Saturday, December 24, 2011

joy to the world! i am free of airports!

After a long day and a half by myself in Philly (Aaron's flight left the day before mine, I know, the world's smallest violin is playing a sad song right now), I finally got to fly home! Until I missed my connecting flight in Dallas and had to spend the night in that wretched, freezing, mouse-ridden, eternally bright airport courtesy of American Airlines. No, I'm not bitter at all. 

But I finally made it home to hang out with Aaron's family for Christmas and New Year's! The older I get, the more I appreciate being home and with family. This year is no exception. 

Merry Christmas to you all!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

one reason to celebrate:

A year ago today I married my best friend, and what a year it has been.
I love you Aaron!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

brooklyn loves watching the silly elephants

I think I have more I want to say, but until I figure out how, this was one of Zach's favorite songs. And the music video is perfect for him:

Paradise by Coldplay

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Thank you so much for your outpouring of love and support. We are in awe of the kindness we've received from so many. Thank you for the comments, tweets, messages, phone calls, emails and prayers. They have made a world of difference.

We feel so blessed not only to have such a wonderful support group, but also to know that we will be with Zach again. Life does not end with death, but continues on because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He truly has borne all of our sorrows, and He knows perfectly what we are feeling. I echo Nephi's words: I do not know the meaning of all things, I do not understand why this happened, but I know that God loves His children. 

Romans 8 "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able toaseparate us from the blove of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Slowly but surely, we are finding peace.

Monday, December 12, 2011

there are no words

Aaron's little brother passed away last night. Our hearts are so broken, and I just keep hoping we will wake up from this nightmare.

Please, please, please keep us and his family in your prayers. We need all the help we can get.

Friday, December 9, 2011

my nail polish is really chipped. maybe that's why i'm so annoyed.

Found on facebook:

Yeah, I'm a girl. I push doors that CLEARLY say pull. I laugh harder when I'm trying to explain WHY I'm laughing. I walk into a room and forget why I even went in there. I count on my fingers for math. I hide my pain from my loved ones. I say it's a long story, when it's really NOT, just to get out of having to tell it. I cry a lot more than you think I do. I care about people who don't care about me. I am strong because I HAVE to be, not because I want to be. I listen to you, even when you DON'T listen to me. And yes, a hug will ALWAYS help♥.

"I count on my fingers for math."

Really? Sucking at math is a feminine characteristic?
Or is this just a random list of non-gender specific character traits that I've seen reposted by multiple girls?
Maybe they should just go buy one of those shirts JC Penney pulled offline proclaiming "I'm too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me!" 

Yay girls! Yay equality! 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

a gift to the world

With Christmas fast approaching, maybe you could take 10 minutes and watch this video and remember what the holiday is really all about?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life. 

John 3:16

What are you doing to make Christmas special this year?

Friday, November 25, 2011

blue ornaments everywhere

Today, I am thankful for books organized by color, and Aaron's discovery of ornament hooks in the ornament boxes. 
I am thankful for leftover orange rolls and candied nuts from Thursday's feast. 
I am thankful for Skype and Facetime so we could feel like we shared Thanksgiving with our families 2,000 miles away.
I am thankful for good people in our branch and the opportunity to give a talk in church about...what else...gratitude on Sunday.
I am grateful for the Pandora Christmas music station.

Mostly though, I am thankful for people: Aaron, family, friends, and God.

Happy [late] Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

this is not cool graphic design

I dislike it when people switch up the color of text randomly, and also the font size:

Red words read: ADMIT IT Floor Lava couches Survive


Also dislike: Keep Calm and [insert anything you want here] posters. I like the original, and I even liked the "Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake" the first time I saw it. But after seeing about a million versions of this on Pinterest ("Keep Calm and Love Cows" really?!), I hate it.

The end.

jumped the gun

Merry Thanksgiving!
We got invited to one of the other young couple's houses in our branch, so we we'll be partying it up tomorrow afternoon! 

(Those are atom ornaments, a wedding gift from one of our favorite chemistry professors at BYU. )

Monday, November 21, 2011

on repeat:

"Anchor" by Mindy Gledhill
(inspired by this post)

What are you listening to lately? (besides Christmas music, right? except Amanda :) )

Sunday, November 20, 2011

confession: i started listening to christmas music today.

