Monday, December 24, 2012

listening to my dad watch this movie was actually the best part

This was my favorite part in "The Hobbit":

Something about singing dwarfs just really speaks to my soul. Did you see it? Did you like it? I like Bilbo a lot more than I like Frodo. He's a cute hobbit. Also, isn't Galadriel great? I just love the elves. I wish they got more screen time.

Hurray for Christmas movie going!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

two years ago today

We got married. And hey, guess what. We still like each other quite a lot.

Happy anniversary, Aaron dear!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

all the non-sad things i haven't blogged about in the past couple weeks

Heaven help the girls who believe this. 

This is the most adorable nativity video I've ever seen. (that accent!) It held all but one of my primary kids' attention. I count that as victory.

I got my haircut a couple weeks ago (finally), and it took 2.5 hours. Haircut + blow dry + straighten. TWO AND A HALF HOURS. This is why I hate going to the salon. Also, one side of my hair was longer than the other when I got home, so after crying about the hours of my life I had just wasted, I ended up cutting it myself. I can totally keep cutting my own hair for the rest of my life without any training whatsoever, right? That's definitely a viable option?

Also, I've been moved from teaching primary to being the nursery leader at church. When we first moved into the branch, Aaron and I taught the adult class. Then I taught primary (usually 7-10 year olds). Now I'm in nursery (18 months-2 years). Hmmm. Hmm. Hm. 

Pants in church. For some reason I'm annoyed with both sides: everyone who's super gung-ho about it, and also those who are like, "This is so stupid!" I'm like, it's not about the pants, people who think it's so stupid! But I'm also like, I don't want the priesthood, I've never actually felt demeaned as a woman in church, and I like wearing dresses. So, there you go. 
I have nothing intelligent to say on the topic apparently.

My last paragraph for your reading pleasure is about reading! I've been going crazy with Penn's interlibrary loan-esque services these days and currently have 7 books checked out from the library, mostly in preparation for our flights to/from Utah for Christmas. Well, actually, three are cookbooks: Barefoot Contessa at Home, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, and The Science of Good Cooking. They're all excellent, but I'm especially in love with The Science of Good Cooking. I kind of want my own copy. It's from the Cook's Illustrated people, and they present 50 different cooking techniques along with recipes that use each technique. The idea is that mastering these techniques will allow you to cook almost anything really well. With each technique they explain why doing it a certain way leads to superior results, and they describe the specific proteins that are involved, and I LOVE IT. I love it so much. It's made me sort of wish I did nothing but investigate the chemistry of food all day. 
Other books on the menu: The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver (of magical predicting fame), Messenger by Lois Lowry, A Guide to Scientific Writing, and a collection of Robert Frost poems. Probably not going to take the writing guide or Robert Frost with me on the plane, but good reading nevertheless! As always, I'm open to book suggestions. (Messenger is less than 200 pages long, so...)

Adorable New Zealand children, haircuts, teaching progressively simpler lessons in church, Mormon feminists, books. I think that about covers it all. Thoughts? 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

it should be a law of the universe that bad things don't happen in december

I've been meaning to blog, but I just keep crying too much and being too dramatic. I will just say this: I am sad for all of the parents who are missing a child at Christmas this year.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

merry christmas to us!

You know you're getting old when you're really excited about getting kitchen things for Christmas. Christmas came early this year for me and Aaron, as we've gotten the three picture items already (didn't want to have to carry home with us on the plane from Utah, so our moms just had them shipped straight here). Thanks Mom and Wendy! We love, love, love them. Aaron is now a pro at making fresh pasta, and I love using the skillet (though I still haven't made a skillet cookie yet). I have yet to use my pretty quiche tart dish, but I just saw this Saveur recipe and am sorely tempted: chocolate caramel tart.

I should probably wait until we get our Thermapen thermometer on December 25th, though. (!!!!! so excited)

Anyone else getting kitchen-related Christmas presents?

Monday, November 26, 2012

i am in denial that the weekend is over

I am having a lot of [pretty meaningless] thoughts right now, so bear with me.

This was our Thanksgiving break:

Doctor Who
mashed potatoes and gravy

repeated for four days straight.

I also finished reading Into Thin Air about the 1996 Mount Everest climb that went horribly wrong. Aaron's been obsessed with the idea of mountain climbing lately for no known reason, so he really wants to trek to Everest base camp. After reading that book, I never want to step foot on a mountain EVER.

This was meant to be its own post, but what the heck, I'll just tack it on here: I went shopping by myself on Saturday for Christmas clothes. I think it's a law of nature that whenever you're ready to spend money on clothes, you can't find anything you like, but when you can't buy anything, everything looks amazing. This seems to be especially true at Urban Outfitters, which currently seems to have the goal of "How ugly can we make this shirt and still charge $60 for it?" Seriously. Some ugly things going on in that place right now. Also, a lot of sheer things. Actually, that was true for every store. I find sheer clothing extremely annoying, because I am sick to death of wearing undershirts under everything I own, and now I have a if-I-can't-wear-it-without-anything-under-it-then-I'm-not-buying-it policy. They did have a beautiful princess pleated peach maxi skirt that I did want to buy, but: sheer. I also have no idea what I would wear with it. Also discovered: I would really like some polka dot tights, and I love really long loose shirts. I am all about cozy these days.

