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 soufflĂ© 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

"and that's why we always leave a note!"

Philadelphia taught me a lesson yesterday: always, always carry cash with you because you never know when you're accidentally going to get on the freeway to New Jersey, have to turn around in New Jersey, and then pay a toll to re-enter Philly.

(and not have cash and have to dart across 5 lanes of morning commute traffic to park on the side of the road and talk to the supervisor. and then be told (as you're nearly sobbing), that it's okay, you can just go. whhhhheeewwww)

Also, our builders painted our entire house in flat paint, which I discovered yesterday will come off with not only Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, but also plain water. When you are painting your house, never, never ever use flat paint. It is almost impossible to clean, especially if your builders didn't prime it correctly.

Lessons learned? Awesome.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

[insert witty title here]

Today was full of more adventures. Drove Aaron to school without a hitch (early! he had to be there at 7 this morning for a day full of team building exercises). Walked all the way to Reading Terminal Market, and stopped along the way at H&M, Urban Outfitters, Gap (their body clearance is not nearly as good as Provo's!), and the Paper Source. It was lovely! I didn't even buy anything except $6 worth of fruits and vegetables at the market. Sometimes I have really awesome self-control.

(or maybe I felt guilty that I spent $10 on rainy cupcakes yesterday.)

Road the bus home, which is always an adventure. I would've rather walked, but I was carrying too much stuff, and it was too hot outside. Played Dance Central on the Kinect. Did laundry. Read The Emperor of All Maladies. Glued a puzzle. Got a package from my mom!

Probably this was the best part of my day. I opened it up and there were two books on the New Testament, a note from my mom, a note from my sister Jenny, and some candy! I read Jenny's note and started to cry. (surprise, surprise) It was nice to feel remembered and have a little piece of home in my hands.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

garlic knot rolls

I made these rolls yesterday afternoon, while waiting in terror to extricate myself from a parallel parking spot and drive back to University City to pick up Aaron. I was almost out of flour, so I halved the recipe, and it worked just fine.

Oops, size uniformity is not my forte. And, the one on the right had a much more successful knot.

3 cups bread flour (or I just used all purpose, and it was fine)
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. instant yeast (I used dry active yeast and just proofed it before by putting the sugar into the warm water and then adding the yeast to it and letting it sit for 5ish minutes)
1¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup milk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. lukewarm water (I used warmer than lukewarm water to help activate the yeast)
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. melted butter
½ tsp. Italian seasoning

For the dough, combine the dry ingredient in a stand mixer. Add the olive oil, milk and water.  Mix until ingredients have formed a dough.  Knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  Move the dough to an oiled bowl, flip the dough to oil both sides, and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, divide it into 10-12 equally-sized pieces. Roll each piece out to about 10" long and then tie in a knot. I sort of just tucked the ends on the side of the roll. Put the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover, and let rise for another 45 minutes. To make the glaze, finely mince the garlic, or press with a garlic press. Add to the melted butter, along with the Italian seasoning. Brush over rolls when ready to bake. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes.
These turned out quite good! They had a nice crust to them but were really soft on the inside. Next time, I think I'd try using garlic powder instead of minced garlic because I don't think my basting brush picked up very much garlic when I was brushing the glaze over the rolls. I'd definitely make these again.

Recipe taken from Annie's Eats (she got it from Amber’s Delectable Delights originally from King Arthur Flour). Her explanation has great photos to show how to tie the rolls into cute knots.

coconut frosting, all over the box

I think you're going to see an increase in blogging from me in the next couple weeks, since Aaron is at orientation/class all day, and I am being really productive watching Masterchef on Hulu! Also, I am practicing baking. (see last cookie post, and soon to come garlic knot roll post.)

So far, today has been fairly exciting. This morning I dropped Aaron off at school by way of a different bridge than yesterday. Then, I drove over to Target to buy some much needed hangers (we broke some in the move/never had enough?) and an alarm clock. I then went to ShopRite for groceries and found ground turkey for $2.65 for 1.25 lbs!!!! Wow!!! Excitement!!! We keep finding it for no cheaper than $3.50, so this was a big deal. Next up, laying in bed trying to fall back asleep (it was only 10:00 AM, and I had nothing else to do). When that didn't pan out (too excited over ground turkey!!!), I watched last night's episode of Masterchef, which was more like an episode of Hell's Kitchen.