Aaron and I are staying in Philly for Thanksgiving. We're making ourselves dinner on Thursday, and I'm sure it will be quite the adventure. Any suggestions for what to make? Aaron's already requested banana cream pie (and I'll be using the recipe Amanda recently posted...excellent timing, friend), and I am requesting mashed potatoes. Rolls + turkey breast (cannot handle entire turkey) + green beans + gravy +...?

This just occurred to me: we will finally get to use that gravy boat we own but broke the handle off during the move!

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Friday, November 18, 2011

pinterest gems

Here are some classic ridiculous pinterest images I've found lately. Enjoy.

Dress up your ugly thermostat by calling a ton of attention to it via pseudo-vintage frame!!!!

Flat screen wall-mounted TVs are just not beautiful enough on their own without a frame!!!!
|Frame EVERYTHING!!!| (I tried to frame that text.)

I'm not entirely sure if this photo was supposed to be a joke. I'm going to hope it's a joke.
Shirtless dad covered in naked babies is creepy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

mac and cheese please

I'm pretty sure someone should start a blog highlighting things found on Pinterest that are just out there enough to really weird me out. (Like painting and monogramming your knife block. That is a crafter gone way too far. What's next? Vinyl lettering your funky lime green Kitchenaid?)

Found today:

"How to make your own Velveeta without all the gross chemicals: colby, gelatin, milk."

[picture of grilled cheese sandwich disgustingly oozing cheese]

Why not use the colby cheese as is?! Why bother adulterating it with gelatin? Me being weirded out by this probably has to do with my hatred of Velveeta. One time, Aaron made the shells and cheddar boxed Velveeta for me, and while I was touched by the gesture, I could not finish that meal. I will eat Kraft macaroni and cheese from the blue box without qualms, but that Velveeta crap, no way.

So why would someone take a dang chunk of colby cheese and try to replicate that?!
Am I crazy or do you hate processed cheese product too?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

christmas wishing

christmas wishing

This was an experiment by me, using the share on Blogger option from Polyvore. Sort of cool? Except I don't like all the labels it stuck on this post. "Steven by Steve Madden"? When am I ever going to use that label again? And "fashion". Guys, this is a post about FASHION. Just look at those last (2?) season boots and little blue stud earrings. I am at the height of fashion.

Steven by Steve Madden wrap boots
$149 -

Rose stud earrings

Ikea Kajsa Träd
$7 -

Ikea Hemnes
$180 -

Sunday, November 6, 2011

i ate plutonium

This Saturday a bunch of chemists and I got together and baked the periodic table. That's 118 cookies guys! And you know what's really awesome? We were able to pipe the lettering for every element except the Uux ones from memory.

I think someone should just give us our PhDs now.

(By the way, Mindy Kaling's book was really good! I read it all in one sitting yesterday afternoon and couldn't stop laughing. It was just the thing to cheer me up after my disastrous organometallics test.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

amazon prime, i miss you.

Based solely on the back cover, I really want to read Mindy Kaling's new book.
"The author as child star of the TLC series Androgynous Kids and Puppets, the less-successful predecessor of Toddlers and Tiaras."

That picture. Oh man.

Monday, October 31, 2011

the grand finale to my halloween

kind of like this...

happy halloween!

Love, us + pumpkin Jack Skellington

(no pictures from our party because I still can't find my camera charger and I didn't want to whip out the photobooth. It's okay though, because my costume was lame (Bones from "Bones"). But, Aaron's was good (3 hole punch Jim from "The Office."))

Saturday, October 29, 2011

it's party time.

Things are getting spooky at our home...

Bat idea from here.

Don't mind the crappy spider webbing. Did you know how hard it is to use that stuff?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

the more i write, the more i think the whole premise of my proposal is flawed

You know what's a bad idea? Telling a professor that you're interested in a career in science writing when you're going to have to turn in a nice little 5 page paper of science writing and you know you're going to end up still writing it at midnight the night before.

Not my best science writing tonight, guys. Oh well, oh well! My concern for this is decreasing exponentially with time.