I did find two shirts at H&M that met my long, cozy, not sheer criteria, so victory me. I also found a beautiful quiche dish at Crate and Barrel for $10 plus 15% off plus free shipping. No intention of making quiche (I hate eggs-omelettes, quiche, breakfast burritos, scrambled eggs, eggs on sandwiches, etc.), but it will make a lovely tart dish or serving dish. I love free shipping so so so much. The only time I shop online is when I can get things shipped for free. Good thing we have Amazon Prime so we get free shipping all the time!

Okay, I think this has gone on long enough. I wish every weekend was a four day weekend.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

praise god from whom all blessings flow

Last week in church was a little unconventional. Since it was the week of Thanksgiving, our branch president asked a bunch of people to come up and share what they were thankful for, but in their native language. We had people come up and talk in Tagalog (Philippines), Tamil (Sri Lanka), Vietnamese, Mandarin, and Italian. And that wasn't even all of the people from different countries in our branch! It was really neat. I don't know why, but I especially liked the testimony of the sister who spoke in Mandarin. Obviously, I couldn't understand the words she was saying, but as tears rolled down my cheeks I understood the spirit of what she was saying.

Because of ballroom, I've had the chance to go to church all over the US and a few countries in Europe. I'm always struck by how it's more or less the same everywhere you go. It's the same doctrine, and we're all just trying to do our best to be like Jesus. I think that's really powerful, and this week, I'm really thankful to belong to that kind of an organization.

Friday, November 23, 2012

happy [late] thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, we made these:

The turkey looks weird because we spatchcocked it: removed the backbone and flattened it for more even and faster cooking. Result: a perfectly cooked turkey in 80 minutes. BOOM.

(+ rolls, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes)

We were thankful it tasted delicious.

Monday, November 19, 2012

gobble gobble

Aaron and I are doing Thanksgiving by ourselves in Philly this year. We've had a few offers to come have Thanksgiving with friends and family scattered along the East Coast, and while we would love the spend the holiday with everyone, we're a little burned out and just want to hang out at home.

So, we bought a 12 lb turkey. We'll probably be eating it for the next 6 months. I have read more articles about roasting turkeys in the past three days than I've read scientific papers in the past two weeks (oops). I'm super intimidated! We've never even roasted a chicken before, so this should be interesting. I've also read a lot about apple pie and making gravy, neither of which we've made before either. Oh the drama that is sure to unfold in our house come Thursday! We're pretty good at making mashed potatoes, honey glazed carrots, rolls, and pie crust, though, so if all else fails we'll just have a vegetarian Thanksgiving. NOT, we'll order take-out from Han Dynasty.

What are your Thanksgiving plans? You have any turkey/gravy/apple pie tips you want to share? Or what to do with the 10+ pounds of turkey we'll have left over?

(this is an open invitation to come eat our food)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

at least aaron took really good care of me

This photo is for you, Amanda. :)

Today I felt like yuck all day and came home from church and threw up. This is after I've been sick with a cough all week and haven't slept through the night since last Sunday. I'm really disappointed because I was planning on making a skillet cookie + ice cream this evening to take to a party at someone's house in our branch, but alas. Vomiting has dissuaded me. 

Unrelated, but I think I'm going to be a pretty horrible pregnant person to be around. I hate feeling nauseous (well, okay, I guess no one likes feeling nauseous but I'm a little more vocal about my dislike), and I am no good at tolerating pain. This afternoon post-puking I also had a mildly throbbing headache and I just laid in bed writhing about, thinking how this was the WORST thing EVER. However, I don't think I've actually ever experienced legitimately awful pain. I've never had a migraine. I've never broken a bone or needed stitches. One time I had a root canal done without any anestesia, and that was pretty bad, but that's all I got. The worst pain I ever felt was a root canal, how pathetic is that?

I guess the point of this is I'm a complainer, and I feel bad I can't go to that party after I told the person at church that we were excited to come. Oh well. WOE IS ME.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

forget chemist, i should've been a ballerina

Last week we survived a hurricane and hosting a Halloween party, so it was a success! Now we have enough cereal, granola bars, bottled water, and canned beans to last us until the next hurricane comes along. Just kidding, the bottled water will last the rest of our lives since we never actually drink it.

We watched a good amount of tv/movies this week since we never lost power. We finally saw "Moonrise Kingdom." Someone please remind me next September that I want to be Suzy for Halloween 2013. That blue eyeshadow just really makes me happy, and I haven't put mine to good use since ballroom (> 2 year old eyeshadow = gross?). We also watched "First Position," the documentary about kids competing in the Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition, and it was fantastic. So much beautiful dancing, and the kids were so adorable. We discovered that the dance studio, the Rock School which we drive past every Sunday on our way to church is actually pretty legit. Way to go, Philly!

