Moment on a Monday

Monday, June 30, 2014

"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."
-Marie Curie

Chandelier by Sia on Grooveshark

A Small Act of Kindness

Friday, June 27, 2014

Today is a wonderful day. Not only because it's Friday and the weather is going to be beautiful, but because this morning, completely unexpectedly, a small act of kindness was bestowed upon me and in turn I got to pay it forward right on the spot.

As I was pulling through the drive-thru to pay for my morning iced coffee, the cashier informed me that my drink had been paid for by the woman in front of me. While this has happened countless times in the past to pretty much everyone, it has never happened to me. I don't go through drive-thru's that often so I was a little taken aback by what she said. I was so surprised! What a great way to start a Friday!

After she passed me my coffee, I handed her my credit card and asked to her charge the order of the car behind me to it. She smiled and thanked me and as I drove away I felt so incredibly happy. It was then that I realized another reason to celebrate the kindness - it's on my 101 list!

#89 - Pay for the person behind me in a Starbucks Dunkin drive-thru.

While it isn't Starbucks, I still think it counts!

I know this kind of stuff happens all the time but it seriously amazes me how great something as small as paying for someone else's coffee makes you feel. I know I will carry this feeling with me through today and into the weekend and who knows, maybe I'll do it again tomorrow! So much fun!

Pass on the love my friends!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I did a post like this one back in the fall and since it has officially been more than eight months (and I have nothing else prepared for today) let's do it again!

Making: Eggs. Eggs of all kinds. Every morning, too. Not sure where the obsession came from but I love it.
Cooking: Eggs again. (Woo, this is going great.)
Drinking: Sun tea. The best drink in the summer time.
Reading: "The Principles of Biochemistry" - betcha don't want a book review for that one...
Wanting: to lay on the beach for approximately a month.
Looking: at all of the lovely recipes everyone is posting today.
Playing: Spotify - my entire playlist devoted to Jake Dylan.
Wasting: time on Pinterest dreaming up the perfect dinner party.
Sewing: absolutely nothing. Sad face.
Wishing: I could get a tan.
Enjoying: the perfect weather this week. 80s and sunny every day.
Waiting: for a special Etsy order to arrive!
Liking: Dunkin Donuts Cookie Dough Iced Coffee.
Wondering: what I will have for lunch.
Loving: the daylight that lasts until nearly 9:00PM.

Hoping: that this day goes fast.
Marvelling: at all the tropical places everyone is traveling to this summer.

Needing: a professional massage. Desperately.
Smelling: formalin. ew.
Wearing: white jeans. I'm new to this whole thing but I'm loving it!
Following: the USA in the World Cup! Can't wait for the game this week!
Noticing: how fast this year is going by.
Knowing: I should take a little time for myself this week.
Thinking: we should go for an early morning hike on Sunday.
Bookmarking: Maryland Wine Tours for a little adventure next month!

Opening: about a hundred useless work emails.
Giggling: at the 29 Most American Things That Have Ever Happened.
Feeling: content :)

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Conversations with Mikey

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tonight as I was applying aloe vera gel to Mike's horribly sunburned back, he starts complaining about how cold the gel is and says to me, "Don't we have one of those olive oil plants we could use instead?"

Uhhh you mean the aloe vera plant I killed last year? No Mikey, we have no olive oil plant.

Our Little Garden Update

Friday, June 20, 2014

One of the first things I couldn't wait to do when we bought our house last year in July was to put in a garden. Of course, as is true with all new homeowners, we ended up buried for months under mountains of boxes. By the time we finally sorted through everything, put away what we wanted to keep, and sold or donated what we didn't, it was November and a garden was not an option.

So this Spring I was chomping at the bit to put one in. For many reasons...

One, we are trying hard to start learning how to grow and preserve our own organic produce. After reading all kinds of awesome (and eye-opening) food books like Food Rules and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, we wanted to try to do our best to become self-sufficient with our fruits and veggies and start purchasing from local farms what we couldn't grow or raise ourselves.