But wait, this day gets even better! Aaron and I had seen a little dry cleaner place and a cupcake place not too far from where we live, and I thought to myself, I have owned that Express cheetah-lined pencil skirt for two years now and have never cleaned it. This is maybe gross. So what did I do? Grabbed my skirt and went to the dry cleaners! It was raining a little bit, but it was a good thing because it meant it wasn't 90 degrees outside. After the cleaners I went to the cupcake place which had a $10 minimum credit card purchase, and all I had was a dollar cash, so 4 cupcakes it was! I was really excited about these cupcakes because I hadn't bought a cupcake since I dragged Aaron to the Sweet Tooth Fairy back in Provo months ago. But right as I walked out of the store, it started pouring. I started running. But I was too slow, and my house was too far, and my cupcake box got all rainy, and my cupcakes got all smooshed.

really attractive me and a smashed carrot cake cupcake (carrot cupcake?)
It was okay though, because I felt like I really live here (if dry cleaning doesn't say permanence, I don't know what does). It was also nice to get out of the house again, and it was actually sort of pleasant being rained on.

Aaron won't get home until around 7:00 tonight, so who knows what other adventures I'll have!
Have you had any adventures lately?

Monday, August 8, 2011

maybe you should make these

Yesterday, I made these delicious shortbread/almond cookies. I love them because a) they are impossible to screw up, even for me and my tendency to overcook everything, and b) they aren't overly sugary, so you feel like you can eat 12 of them guilt-free (you can't, there's a ton of butter in them).
Back in the day, my old roomie Kellie, who gave me this recipe, and I would make these until we ran out of almond extract. It was the best.

1 c butter
1/3 c white sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
1 small egg
1 Tbsp almond extract
2 1/2 to 3 c white flour

Cream the butter and the sugar. Add the egg and flavoring. Add and stir in the flour and knead by hand a little. Dough should be firm enough to form into a ball and hold a shape. Bake for 10 min or so in 400 degree oven.

(note: I actually never knead by hand because I'm too lazy, and they turn out just fine. Also, they don't spread very much in the oven, so whatever shape you stick them in as is what they're coming out as.)

Bon appetit!

my gps took a long time to find a satellite signal

We did not end up getting to hang out in DC. Some people in our branch needed a ride to the temple, and we were the only ones with extra seats. So to the temple we went! But not into the actual city (where I was going to meet up with my old roomie Kristen).

Maybe I cried a little bit behind my sunglasses, sitting in the front seat. I like planning things, and I'm not too happy when things don't work out.

But I did not cry during our first sunday school lesson yesterday, so that was good!

But then I cried after I got home from driving Aaron to orientation this morning, so I'm back to square one. Parallel parking is not so easy, especially when you have an angry cabbie behind you annoyed that you're blocking the road.

On days like this, I like to listen to this song:

I dream of driveways and garages and lawns. The end.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


France, France, France, when can I go back to you?
How about in two years when my brother gets done with his mission to Paris? 
Yes. (okay, Mom?)

(side note: I want to paint my nails the color of that scooter. annnd photo from last summer's toulouse adventure.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

we unpacked in one day. we were very tired the next.

Welcome to our home! Sorry about the crappy photography, I don't know anything about it and my Nikon's been freaking out lately, so we have a double problem.

Clockwise from top left: kitchen, study, master bath (yeah...that tub has jets in it. how did we get so lucky?), the view from our roof deck, one of three staircases in the house, living/dining area, master bedroom, roof deck (thanks for the patio furniture Mom!). middle: laundry room! possibly my favorite room in the whole house, and my washer sings a song when it's done, so what could be happier than that? (thanks for the washer and dryer Wendy!)

I sort of feel a little guilty, because we are supposed to be poor students (and we are, we're $25,000 in debt plus $12 of interest we accrued this week) but we have some realllllyyyyy nice stuff. Like the entire house (all the floors are wood! ah, it's beautiful!). And our furniture. And the washer and dryer. And our tv and sound system (good job Aaron on being spendy with the electronics while you were still single).

Anyway. The house is actually a lot prettier and brighter than the photos make it look. But why take my word for it? Come visit and see for yourself. :)


We have been put right to work in our branch. We sort of love it. (note use of litote.) Already we feel so much more welcome than we ever did in our ward back in Utah. We were in the ward for almost seven months, never got callings, never spoke in church, made like two friends. Probably we could've been more social, but we just weren't feeling it. Here, within two weeks we've been called as the new Gospel Doctrine teachers (ahhh!!!! I never took the second half of New Testament at BYU! And...maybe I have never even read the entire second half of the New Testament!) and we spoke in sacrament meeting yesterday. And, Aaron went teaching with the missionaries last week, and we're going on the branch temple trip this Saturday. It is nice to feel needed.

Temple trip = day trip to Washington, DC so my friends who have spent some time in the glorious capital, what should we do with ourselves? Good places to eat, must-see museums/monuments? What would you do if you had, say 2 PM to 8 PM free in the city?

Also, today I ordered a new book from Amazon (my free Amazon Prime membership ends next week, so I have to use it while I can!). It's this year's Pulitzer Prize winner in nonfiction, and it's called The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. I think medical nonfiction is fascinating (if you haven't read Better or Complications by Atul Gawande, you should!), so I'm quite excited for this book to arrive.

Tips for DC? Books you've been reading lately? You love your ward too?
Tell me about it. :)