If you need more convincing to watch it, here's the trailer:

Hope you had a lovely Halloween! We're still eating homemade oreos, pumpkin cupcakes, and candy corn so we're still enjoying it.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

this poem

"Separation" by W.S. Merwin

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color


Ahhhh, beautiful. Isn't it the truth?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

i've never had more non-perishable food in my possession.

After last year's Hurricane Irene ended up being not much more than a missed day of church and a walk to see the swollen Schuylkill River for us, we weren't too worried about Frankenstorm Sandy. Until for no apparent reason I did get worried and two trips to grocery stores later we had a new propane tank, five cases of bottled water, flashlights, a full tank of gas, and so much canned food and boxes of cereal. (and candy corn!) I even got interviewed by a news guy at Lowe's about my hurricane preparations. It was really awkward, and now I know I have no career in television. Thank you Sandy!

On today's preparedness agenda: buy flashlights + batteries (check), bake pumpkin bread (same idea as candy corn: if we must suffer through no electricity, we might as well eat something delicious), clean the bathtub.

Tomorrow's agenda: turn the temperature down on the fridge and freezer to their lowest settings, fill up water bottles and tupperware with water and put in freezer, fill bathtub with water.

Monday's agenda: SURVIVE. 

Any awesome monster storm survival tips you have that you want to share with the Utah girl who can only deal with snow? 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

grad school: I think I'm doing it wrong

The other week I went to a de-stressing seminar sponsored by the Women in Chemistry club. As I listened to everyone talk about how stressed out they are, and how they feel the need to constantly be in the lab and feel guilty when they're not, I realized maybe my grad school experience so far has been an anomaly.

I don't think I'm stressed enough. I get to lab between 8 and 9 in the morning, and leave around 6 every day, plus a few hours on Saturdays. When I get home, I do nothing related to chemistry. I don't read papers or ponder my data. And up until that seminar, I didn't even feel guilty about it. BUT, now I'm stressed out that I'm not stressed out enough, which I guess is simultaneously solving the problem and yet making my life a lot less enjoyable.

I think I would be able to brush it off and go back to my low stress level grad school style because I wasn't planning on having a career in chemistry (or any career at all really), UNTIL. Aaron ran some numbers and saw that we would have some pretty serious money problems if we tried to live on his residency salary with kids and $200,000 in debt. doc? Does that mean I have to write 15 papers now? CAUSE NOW I'M STRESSED BECAUSE EVERYONE'S MORE STRESSED THAN ME AND DOES MORE WORK THAN ME AND I JUST WANTED TO HAVE BABIES POST-PhD AND NOW MAYBE I NEED TO ACTUALLY GET A JOB, AND THANKS A LOT DE-STRESSING SEMINAR.

I did get a little yellow smiley face stress ball out of it, though, so it wasn't a total loss.

better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt

REPUBLICANS. Let's just stop talking about rape, okay?


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

watching this debate is making me uncomfortable

Fall in Philadelphia has been pretty glorious. I've been wearing boots and cardigans and eating 3 loaves of pumpkin bread in three days. I think these sweatshirts from Everlane would be the final thing to make my fall complete:
How is it even possible to look so comfy and put together at the same time? This sweatshirt must be magical.

Also, I listened to this video three times today:

Isn't it epic? I'm really sad because a) this show is too scandalous to watch and b) I still haven't found anyone in Philadelphia with whom to discuss Game of Thrones. 

c) Aaron and I watched The Walking Dead last night and now I'm irrationally afraid to turn on my blowdryer because it'll make too much noise and alert the zombies to my presence. Awesome. 

Edit: apparently my new favorite adjective is magical, having used it in three of my last five posts. I don't remember the last time I actually used this adjective while talking in real life.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

the only thing we didn't do was get our hair braided at that sketch salon in south philly

This weekend my roommate from freshman year, Kristen, came with her husband and baby boy and stayed with us. It was a wonderfully low key weekend. They went historical sightseeing while Aaron and I worked/studied in the morning, and then I met up with them for wandering through Reading Terminal Market (and eating the best pretzels I've ever had. Miller's, everyone, you must buy a pretzel from Miller's when you are at Reading Terminal. I'm crying on the inside about all the times I've been there and not eaten one of these), getting cheesesteaks at Jim's, wandering around Old City and checking out the water front, randomly happening upon a house where James Madison used to live, meeting up with Aaron for dinner at Han Dynasty (only 3 hours post cheesesteak-kind of a bad idea), and getting gelato at Capogiro. Philly's been having some really magical weather lately, so it was the perfect temperature for doing a ton of walking around outside.

Can I talk about how cute Kristen's baby is without sounding like a creeper? Because that baby is CUTE. When he smiles, he opens his mouth as wide as he can, and it is super adorable. In fact, I was really baby gung-ho and sad I can't have babies because they'd probably be born with horrible birth defects due to currently working in a lab, thanks to little William, right up until Primary (Church organization for kids) on Sunday. Then that baby hunger got squashed right out of me! Whew! Good job Primary!