Two, there is nothing like starting to prep a meal and slipping out the back door for some fresh tomatoes and basil, or cucumbers and cilantro, or picking your very own summer strawberries. I just love having the convenience of a garden full of delicious fruits and veggies only a few steps away.

Three, it's on my 101 list! Woohoo, time to cross this baby off!

#1 - Put in a garden space.

And I have to say, we've definitely made some progress since we first planted back in May!

May 2014

June 2014

Although our garden may be small for now, it's perfect for us. We also hope to keep expanding slowly every year so that we don't overplant and waste anything. We want to learn to keep up with what we plant before we end up with forty-seven giant squash or six different varieties of tomatoes that we can't use fast enough or figure out what to do with.

If you're interested in starting a garden, I highly recommend checking out Mel Bartholomew's book on Squre Foot Gardening. It is by far the simplest, most efficient, and in my opinion best way to garden. I can't wait to build more boxes down the road!

Feeling Like a Kid Again

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Last night was probably one of the best nights I've had in years.

I had had a really long day. I woke up late, rushed around to get into work for my 8:00AM meeting, busted my butt all day, then had a meeting for our P4P group until 8:00PM. We ended up not getting home until almost 9:00PM but for some reason, we still weren't all that sleepy.

We were tired from the day in general but just not ready to go to bed. We wanted a fun and relaxing way to unwind a bit and after some thought, we got an idea.

So Mike grabbed a couple of wine glasses, a nice bottle of cabernet sauvignon from our trip to Washington, turned on some music, and then we constructed this...

In the middle of our living room we made the coziest little pillow fort I've ever seen. I haven't made one in probably more than a decade but the minute that we turned on the twinkle lights and our heads hit the pillows, we felt like kids at a sleepover again. We talked and cuddled and laughed and for once in our busy lives took time to really enjoy the moment.

Around 11:00PM I got a craving for something sweet and decided to whip up a delcious recipe for a deep dish chocolate chip cookie for two. Only fifteen minutes later we were in chocolately, sugary, cookie heaven, I tell you!

As we lay there under the glow of the lights with full bellies and a snuggly kitten in between us, the thunder began to roll and the lightning flashed all around us. We fell asleep to the sounds of the storm and I have to say, it was the perfect ending to an otherwise crazy day. It just goes to show that you don't have to wait until the weekend to have all the fun. Even when you're a bit run down, there's always a little adventure to be had - even in the simple moments.

Have a fabulous Thursday!

Pacing 4 Parkinson's

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

For the last few years now, my husband Mike has been racing in the Baltimore Running Festival as a team member of a charity group called Pacing 4 Parkinson's that raises awareness and funds for Parkinson's research through the Johns Hopkins Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center.

As you may or may not know, my grandfather, Paul, was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease quite a few years ago and has been fighting hard against it ever since. I believe I speak for our entire family when I say how difficult it has been to watch such a strong, wise, and gentle man essentially become a prisoner to his body. Anyone who has witnessed the progression of the disease knows how rough Parkinson's (as well as many other neurodegenerative disorders) is both physically and emotionally. My grandpa's struggle has affected us all immeasurably and for me personally, it became the driving force in my passion for science and research.

Shortly after we met, Mike found the Pacing 4 Parkinson's group and made a commitment to raise money every year and run the half-marathon in honor of my grandpa. He has always said he "runs for those who can't run for themselves."

It has always meant a lot to me and my family to have Mike supporting a cause that hits so close to home. His commitment to P4P and my grandpa  inspired me so much that I wanted to find a way to contribute as well - one that wouldn't require running thirteen miles. After watching him finish and take his photo with the P4P group at the race last year, I realized that there was a lot more I could be doing with the charity and that day we both decided to take our membership to a new level - we joined the P4P committee.