How's your school life been lately?

Monday, October 24, 2011


Aaron and I are throwing a Halloween party this weekend. And it has been a long time since I've thrown an awesome theme party, so I need some help here! Any great Halloween party ideas? Treats, activities, etc.? (I don't even really know what people do at parties these days...?)

Also, costumes. Not being near my family I am sadly separated from some really great dress ups. What are you being for Halloween? (what costume idea can I steal from you?) 

Any thoughts would be much appreciated! :)

(oh, and update on my last post. James Franco tickets are all sold out. So no James Franco for me. :( Boo.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

reason 1203493 why i love penn

Oh, hello James Franco.
Did you want to come speak at my school on November 6th?
Okay, great.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

i need a photobooth intervention

This is kind of how I feel today. Whaddaya mean I have to walk to class in the rain and TA lab? I just want to sit at home and pretend this is a fashion blog:

My posing skills are unparalleled.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

too much hulu

The guy in "Terra Nova" reminds me a lot of Will Schuster from "Glee". This makes me think they're going to burst into song right after they figure out the structure of a natural product and then synthesize a kilogram batch of it in two hours to draw away the evil reptile/bird/dinosaurs.
Sometimes, I think I'm obnoxious to watch shows with.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

yesterday i listened to a glee coldplay cover 4 times. too much!

Lately, Aaron has been staying on campus fairly late, but I'm done with class around noon, so I've been coming home. With no human contact for a few hours, I usually end up listening to this week's Glee songs or Dr. Horrible on youtube and singing along really loudly.

I bet my neighbors think a singing crazy lives in our house. I haven't figured out yet how well you can hear through walls in this place, but I do know we can hear our neighbors perfectly in our bedroom when they're having outside patio parties at 1:00 AM (doesn't happen that often, so we're not too annoyed). But, we never hear our neighbors when they're inside (thank goodness/much less awkward than our Provo apartment?). Maybe they're really quiet when they're indoors and sober? I dunno.

This is to say, does anyone have any music recommendations? I have a $100 iTunes gift card from buying my laptop and nothing I want to spend it on. Suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

(Oh, and random aside, I just noticed that I'm wearing the same striped t-shirt in four of my facebook profile pictures from the last year. I didn't realize I wear it that often/my wearing always coincides with picture-worthy events? I bet everyone thinks I can't afford to buy clothing! This is only mostly true.) 

I sense a theme here...

Monday, October 10, 2011

i did it. i forked over $7.50 for a dang pumpkin.

Behold. The spirit of Halloween lives in our house.

I got this pumpkin last weekend somewhere in Manyunk (maybe? or a town that started with an R) on my way home from an outreach activity with PAGES (Philadelphia Area Girls Enjoying Science). A bunch of female grad students put together some demos and hands-on experiments for 60 6th grade girls to do, and it was a blast. Those girls had so much enthusiasm! I have hope for the future now. And another sentence to add about broader impacts in my NSF essay.

Getting out of deep Philly was kind of nice, too. (Not that I don't love the city, I really do.) I saw lawns and garages and beautiful trees and hills. It's too bad the leaves haven't really turned color yet or it would have been perfect. We've had a spurt of great weather lately (mid 70's), and it's been awesome.

Aaron has tests this week, but when he finishes on Friday, we are carving that pumpkin and roasting its seeds. After that, all it'll take for me to recreate an Andrus Halloween is a hideous plastic pumpkin centerpiece with fall leaves growing out the top of it. Scary!

Edit: This is the crazy centerpiece. Posted by my mom on Facebook this morning.
Does anyone have any great sugar cookie recipes? My chemistry friends and I are baking 118 sugar cookies to make the periodic table this weekend, and we want it to be a delicious experience.

Happy Monday!

Monday, October 3, 2011

the view from the quiet zone of the chemistry library

On your left we have the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), the med school's translational research building in the middle, Penn tower (hotel for patients' families) on the right, and dome building on the far right is part of the anthropologie museum. Since this was taken using photobooth, everything is reversed in real life. Hope that doesn't confuse you when you come to visit us.