Anyway, it was lovely to have Kristen and co. come visit. Some of my fondest BYU memories are with Kristen (one of my favorites being the late night refashioning of the Orlando Bloom posters). In addition to being an excellent partner in breaking into boys' apartments during priesthood session sort of crime, she also has the gift of always knowing the exact right thing to say in basically every situation. No one can make you feel better than Kristen when things are not happy. Thanks for visiting, Kbob! (and for being a gem of a friend)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

well this is awkward

I took Bing's Google versus Bing challenge, and it didn't go so well for them.

This is the only time I have acted upon a Hulu commercial. And yes, I did search for my own name. Vanity, vanity.

Monday, October 1, 2012

just missing a bow and arrow and a mockingjay pin

I have a new reason to put off getting my hair cut (yep, still haven't done it yet):

Katniss Halloween costume needs a long braid!

Aaron pointed out that we don't actually have any Halloween plans yet, but I don't care if all I'm doing is sitting at my house eating candy corn, come the 31st, I am rocking that Katniss outfit. Now all I have to do is convince Aaron to dress up with me. His current costume plan is three hole punch Jim from The Office for the second year in a row. COME ON MAN.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

suddenly we love korean pop!

Aaron and I are currently obsessed with this song:

When this song came on at the wedding last night, we booked it to the dance floor. I have never seen Aaron more enthusiastic about dancing before. He hates dancing, as in, it took serious persuasion to get him to stay on the floor for more than just our first dance at our wedding reception. But, it took zero convincing to get him to dance to this.
That's how magical this song is.

Have you seen it? (I think we're kind of late to this party.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

everything's not lost

I realized the other day when I was lost in blog stalking land that when I discover the blog of someone I used to know, I like it when I can quickly ascertain what they're up to these days.

So, here you go, stalkers. This is what I'm up to these days:

Aaron's back in school, I am back in TAing (no more classes forever!). I'm the head TA for the gen chem lab this semester, and I sort of like it a lot. Today Aaron took his first test of the semester: cardiology. It's his hobby (or at least that's what he said on a get-to-know-you sheet in organic chemistry class several years ago), and he's Aaron, so he probably rocked it. We met up for lunch and got macarons at my beloved Sugar Philly dessert truck. I'm doing some pretty fun things in lab trying to get my protein crosslinked intramolecularly, and it's making lots of lovely colors. The lovely colors are probably a bad sign, but I'm enjoying it, and that's [not actually] what counts [in grad school]! This weekend we're going to a church party and my labmate/mentor's wedding. My last post aside, I really love parties, especially ones where you get to dance (wedding!!!).

Also, I really like the Coldplay song that is the title of this post.
And...that's all I have to say tonight.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

the night's watch

I went to a party at a chemistry friend's house last night, and I couldn't find a single person who had read Game of Thrones, which was all I really wanted out of that evening. Instead, everyone talked about alcohol, and I watched some people play Duck Hunt on an original Nintendo. Kind of a bummer. I think I was better at BYU parties.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

aaron made ricotta against my wishes

Last week I came home to Aaron standing over the stove. I thought he was making something delicious for dinner until I noticed the paper towel-lined strainer next to him.


I don't know why homemade dairy products gross me out so much, but they do. Homemade yogurt-ick. Homemade mozarella-also ick. Homemade ice cream-exception. The idea of heating up milk and cream and then curdling it and collecting the curdled milk/cream is pretty disgusting. I should probably mention that I don't drink milk because I also find it disgusting, so you know, this opinion might be a little tainted by that small fact. Anyway, when Aaron had told me he wanted to make homemade ricotta a few days prior, I said no way. But once Aaron has an idea fixed in his head it's pretty hard to dissuade him, so there he was in the kitchen, bringing milk and cream to a rolling boil three days later.

It took a substantial amount of persuading to get me to eat said curdled milk masquerading in the form of ricotta cheese, but it was actually delicious. And way cheaper than what we paid for ricotta at the grocery store, never mind what we paid for it at DiBruno Bros. For all that, I'm still grossed out by the process, so I shall leave all future ricotta making to Aaron.
We're even though, because I make all the chocolate chip cookies.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

delicious food pictures

I present proof of our newfound hobby.

Clockwise from top left: lemon ricotta ravioli (pre-boiling), lemon ricotta ravioli with prosciutto and a sage browned butter sauce, peach pie, chicken tikka masala.

But we had pastaroni for lunch today, so...we're still working on it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

my reluctance to make hair appointments

I have been putting off getting my hair cut for about a year now (it's that bad) for three reasons:

1. Salons in Philly are expensive

2. I love how long my hair currently is

3. I hate talking to the stylist.

It's just, I have this weird thing where I always feel like the stylist is judging me for my lack of caring about my hair. I also hate the fake and forced conversation that inevitably accompanies my haircut. I once had a stylist complain to me about one of her clients bringing her textbook and just reading it the whole time she was getting her hair done. It was the week of YEAH I THINK SHE HAD MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO THAN CARRY ON A MEANINGLESS CONVERSATION WITH YOU. I'm paying you to cut my hair, not to be my bff. 

This could all stem from my dislike of talking to strangers. Maybe.