We are more than thrilled to be able to help out behind the scenes! Even as newbies, the group has entrusted us with quite a bit of responsibility - planning and participating in volunteering events,  running the social media pages (check out our Facebook and Twitter pages!), working to expand the team, organizing fundraisers and team runs, and assisting in making all kinds of decisions leading up to race day. I can't begin to tell you how excited we are to be working with such a great community of people and we are so grateful to have the opportunity to get to know so many folks fighting Parkinson's and hear their stories. It is so inspiring to be a part of this network.

If you know someone who has Parkinson's disease, or even if you're interested in hearing more about what we do, please feel free to take a look at our pages and read a little about us. I'm not asking for a donation or anything like that. My goal is simply to spread awareness and share a cause that we hold close to our hearts. You can find our homepage here and be sure to like us on Facebook and check us out on Twitter to follow along.

One Down, Five to Go.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


After the glorious Father's Day weekend spending time with family and friends, enjoying the beautiful weather, and all the fun the weekend had to offer, my good mood came crashing down when I woke up yesterday.

One, it was Monday morning. No explanation necessary.

Two, I had been studying my butt off all week for my very first test in my very first grad school class and was feeling super anxious about being prepared.

Studying is never fun. But studying in the summer when all you want is to be playing outside, sipping an icy cold beverage, and soaking up the sun... when you have no idea what the questions on the test are going to be like, how tricky they'll be or what they'll even be on... when you've been out of this whole school game for three years and you're not sure you even remember how to take a test... Studying under these conditions is probably the worst thing ever. Biochemistry is hard. Biochemistry in grad school is even harder. It's faster and more detailed and you're required to know more in less time. I felt like even though I had read the chapters over and over and practiced problems and memorized structures, it still wasn't good enough.

I know that all just sounds like me complaining and making up a bunch of dumb excuses. And as I went through my day, stressing about the test, I soon realized that's exactly what it was. A bunch of stupid excuses. Stupid little superficial things holding me back from my true potential.

Deep down, I knew I'd be fine. I had studied harder for this first test than any I took in undergrad, but for some reason, I still felt fearful. I still felt scared to fail, scared to mess up on such a high level and make a fool out of myself. I put so much pressure on myself to do well and succeed that I had pretty much made myself sick. And after all that, guess what?

I aced it.

Here's hoping that this serves as a reminder that you can do anything you put your mind to. Don't let doubt creep in when you know you've put in the time and hard work. And most of all don't allow the fear of failure to keep you from doing what you're passionate about.

Overnight Oats with Blueberries and Chia Seeds

Friday, June 13, 2014

So this past week, Mike and I decided to try the Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge. Have you heard of it?

It's basically a two-week "detox" plan designed to help you eat real, healthy food and give you more energy. Now, I have never believed in "detoxing" (and I still don't) but when I flipped through the recipes, I really wanted to give it a shot because everything looked delicious! They include so many fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean meats, and the best part? They literally do all of the work for you. They provide everything you need from grocery lists and a prep schedule, to an equipment list and recipes. It's all there for you to use for free!

So far we are only a few days in but I really wanted to share one of the recipes here because it was seriously so delicious! It is by far one of the best breakfasts I've had in a long time. Goodbye boring cereal, hello overnight oats! Even if you don't do the rest of the challenge, you seriously need to try this recipe!


Overnight Oats with Blueberries and Chia Seeds

1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup blueberries

Mix all ingredients until thoroughly combined. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.

A Liebster Award

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A few weeks ago, Andrea of Each Lovely Thing nominated me for a Liebster Award! I have only known Andrea via the blogosphere for a short time, but she is incredibly sweet and I really appreciate the nomination! So thank you so much and I hope that you all go check out her awesome blog!

So let's get to the questions, shall we?

1. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I would have to say that landing a job at Johns Hopkins University and getting into their Master's program are big ones for me. When I was in high school I always wanted to go to a great school like Hopkins but I never applied because I think I seriously feared the rejection. So now, saying that I am not only an employee but a student there as well makes me feel like I have finally accomplished that goal.