I am determined to get some falafel this week. I am also determined to carve pumpkins because it is October! ($6 for one pumpkin be darned!) I am also determined to make candy corn-themed dessert, carmel popcorn, and apple cider! It is fall! And it finally feels like it, too. No more 90% humidity and 75 degrees outside. Today was a beautiful, crisp 55. In a couple more days conference talks will be online, which is great because I am never able to catch everything I want to the first time around. (but you can already re-watch here. and I highly recommend you do if you need a pick me up.)And by tomorrow, my first grad school [take home] test will be out of my hands, and there will be nothing else I can do with it. Hooorah!

So, the first time I published this post, I had [/randomness] only with little arrow brackets like this: <   >, like html code, except blogger took it as something real, and it didn't show up. Funny. The end.


Friday, September 30, 2011

the rainbow fish

When I was eight, I wanted to be a marine biologist. Isn't that funny? I was terrified of the ocean until I was 15. Every summer when we went to the beach on our California vacation, I would never venture deeper than ankle-high water, but I thought marine biology would be awesome. I had all of these books with pictures of tropical fish. I thought they were so beautiful, or fascinatingly ugly, like the ones that are only found super deep down. I remember trying to draw pictures of the fish, and my mom drew me a picture of a dolphin. I was so impressed by that dolphin picture! (Do you remember this, Mom?) I distinctly remember thinking my mom was such a good artist.

That is pretty much all I have to say about that. I'm trying to write a personal statement for a fellowship application essay, and I think I'm going to point back to that early career goal as my original love for science or something. Who knows. Too bad I don't have any dramatic deaths in my family or some compelling story about being the first college grad in my family of 10 children living below the poverty line with a sick mother dying of a disease I am now determined to cure as a grad student.

Dolphin pictures it is.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

lemon crinkle cookies

I think I am getting better at making cookies (but not better at taking pictures of them). I just have to go against every instinct screaming at me to leave the cookies in the oven for another 3 minutes. These were really delightful, super lemony and soft cookies. Yummmmm.

Since I'm getting over my cookie issues, and also my fear of making yeast bread (these french-like baguettes were super fast and really delicious), I think maybe I should work on my fear of meat. I pretty much only ever cook with chicken or ground turkey because large hunks of beef or pork or whole chickens (!!!) freak me out a bit. I'm going to work on that...starting with this pot roast a la Pioneer Woman.

Anyway, cookies!

Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Makes 2-3 dozen

½ cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest*
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoons baking soda
1-½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte {not melty or shiny}. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Recipe from LDS Living

*I did not have any of those fancy fresh lemons sitting around, so I just used a lot of lemon juice. This led to some rather runny cookie batter, but it still worked and they were delicious. Imagine how great they'd be if you followed the recipe!

Friday, September 23, 2011


Here is a story about the time when I came home from school and Aaron was all, hey, you wanna go out to dinner or maybe go see "Contagion"? and I was like, hmmm, maybe? We all know I love new restaurants and movies about disease! But, I didn't really feel like walking anywhere since it was pouring rain outside, and then I fell asleep on the couch. (I fall asleep at the worst times!)

We had hamburger helper for dinner and watched hulu instead.
Date night fail.

Also, ever since Aaron started his anatomy class last weekend, he somehow ends up telling me about what he cut up on his cadaver during dinner. Two nicks in the colon today. You don't even want to know what is in the colon of a dead person. Especially while you're eating hamburger helper.

On that lovely thought, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

called to serve

This weekend I flew home to visit my family and to see this guy for the last time for two whole years:

Isn't my brother so cute? He is going to be an awesome missionary out in France. It was so nice to be home and see everyone, both friends and family. The day before I left I was starting to get really...freaked out? I guess is the right word? The weight of the expectations of grad school have just started to sink in, and it's not that I have to do a lot of things, it's that I need to know/teach myself a lot of things. And guys, lemme tell you, teaching yourself how MRI works and trying to come up with an idea for an NSF fellowship application dealing with a protein and nanoparticles is not easy (not a biochemist). Anyway, it was just wonderful being home, a welcome relief from scary grad school and scary life.

Thanks for the plane ticket, Mom and Dad!