Friday, September 14, 2012

this is a post about posts

I wrote a list of things I want to write about, but haven't gotten around to yet:

Mom sticking it to the MAN (also known as the school district),

delicious food pictures,

my conflicted feelings on Trader Joe's and the Rittenhouse Square Saturday farmers market,

the 6 inches of split ends I have currently and my reluctance to make a hair appointment (Philly people- salon recommendations?),

Aaron making homemade ricotta cheese against my wishes,

my lack of friends who've read Game of Thrones (which I can't in good conscience actually recommend to anyone, but I need to talk to someone about these stupid books that I CANNOT STOP READING),

listening to people in lab bash on Republicans for half an hour ("I f'ing hate them") and now I want to hang up a Romney poster above my desk just to be spiteful,

flirting with switching over to Wordpress. Oops, I sort of already did:

I better start writing.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

ahhh science

This week I have to give a presentation to my lab group about all the research I've been doing this summer. Apparently I'm a little more anxious about it than I was consciously aware because last night I had a horrible nightmare where it was right before I was supposed to present, and I was flipping through my powerpoint and all of my slides were messed up with the wrong text or in the wrong order and all of my Raman spectra had been replaced with roadmaps. When I woke up I had to check my presentation to make sure everything was okay. It was, except for the fact that I still don't actually have anything to say about my data. Maybe I'll go with a modern art feel and just throw it up on the projector and say, "Interpret it however you want!" and then run out of the room. 

I bet that will impress my professor. 

as a follow up to my previous post

Hello my pretties.

Too bad it is still in the upper 80's/lower 90's and humid as heck. Maybe in November I will get to wear you.

(Also, that is a screenshot of the Instagram picture I emailed myself...this could probably be answered by a 20 second google search, but does anyone know how I can email myself an actual image file from Instagram?)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

fringe? booties? nearly knee-high?

I'm trying to decide what boots I want to buy on Zappos, and this is basically how it's going:

I got a Zappos giftcard last Christmas from my mother-in-law, and I bought a pair of boots with it (after a month of deliberation), but they were the wrong size and I sent them back, and Zappos lost them in their warehouse, and it wasn't until August that I finally contacted them about getting my money back, and they gave me my money back and then upgraded me to free two day shipping. (Zappos and Amazon have the best customer service in the world.) But, now I'm back to square one on boots:

I just need them to be cute, waterproof, snowproof, and able to withstand me walking 3 miles a day several times a week in them. It's really not that much to ask. 

(I kind of love those ridiculous yellow Big Bird fringe boots.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012


We are really getting into this cooking thing lately. As in, Aaron was this close to buying a pasta maker this afternoon before I sort of talked him out of it ($70! Too much!), and I asked my mom for a Thermapen thermometer for Christmas (I will make perfect caramel if it kills me).

Here's what we've been making:

chicken tikka masala
no-knead pizza dough
banana cream pie from scratch (with this pie crust)
pumpkin carrot cake with candied hazelnuts
ravioli from scratch
whole wheat bread

Aaron found an Indian market not too far from campus and that's where we got our magical garam masala, whole ginger, and basmati rice. I now want to eat basmati rice instead of normal rice for any rice-containing dish. Burritos? Basmati. Chicken stir fry? Basmati. Risotto? Basmati. Just kidding.

Also, while we're talking about cooking, Sara showed me this amazing website called Ziplist that you can use to save recipes on any website (no pictures required, unlike Pinterest), and I am loving it. No one sees what I'm "pinning" so I don't feel stupid about pinning (ziplisting? clipping! I think it's called clipping) 8 chocolate cake recipes in the course of a half hour. It also has a nifty meal planning functionality so you can keep track of what you're cooking when.

This weekend we're going fruit picking again so we can make a peach pie. We also have some super ripe bananas, so banana bread? I guess it's a fruit dessert weekend. What are you making?

Sunday, August 19, 2012


is what I call Instagram in my head. Here are a few glamorous shots of our vacation: 

 Beach house had a pool! We would progress from coldest body of water to warmest by swimming in the ocean, then pool, then hottub.

I painted my four-year-old niece's nails. 

Then she painted mine. 
(Also, I got a massive sunburn on my feet. How does that even happen? Who puts sunscreen on their feet?! I do now.)

husband + baby (other niece) = I'm dying of cuteness.
 I'll understand if you're not.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

across the chesapeake bay, it was like we drove straight into the ocean

Wrapping up our summer of epic fun before Aaron sells his soul to medicine (no more summer vacation) for the next 10 years was our trip to North Carolina with his family. We lived in swimsuits and a thin film of sunscreen for a week, and it was the best. I got five books read: Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings (okay, finished that yesterday actually), An Abundance of Katherines, Bringing Up Bebe, and Willpower (thank you for all of your recommendations!). We got baby hungry over our 4 month old niece. We saw sea turtles being hatched and carried to the ocean by the sea turtle patrol (local retirees?). We ate so much fish! This is a big deal for me, because up until last summer I'm pretty sure my seafood experience was limited to canned tuna and fishsticks. By choice. I mistakenly thought that fish was gross. But we had grouper, salmon, and tuna, and I loved it, and now I'm very sad that Aaron and I are back to real life where we can't afford fish. Some day! 

