunch with them. I had the boneless wings (with the Crisp bbq sauce) and they were delicious! I was SO TIRED after lunch so I went home after that.

Sunday 2/3: Superbowl Sunday! I worked all morning and afternoon, and then went back to Elizabeth’s apartment for her Superbowl gathering. She and Kate made us chili, bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes (which were SO GOOD), and cookies. I ate WAY too much.

Tuesday 2/5: I went to Trivia Night at a local bar and grill with some people from the department. We choose the name “Tuesdays With Morrie” for our group. Obviously, this is the title of a Mitch Albom book but it had additional significance for us as well. We are materials scientists, and this term was first coined by Professor Morris E. Fine at Northwestern University (where we are students) in 1955. Professor Fine is still a professor in our department (albeit he is an Emeritus faculty member now), and is a science hero to many of us. Since it was also Tuesday, it seemed an adept name for our group. The essence of Morrie must be strong because we won the first round! Our prize was a $20 gift card to the bar and grill where the trivia night is held.

Wednesday 2/6: I went to a dinner held at The Celtic Knot in honor of my friend Beth for passing her qualifying examination! It was also a celebration for her birthday (which is today). Congratulations and happy birthday Beth!

Thursday 2/7: Tonight I will be headed to Nevin’s for happy hour with the graduate students from my lab in honor of our lab mate Ted passing his qualifying examination, which is behind held as we speak! I’m sure Ted will pass, so I have no doubt it will be a celebration!

Whew! What a crazy week! I have no plans for the weekend yet (other than going into work), but perhaps that isn’t a bad thing.


Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday Thoughts 13.0

Happy Thursday friends! It’s time for another round of my Thursday Thoughts. I haven’t been doing a great job of keeping my blog updated, but as I begin to establish normal routines after the craziness of quals/the holidays I hope to get better at it!



Nail Art of two weeks ago:


Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail Polish: Sally Hansen Midnight in New York

Glitter Polish: Milani Jewel Fix in Gold

Nail Art of this week:


Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail Polish: Revlon Dreamer

Gold Sponge Coat: Essie Good as Gold


Last night I attended the Northwestern Basketball game and watched as they took down #12 ranked Minnesota! It was a good game, but it wasn’t particularly well attended…


This picture was taken right before the singing of the National Anthem, and more people did show up after that. Nevertheless the Wildcats battled  on and beat the Golden Gophers 55-48!


Every year I have some sort of exercise goal. I wouldn’t call it a New Years Resolution per say…but I usually set some challenge for myself that I mostly stick to. This year my goal is to reach 1000 miles of cardio, which will generally consist of running, walking, and biking. To reach this goal I will have to complete about 84 miles of cardio a month. I joined The Daily Mile to help me track my progress, and thus far have logged about 68 miles. Luckily I still have another week to get in the last 16 miles!


I’m slowly working at updating the many menus and pages of my blog. They are a bit outdated and I have a lot of ideas for updates and improvements. Now I just need to find the time and the motivation to do it!


This Weekend, I… 1.0

Oh hey there! I still have a blog and stuff…I’m sorry for my lack of posting but qual season (i.e. my qualifying examination) has me VERY busy (and very unmotivated to do any extra writing). However, it has come to my attention that some people actually read this blog (hi Grandma!) so I figured I’d give a quick update on my life as of late (or at least my life as of this weekend). Today I am participating in Sarah’s new link-up call “This Weekend, I…” Maybe I can make this a weekly habit…???


This weekend, I helped my friend Dana celebrate passing her qualifying examination. We began the night at Uberstien in Wrigleyville, and stayed there for a wee bit longer than I think any of us intended to. We bring prospective graduate students to this bar, but don’t usually venture here otherwise (generally because we end up spending a lot of money). On Friday nights, Uberstien has live polka music, and Dana discovered earlier in the year that if you tell the band it’s someone’s birthday they will force the birthday girl/boy to join the band and play a “special instrument.” Dana did this to a friend of ours earlier in the year (it was very funny) and we returned the favor on Friday night:

The “Birthday Girl”/Ph.D. Candidate

A good time was had by all. Congratulations Dana!

This weekend, I watched KSU beat Oklahoma State! Great game by the cats, and I am really looking forward to the next one!

Halloween lives on in my apartment!

This weekend, I gave myself a new manicure that I REALLY like.

Base/Top coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Polish: Sally Hansen Midnight in NY

Glitter coat:Revlon Radiant

This weekend, I made a super delicious chicken enchilada soup. I will post the recipe for it soon!

The perfect pairing with my new favorite t.v. show Revenge


I hope you had a great weekend and have a great week!

Thursday Thoughts 12.0

Happy Thursday friends! It’s time for another round of my Thursday Thoughts.



I’ve been going on a lot of food adventures the past few weeks. I’ve had awesome empanadas, delicious homemade ice cream, and recently made a trip to Kuma’s Corner for one of their amazing burgers. Seriously it was one of the most delightful things I’ve ever eaten. And I mean ever. I mean just take a look at this beauty:

I ate the whole thing. Don’t judge.

All of their burgers are named after heavy metal bands, and I choose the Megadeath for my meal. They also serve super delicious craft beers on draft as well. I had a Two Brothers Cain and Ebel, and it was really really good. Sometimes rye beers can be a little too well…rye…but this one was perfect. I definitely recommended it!

The only thing I didn’t like about Kuma’s? It’s (like most Chicago favorites) a small establishment. Really small. We had 6 people and waited around an hour and half for a table. Don’t get me wrong, the burgers were really awesome. Just don’t expect to get a table quickly here.


Nail Art of the Week:

Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail Polish: Revlon Dreamer

Glitter Polish: Milani Jewel Fix in Gold


In the spirit of trying new things and meeting new people I signed myself up for an alumni event for my undergraduate institution. This is sort of an un-Heather-like thing to do because I am going to this event alone, and will not know anyone there. The president of the university will be in attendance, and there will be food and beverages. I’m hopeful I’ll meet some cool new people there, but even if I don’t I can at least (hopefully) enjoy the food!


It’s one of my favorite times of the year: FOOTBALL SEASON! So far my team (Kansas State) has been rocking it! I’m hopeful that we will continue to “bring it” this weekend as well. Go Wildcats!


Is anyone else loving Alex Clare’s song (i.e. the Internet Explorer commercial song) “Too Close?” It’s one of my favorites right now. Another recent obsession? The audiobook Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. So far this book is addicting and I am HOOKED. The audio version is read by Wil Wheaton if you need any further prodding to check it out!


Linking up with Sarah!

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