Monday, September 12, 2011

the saga continues!

I found a way to memorize the lanthanoids too! And Aaron is not nearly as impressed with this as I think he should be, so naturally, I'm blogging about it. (also, my pictures improved! look at that trembling yak!)

story one: LaCe (lanthanum and cerium) pros (praseodymium) need (neodymium) Prometheus (promethium) to save 'em (samarium, which is abbreviated Sm) in Europe (europium).

random interlude: MRI!!! (gadolinium...which is used in MRI contrast agents, and I couldn't fit it into either story well. It's sort of like an interjection in a Teen Girl Squad cartoon. MRI'ed!!!!!! DIED!!!!)

story two: In a turbulent (terbium), dystopian (dysprosium) society, ho hos (holmium) send people to the ER (erbium, abbreviated Er), where they tremor (thulium, or Tm) like yaks ( you know of any words that feature a y and a b? me neither.) at a luau (lutetium).

Okay, so this was significantly harder than the actinoids and story two gets a little crazy at the end, but it totally worked.

F-block metals, you are memorized.

a list for your monday

Someday, I can't wait to be able to afford:

fresh berries
name brand bagels and bread (and whole wheat bread that hasn't been dyed with molasses)
dinner at El Vez
a garage
real parmesan cheese

Isn't it great to be young and poor?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

ten years later

HEAR America singing, the varied carols I hear; 
Those of mechanics—each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong; 
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam, 
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work; 
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat—the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck;         5
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench—the hatter singing as he stands; 
The wood-cutter’s song—the ploughboy’s, on his way in the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at sundown; 
The delicious singing of the mother—or of the young wife at work—or of the girl sewing or washing—Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else; 
The day what belongs to the day—At night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly, 
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.

-Walt Whitman

photo from Old City in Philly 

Saturday, September 10, 2011


This is what my first week of grad school looked like:

Diet Coke, gummy bears, too much o chem
This is what my surviving-first-week-of-grad-school and way-to-go-on-getting-that-cake-stand-today-at-Pier-1-with-wedding-gift-cards cake looks like: 

wilton skills = totally out the window
Aaron's first set of tests are next week, so we haven't been too exciting this weekend. But last weekend, what a thrill! We blew half of our budgeted fun money on a great Italian restaurant (Giorgio on Pine, if you're ever in the area) and going to lunch with Aaron's med school learning team at a delicious Indian restaurant (the name of which I sadly can't remember). We also watched the BYU game with some fellow alumni and then decided we need to get cable so that people can come over to our house and watch games and be our friends.

What's your weekend been like?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

turns out i have to memorize the f-block too.

Sometimes, this is how I study. I draw pich-AHS!

Everything is reversed in the photo, unfortunately, because the order is the whole point! This is how I have memorized the actinoids in two stories:

An actor (actinium) acting as Thor (thorium) is protecting (protactinium) his uranium (...uranium) from evil Neptune (neptunium). All of this happens on the planet Pluto (plutonium), which has a frowny face because it's not actually a planet anymore.

In America (americium), Marie Curie (curium) goes to Berkeley (berkelium) in California (californium). While there, she chats with Einstein (einsteinium), Enrico Fermi (fermium), and Mendeleev (mendelevium). She wins the Nobel prize (nobelium) and gives it to her dog, Lawrence (lawrencium).

Now I just need to come up with one for the lanthanoids and a better way to remember transition metals instead of trying to make sounds with their symbols (TiZr Huf Ruf, anyone?)

the world is a mess, and i just need to rule it.

Today I made a life goal to get together a group of people and dress up like the Evil League of Evil for Halloween. If that never pans out, well, I'll just be Dr. Horrible by myself.

Here are your costume choices!

Fake Thomas Jefferson, Professor Normal, Fury Leika, Snakebite, Dead Bowie, Tie-Die, and Bad Horse (who is not pictured, but is an actual dark brown horse).

What am I even talking about? Watch the videos.
(bad quality, if you have Hulu Plus, you can watch them all there high quality.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

do you know any jokes about sodium hypobromite?