Alas, vacations can't last forever since Aaron starts school next week, and there are needy HeLa cells that want my attention. 

That hat. Let me tell you, our [very distant] future children will wear the most ridiculous hats.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

don't flash that "organic" food around children of an organic chemistry professor

From my sister's latest mission email (she's in SoCal where there are a lot of "organic hippies"):

"People keep telling me there philosophies about chemicals in plants and sunscreen and whatever else. It takes all the strength in me not to sass 'my father is a chemist and if some chemical in the food i eat or the sunscreen I use was going to cause harm to my temple of a body he would let me know, thank you for your un-educated opinion.' "

We are definitely related.

Monday, August 6, 2012

yet another picasa collage!

A couple weekends ago, I went up to New York to visit my friend Laura who's living in the city for the summer (and maybe longer?!), doing an internship. It was so much fun! We had many adventures, from getting semi-lost in a sketchy part of Williamsburg to wandering into a Jewish neighborhood to feasting upon delicious banana pudding (>> cupcakes) from Magnolia Bakery to a lightning fast visit to the Met. 
Basically, it was exactly the Saturday in New York I was looking for. 
Thanks for playing with me, Laura! :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

happy (one day late) 14th birthday zach

You would have loved this.

Maybe you were there with us, and you did love it.
I like to think so.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

here's a book recommendation. do you have one for me?

Two weeks ago I read the book The Fault in Our Stars. I was supposed to save it for our North Carolina beach trip coming up in a week, but surprise! I couldn't stop myself from reading it. I also couldn't stop myself from sobbing through most it. Two kids with cancer fall in love and The Fault in Our Stars is their story. Is that the worst or what? It's very well written with some beautiful characters and contains this gem of a quote:

"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once."

This kind of sums it up:

I'm very glad I read it. But now I have nothing to read on vacation except scientific papers and goodness knows how much I hate reading papers (much to the detriment of my graduate education, I'm sure). any book recommendations? I've got $45 in Barnes and Noble gift cards, so what's worth buying? Or checking out from the library?

I had to.

revolutionary war cabins and pretty rocks and so. much. good. food.

Last week our friends the Pratts came and stayed with us, and it was so lovely! We love it when we have visitors because we do a lot of sightseeing that we wouldn't have gotten around to otherwise. While they were here we finally made it over to Eastern State Penitentiary, Valley Forge, the Masonic Temple, Fireman Museum, and Washington, DC. We also ate at a million wonderful restaurants. Highlights include Indian food (best chicken tikka masala I've ever had) and pizza in DC, the most incredible hummus at Zahav (Gordon Ramsay reference), awesome stir fry noodles and bbq beef skewers at Sampan, salted caramel budino at Barbuzzo, hazelnut gelato at Capogiro. Basically food is my favorite thing about Philadelphia.

When our tour guide at the temple found out we were Mormon he asked if we wanted to see an old Book of Mormon. Of course we said yes, so at the end of the tour, he brought out this Book of Mormon from 1842 and just let us take it into the library and hang out and read it. It was awesome.

Valley Forge was also really lovely. It was ultra hot when we went (okay, it's been ultra hot since mid-May) but you know, an air conditioned drive from spot to spot made it not so bad. Touring the prison was also really cool. They just hand you an audio guide and let you loose on the prison, which hasn't really been renovated much and is sort of falling apart. Cool! Not literally though, because no renovations = no air conditioning.

A side note: I think air conditioning is one of the greatest things ever invented.

Going to DC was also a lot of fun. Aaron and I had been before and Sara and Kyle were going to stay for a few days, so we weren't too stressed about trying to see "everything." We did see a bit, though: cemetery at Arlington, Natural History Smithsonian, Holocaust Museum. We probably could've seen more if I hadn't made everyone spend like an hour in the minerals exhibit at the Natural History Smithsonian (sorry guys!). It was so awesome, though. So many pretty crystals and rocks and chemical formulas to go along with each of them!!!!!! I think that's a theme that needs its own post: On the Recurrence of Pretty Inorganic Compounds in My Life.

Anyway, we loved having Sara and Kyle stay with us. I think I've said this about a million times, but Sara is basically the most thoughtful and tactful person I know. I'm so glad we became friends through the shared agony of an undergraduate degree in chemistry.

Thanks for visiting! We miss you!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

all american week

Over the week of the 4th of July, Aaron's family came and stayed with us. It was a blast. We were exceptionally patriotic, visiting Independence Hall/Liberty Bell in Philly, Gettysburg, and Statue of Liberty/9-11 Memorial in New York. We also ate a ton of delicious food, including Sabrina's for breakfast twice and mine and Aaron's newfound favorite restaurant in Philly- Barbuzzo. I could go on and on and on about their salted caramel budino (= Italian pudding?), but I'll spare you. The best part of their visit was definitely the Coldplay concert, though. Coldplay was Zach's favorite band so it was especially meaningful to us. 