Today was my very first day of grad school classes. I say classes, but I actually only had one today: organometallics (carbon bonding with metals). It wasn't too bad yet...but...we got a homework assignment. And I cannot do a single problem without pulling out my sophomore o chem textbook. BAh. Oh, and we have to memorize the periodic table. No big. There are only 118 elements. (Although there is a separate class dealing with the f-block metals, and no one really does anything with elements 109-118, so that gives us 81.)


famous last words.

But let's end on a happy note. How excited are you for this movie?!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

raised eyebrow

For some reason this is my post with the most views. More than twice the amount of page views as the next highest.

I am confused.

Who are you who loves this post so much?

Friday, September 2, 2011

we we we so excited. we so excited.

The Last Airbender: The Legend of Korra trailer!!!
Still no release date.
But excited!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

this was typed with a lot of restraint

People who question why people would "want to ingest all those chemicals in coke" make me want to inform them that actually, everything you ingest is made of chemicals.

I would also like to inform those who justify drinking raw milk by saying people have been doing it for 1,000s of years that before pasteurization the average life expectancy was somewhere around 40 years.

Vaccines do not cause autism.

Genetically modified food will not kill you.

The end.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

pretty philly

When Becky was visiting, we hit up a lot of historical sites. One of the more random was Elfreth's Alley. It's the oldest continuously inhabited street in the US or something like that. Basically, it's just a really cute pedestrian street (where people still live).

A lot of Old City looks like this. It's really quite beautiful to walk around. When you visit, you shall see. :)

(thank you for the picnik suggestion! doesn't the spacing look so much better on this collage?)

Monday, August 29, 2011

far far

We survived Irene, and our power never even went out. This experience taught me how difficult it is to purchase matches and flashlights, and also how scary the dollar store is near ShopRite (never again, never again).

Orientation started today for us incoming grad students. It made me want to just jump right in already. Enough talking about, wondering about, waiting about becoming a grad student. Let's just do this thing! All of the current students we talked to this afternoon told us that the first year is the hardest, because you're taking difficult classes, you're TAing classes, and you're trying to figure out which research group to join. Personally, I am tired of spending all my time baking and pinterest-ing. I could use a little organometallics to kick my butt (which it will).

Also, I got nominated for a blog award by the lovely Jackie from Sweet and Wild! She has a beautiful blog, and she even spent her summer in France (!!!!! so I am epically jealous, of course. check out her blog and show her some love, mmk?). The award is the Liebster Award, and it's meant to highlight blogs with up to 200 followers.

The rules:
Link back to the blogger who gave you the award to keep the chain going
Choose your top five and leave them a comment to let them know

Without further ado, here are five blogs that I think you all ought to check out because they are awesome:

start something new...
[a liberation broadcast]
welcome to my blog.
Crumbs From My Table
Redhead Cuisine

Happy reading!

Friday, August 26, 2011

sometimes i ruin a great shakespeare quote by throwing a crazy youtube video in at the end.

Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt.

(found in the book Genome by Matt Ridley)

A good thought after coming home from a fairly intimidating fellowship workshop. That Shakespeare, he was pretty good, huh?

As good as Dr. Seuss though?!

Go do something fun for your weekend.
Me and Aaron, we will read about science or something. And hunker down for HURRICANE IRENE! First an earthquake, now this?! Natural disasters abound! Welcome to Philadelphia!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

a dilemma

Also, turtlenecks:

am I the only one who still likes them? I almost bought a black long sleeved one at H&M, but then I thought to myself, "do people even wear turtlenecks anymore?"

So, I ask you, reader, do people even wear turtlenecks anymore?

Cause I have a $5 off coupon, and I need to use it on something.

we love visitors, yes we do!

This past weekend my cousin Sasha came and visited us from Massachusetts! And then, the day before she left, my sister Becky flew in to visit too! I can't even tell you all how nice it was to have them here. Like having friends again!

Cue photo evidence:

(i made this collage using powerpoint. how ghetto is that? any suggestions for better software to use for this sort of thing?)