That flag was really tricky to put up. A needle and thread were involved.
If you go to Sabrina's, you should get the stuffed French toast, modeled by Rachel here.
The 9/11 memorial is really beautiful, with all of this water pouring into a giant abyss, like a million tears (Aaron told me that was cheesy). 
The ferry to the Statue of Liberty is way overpriced. 
We ate all the peaches and blueberries we picked without having to freeze anything! So much delicious cobbler...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


The bad news is...

someone stole our recycling bin (it has our address written on it in big letter/numbers so...),
we found out we live a block away from a methadone clinic,
the one thing I thought was successful about my research for the past 2.5 months is actually a failure.

The good news is...

I parallel parked for the 3rd time!
There is an excessive amount of cheese in my fridge!
Sara and Kyle are coming to visit on Saturday!

And thus my abuse of exclamation marks continues.

Friday, July 6, 2012

warning sign

We have been having such the best time with Aaron's parents and sister this week. I'll probably write up one of those itinerary posts sometime that everyone loves to write but hates to read, so too bad for all of you!

We just got back from seeing Coldplay and srsly guys, it's like I'm 13 years old and and fangirling. Majorly.

i <3 chris martin!!!! xoxoxox

That was really the main point of this post. The end.


Saturday, June 30, 2012

one more for june

This morning Aaron and I went and picked our own blueberries and peaches. It was a blast. Got any good recipes for either fruit? I can freeze blueberries, but there are 30 peaches sitting on my counter that need to be eaten...

But I bet Aaron's family can help us finish them off since their flight gets in tonight!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

oh hey.

In case you're wondering, I'm still alive. Here are a few random paragraphs for proof! (Aside: I just realized I have unintentionally posted exactly every 10 days this month. Only 3 posts in a month? Record low, I think.)

Today I went over to the electron microscopy center in the med school to get trained on one of the microscopes. On my way back to the chemistry building, I ran into my husband, who'd just gotten out of observing surgery in the OR.

And I thought to myself, I just got trained on a electron microscope by a nice old guy with a ponytail, and I'm married to a [future] doctor. I feel really great about life right now!

In other news, I can't stop myself from talking about my siblings, so here's another paragraph from Jeff's latest email (which is very appropriate considering my last post):

"We have an investigator named XXXX who is a middle aged, very serious man who is really smart and kind of intense. Last week we went and taught him the plan of salvation and he had lots of questions and so we were discussing his questions and then all the sudden he confessed to us about how much he loves Avatar, the cartoon! Elder YYY and I just busted out laughing because neither one of us knew what to say or how to bring the conversation back to the lesson. We just sat there laughing like idiots in total disbelief for a couple seconds. Then we talked about avatar for a few minutes and it turned out to be a good lesson. You never know when you'll encounter a secret avatar fan. They're hidden all over the world."

See? I'm not the only one. 

That's all. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

nerdy incoherence


Avatar: Legend of Korra. I can't even. I just...

General Iroh! Lin's bending!

Please tell me you are freaking out too.

Friday, June 8, 2012


My brother who's in France is kind of a hoot. In an email a couple weeks ago he said he was sending us a package with "some good stuff" in it. 

What was that stuff might you ask? Pictures (which he hasn't sent us in 8 months)? Chocolate?

Oh, no. Much better:

Cheetah sort of harem pants. 

From Jeff:
"I'm glad you liked my present! Now you know what every muslim girl in mulhouse feels like every day."

Basically, they're the most comfortable pants I've ever had the pleasure of wearing, and I never want to take them off. Every Muslim girl in Mulhouse must be really happy about life. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

and...she's off!

I think this photo sums up my sister's attitude about going off and serving a mission better than I could in words.
Wouldn't you want to be a Mormon if you knew it'd make you this happy? 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

dream come true basically

Tonight, I got to "cool down" with the ballroom dance team after watching their performance, and it pretty much made my life (cool down is in quotes because I couldn't do much in my wedges and skinny jeans, so I just sort of squatted around. cute image, huh?). Not even kidding! It's been a year and 9 months since I've been on a stage, and I was eating it up, like a total has-been. I think I was pretty obnoxious during the performance because I kept making comments to my mom and tapping my feet along with the numbers I used to dance (I remember the 3 couple cha-cha almost perfectly. Put me in, Lee!). But it was wonderful!

I sort of quit ballroom cold turkey, and while I've never regretted picking Aaron and graduating over dance, I do miss it a bit. And my friends! Oh, I've missed crazy ballroom people. 

So thanks for humoring me and letting me pretend like I was one of you for a little bit. (who am I kidding? I am one of you! I still wear the warm-ups! I'm totally still with it when it comes to ballroom!!!....okay, not really, but I pretended tonight). 

BYU Ballroom you are the best. xxxooo

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

you decide!

Which is stupider:

a) the fact that the show "Dance Moms" exists
b) the fact that my sisters and mom and I can't stop watching it


Also, I saw a pin today on pinterest (been too long since I've complained about that, huh!) showing frozen yogurt drops, as in, take your yogurt, pipe it onto a cookie sheet, freeze it, and eat it. Why do you need to freeze your yogurt in small drops? A 100 calorie thing of Yoplait light is too much for you to handle so you have to portion it out? Or you just think it's cute to waste 20 minutes of your life freezing little yogurt drops?