We did all the required Philly things: Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, cheesesteak at Jim's. And then we did all sorts of other great things like getting caught in a rainstorm after eating crepes in University City, walking through an earthquake on our way to Betsy Ross's house and Elfreth's Alley, buying a Donna Summer record and a record hot pad at the Italian Market, throwing pennies on Ben Franklin's grave, lots of shopping (thank you thank you thank you Mom for the back to school shopping money!), taking touristy photos with the historically dressed people at Independence Hall, playing plenty of Dance Central on the Kinect, making coca cola cake, and watching "Raising Hope".

A perfect way to end the summer, really.

(Orientation starts on Monday!)

How was your last week of freedom?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

death be not proud

Today in Aaron's doctor-patient relations class they watched a video chronicling an English professor's struggle with stage 4 ovarian cancer. Since all of his lectures get posted online, I got to watch it too, at home. It was heartbreaking. And it reminded me of my grandma and visiting her in the hospital, so you know, I was practically sobbing in half of it. This poem by John Donne was mentioned over and over:

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more, death, thou shalt die.

The last two lines are especially beautiful. "...wee wake eternally" isn't that the truth? Because of Jesus Christ, death is dead. It is overcome, and we live forever.

i am studying potions, after all.

I am currently blogging from the Fisher Fine Arts Library of Penn's campus.


This is Hogwarts.

This was the closest image I could find on google, but believe you me, it is even better in real life. It has a wrought iron spiral staircase leading to what looks like the restricted section of the library where they keep all the dark arts books. It has beautiful arches. The entry has this incredible peacock stained glass window. I may never leave. 

This may make it impossible to earn my PhD, but my inner witch will be so happy.

edit: I had to add another photo.
Gryffindor common room (with slightly more study tables than I usually imagine it with)!!! Hello!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

first world problems

Dear Penn,

Please stop being an enabler for my husband's compulsive studying habits. By posting videos online of every lecture along with the slides, and by giving him a stack of notes a foot tall, you have encouraged him to spend every minute from noon until 11:00 PM cooped up in our study.

The bored wife downstairs is not happy!


Your only chemistry PhD student from BYU

disclaimer: I usually do a good job keeping myself entertained, and once school starts I will look back fondly on these bored days and wish with all my heart that I had nothing to do.

Also, thank you for all of the fashion blog suggestions! Now I have lots more reading to do, which helps take the edge off the boredom!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

i miss back to school shopping

Lately I've discovered some great style blogs, and I wanted to share my discoveries with all of you! I love these blogs because most of the outfits they feature feel like something I could actually wear, instead of being so high fashion that I would feel completely ridiculous wearing it. And, all of them are quite well-written, which makes reading even more fun.

Married Kendi decided to have a blog instead of a baby. Ha. She always has great outfits and incredible photography.

Hairstylist, photographer, and fashion maven Kayley blogs about her life with husband while wearing great clothes. She also has a ton of great hair tutorials (hello, she's a cosmetologist).

Recently graduated from grad school in architecture, Emily is currently traveling the world with her boyfriend for nine months on a design fellowship and manages to look fabulous while living out of a suitcase.  

Tania is a British literature grad student (so all of her posts are exceptionally well-written). I particularly love her blog because she features a lot of outfits that are dressy enough for teaching/TAing a class, but casual enough to be comfortable. 

Have you found any fashion blogs that you enjoy perusing? Do tell!

(This post is slightly inspired by the fact that my sister is coming to visit this Saturday, and I will finally have a shopping partner!!! I've gotten a lot of inspiration from these sites.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

we all hold dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and the kingdom of the sick*

I just finished reading The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee a couple of days ago, and guys, you've got to read this book. Chances are, if you don't get cancer, someone you know will. One in three American women and one in two American men will develop cancer at some point in their lives. Isn't that insane?

This book gives an excellent history of our understanding of the disease and the evolution of treatment for it. It's very well-written (it won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize), and does a really great job of making highly technical things accessible to a non-scientist. Mukherjee also does a great job of capturing how complex cancer is while still making it understandable.