I'm kind of tired tonight. Can you tell?

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I guess this is what happens when you get four sisters together who all dance(d). Mostly I'm impressed Becky can balance me on her legs. No hands! (I toppled over right after that photo was taken.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

lots of exclamation marks

I'm really proud of myself because I planted some carrot seeds in my baby garden, and now there are carrot sprouts! A lot of them! (in the shape of a z because I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to gardening) Also, my cherry tomato plant has a little green tomato on it. The miracle of life! This almost makes up for the fact that all four of my basil plants are dying a slow, fungal death. 

Speaking of the miracle of life, my sister-in-law had her baby last night, so now I'm a double aunt! My other sister-in-law was texting Aaron and me photos in the middle of the night, and I didn't really know what was going on until I woke up and looked at my phone. What a great way to start your morning, am I right? 

While I'm sharing good news, here's some more! Not only am I going to Utah for Memorial Day weekend to see my sister Becky off before she leaves for her mission in Carlsbad, CA, but I get to stick around for a couple of weeks and do some chemistry at BYU (provided that the samples we're making right now are good samples...eek). I'm not totally sure how I'm going to get liters of buffer plus protein samples on the plane, but I'll figure it out. 

This means: Utah friends, I want to play with you! Parents, I'm moving back in! Kneaders, I'm coming!

the end.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

how many treats can we eat in one day?

My cousin Sasha was in town for the weekend, so we had another go at being tourists in Philly! I think we had quite the lovely itinerary, actually, if you're ever debating about what to do in the city:
Roast beef sandwiches for lunch at DiNic's at Reading Terminal Market, plus chocolate truffles from some Amish people for dessert
Capogiro gelato for second dessert
Shopping on Walnut (buying Sasha a new iPod charger and some things for Sash at H&M. I coveted but did not buy some mint green skinny jeans.)
People/dog watching at Rittenhouse Square
Cupcakes at Pamcakes for third dessert
Dinner at home, nail painting and SNL skit watching.

All in all a wonderful Saturday! Thanks Sash!

(sidenote: look how long my hair is getting! Too bad at least the last six inches are pure split ends! Also, I'm thinking about growing out my bangs. Good idea or no?)

Friday, May 11, 2012

five months

Whenever someone says "before Zach died" or "after Zach's death," my brain doesn't know how to handle it. It doesn't compute. Or when I'm in a really good mood and suddenly see his picture, it's almost confusing. Like I've forgotten and suddenly have to remember all over again. Something about happy feelings just doesn't fit with Zach not being here. I think things are getting better though, at least for me and Aaron. We are busy with school, and we're in a place that harbors no trace of Zach but the pictures we've put up. I cry less frequently, and I think my fear of having children is starting to lessen a little. We don't have to see the empty bedroom, with the bed that stays made, or be in the quiet house, or notice the missing drumset from the garage.

You know what I think makes me saddest, for some reason? Thinking about his mom decorating his grave to match the seasons. A heart wreath for February, Easter wreath for April, flowers in mom should have to do that. No parent should have to bury their child. 

But that's what Mark and Wendy did. And they've carried it so well. I have been in awe of their strength. I could not do what they've done with such grace and such faith. 

I hope I never have to.


Wendy wrote this a couple months ago, and it really speaks volumes to what an amazing person she is.
 This post by Rachel, his sister, is also incredibly inspiring.
And, here's another one written by Aaron about his experience and what he's learned through all this.

Whenever I think about posting some emo post about how sad I am blah blah blah I remember these and think if they can pull it together, losing a son and brother, I can too.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I would like to be called Lady Katherine now please.

I did it.

I survived my first year* of graduate school!

This weekend I also:

planted a garden consisting of three tomato plants and one packet of carrot seeds (baby steps)
bought two rugs at IKEA
ate with chopsticks and was really bad at it
randomly ended up at Independence Hall after the chopstick experience
watched 5 episodes of "Downton Abbey."

Speaking of which, OMG. I can't get enough of that show. I finished season 2 (Matthew and Mary! You're killing me!!!! Sybil!!! Branson!!! BATES!!!) and now have nothing to watch, which is probably good since I should be reading papers or attempting to understand surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy or something. Now that I'm done with classes, I get to work in the lab full time, which is what I'll be doing for the rest of my grad school time, plus TAing here and there. I'm quite excited about it!

I suppose I should go to bed since now I'm a responsible lab worker and go to campus at 8:30 AM instead of noon...I think I'll miss those no class until 12:00 days...

*Academic year I guess? Things get murky after the first year since I'm not in class anymore, and there's no real mark of "now I'm a second/third/fourth/fifth/sixth year!" except for new students coming in.
>EDIT: this was written at 9:45 PM Mountain Time = almost midnight Eastern Time...I don't go to bed at 9:45.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Aaron's birthday present. I think this is a quarter or a third of the puzzle?

are about as fun as doing a 5,000 piece puzzle without the box picture. 
But by tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 PM, I will be done! (and maybe never have to take a final ever again)