One of the things that stood out to me the most is the almost brutal natural of cancer treatment, even 20 years ago. In the early 1900s treating breast cancer meant not only a mastectomy but carving out most of the chest muscles and going up into the neck, leaving the patient partially paralyzed and highly disfigured. And the cancer still came back. Chemotherapy, even today, is devastating, because you end up killing your own cells in the attempt to destroy the cancer. Reading the case studies in the book made me want to cry several times, reading about what people went through. I couldn't hold back tears listening to a physician speak about her struggle with leukemia during Aaron's white coat ceremony.

Anyway, I loved this book. I can't get it out of my head. It's made me seriously consider doing cancer research for grad school.
You should read it too. :)

*paraphrased from Susan Sontag

Sunday, August 14, 2011

an official med school student

This weekend was the Parents and Partners Day at Penn Med, so I got to attend and get a mini look at what med school will be like for Aaron. (plus, we got free parking in the middle of University City. that'll never happen again!) It was neat to hear about the curriculum, see some demonstrations of their simulators and standardized patients, and go to the white coat ceremony. This was when Aaron got his shorty student white coat (once you get an MD you've earned the right to a full length coat) and legit stethoscope, and recited the Hippocratic Oath.

I know I've already bragged about how great of a med school Penn is, but that was really reaffirmed to me yesterday listening to all of the great things and research they're doing there. I'm really grateful for the chance that Aaron has to get this awesome education. We feel very lucky for all of the opportunities we know this will entail. It was incredible because during the white coat ceremony all 166 entering med school students got up and introduced themselves- name, hometown, university attended, major, year graduated- and nearly all of them had attended Ivy League schools, or universities of equal prestige (UC Berkeley, MIT, etc.). Maybe 30% had also graduated with multiple degrees.
Folks, we're not in Kansas anymore.

putting his white coat on!
look at that nifty stethoscope! a $160 value!

Friday, August 12, 2011

roy's chocolate souffle

Yesterday I made these chocolate souffles/molten lava cakes for me and Aaron. It was great because ever since I stuck ramekins on our wedding registry and someone got them for us, I've been looking for a use for them! (I don't own a creme brulee torch or a little propane torch, so the obvious is out.) Aaron and I got all excited about the idea of souffles after watching an episode of Masterchef recently, except they made cheese souffles. I discovered this recipe and decided to give it a try. I halved it because I didn't have enough chocolate, it worked just fine (in case you ever just want to make two-Valentine's dinner, hmm?)

It was like heaven in a ramekin. So, so good, and so easy too!

ramekins (4) or a muffin tin with cupcake liners (chocolate souffle cupcakes? how cute!)
parchment paper

Soufflé Batter:

8 oz. good quality semi-sweet dark chocolate (i.e. Guittard, Vahlrona, Callebeaut-pretty sure my supermarket doesn't carry any of those brands, so I just went with Hershey's)
12 Tbs butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbs cornstarch
4 whole eggs plus 4 egg yolks

For the batter, mix sugar and cornstarch together in mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks. In a saucepan, melt the butter until it begins to simmer. Add the chocolate and mix until smooth and the chocolate simmers along the edges. Pour the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Add the eggs and mix at low speed until smooth and sugar is dissolved. Transfer into bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 
400°. (I don't know if our fridge is just way cold, but the batter was much more solid the day after, like more solid than brownie batter. I let the bowl sit on the oven while it heated up, and it thawed a little, but it definitely wasn't as liquidy as the first day. My lack of patience in waiting for it to come to room temperature probably added to the baking time, but it still worked!) Line the bottom of the ramekins with a circle piece of parchment paper, and the sides with a long strip. (I used cooking spray to help the parchment stick to the walls a little easier.)

Fill each ring mold or ramekin with soufflé batter ¾ of the way full. Bake on top oven rack for 26-28 minutes. You want the top to be set, but the middle to still be gooey. (and actually, even for me, the overbaker, our middles turned out perfectly gooey! So you can make these without fear!) Remove baking sheet from oven. You can run a knife along the edges of your ramekin and invert it on a plate and dust with powdered sugar for a pretty presentation, but we just ate them straight out of the ramekin because we're lazy like that. 

Partake and be happy!
Recipe source: The Girl Who Ate Everything, who got it from Roy's Restaurant (like she emailed them and asked, "What's your chocolate souffle recipe?" and they told her! Cool!)
the top started caving in they were so gooey