2. If you were going to write a book, what would you call it and what would it be about?
Oh wow, this is a tough one. If I was to actually write a book, it would probably be short because I don't have that kind of dedication. So maybe a children's book? Ooh! And it would be about a sloth for sure! And it would likely resemble Eric Carle's masterpiece "Slowly, slowly, slowly, said the Sloth" - which I own, by the way... (but seriously, I do.)

3. If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say?
"Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes your behind. The race is long, and in the end it's only with yourself." This is actually a quote from the speech Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen. Back in the 90's Baz Luhrmann turned the piece written by columnist from Chicago into a song. I used to listen to it all the time and I ended up memorizing the entire thing. I can even still recite it to this day. Anyway, this is one of my favorite lines and I try to remind myself of it often. I think the message is something we all need to keep in mind.

4. If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet?
Jane Austen, Audrey Hepburn, or Bob Marley. Or all three, please.

5. What kind of vacations do you like?
The ones where I get to explore a new city and see things I've never seen before. I could never be one of those people that goes back to the same place every single year. There's just too much of the world to see.

6. What’s something most people don’t know about you?
That I can recite Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen from start to finish.

7. If you knew you would die tomorrow, would you feel cheated today?
Probably. No one should have to die this young. There's too much life to be lived. But I do have so many wonderful people in my life that if I were to die tomorrow, I could at least die knowing I was so incredibly lucky to be so loved.

8. What’s something you wish everyone knew about you?
I'm actually really hyper sensitive. There's a quote I like that really sums it up, "Some say I'm too sensitive but the truth is I just feel too much. Every word, every action, and every energy goes straight to my heart."

9. What was the highlight of your day so far?
Being surprised by a free cup of my favorite coffee by a co-worker. The little things just make me so happy.

10. What inspired you to start a blog?
I had been reading a few blogs religiously for a couple of years and I wanted to start one probably for the same reasons most people do: to document life and to keep in touch with people that don't live close. It's nice to have an online journal of sorts that I can always go back and read. It's amazing too to see how quickly things change in only a couple of years. I hope to keep blogging for a long time.

11. If you could change one thing from your life as it is today, what would it be?
I would want to be able to spend more time with distant family and friends. It's really hard being far away from those you love. In a perfect world we would all live in one giant house together and have huge dinner parties every night where everyone would sit around and joke and laugh and tell stories until the sun came up. Yea, I want more of that in my life.

My nominees:
Megan from Soup of the Day
Macy at To Travel and Beyond
Ali at Journey of Our Love
Alicia at The Finding Years
Jenn at A Country Girl's World
Tabitha at Wandering Java Lover

And their questions:
1. If you had to choose one blogger out there who has really inspired you, who would it be?
2. Do you have a favorite place to visit in the summer time?
3. Have you ever lived in a different country? If not, where would you move if you could?
4. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
5. Has blogging turned out to be all that you expected? What are your favorite and not so favorite things about it?
6. If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
7. What's the story behind your blog name?
8. Do you have any pets?
9. What is your favorite type of post to write and why?
10. If you had a super power what would that be?
11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Paint Nite Baltimore - The Point at Fells

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A few weeks ago, my friend Chelsea and I ventured out to Fells Point to experience a Baltimore Paint Nite.

I've seen a few other bloggers posting about these events and a couple of my friends have done them as well. And since I'd heard nothing but positive reviews, I thought it might be fun to try one out for myself.

This was my first time, so I was a little worried about how it would all go down since I am the furthest thing from an artist.

I mean, guys, I do science.

I do numbers. Logic. Reason. I like math and straight lines and rules. Not the whole subjective, artsy, intuitive thing. I'm just not good at it. I don't always get it. I can appreciate it, but I just suck at creating my own. My brain doesn't work that way. Seriously. I can barely draw stick people. So I honestly thought there was no way I was going to be able to paint an entire canvas and make it look like anything other than a toddler's art project.

Surprisingly, I was wrong!

Somehow, by some miracle, (aka wine) I mustered up some confidence and ended up with a pretty sweet piece of art!

Chelsea doing her thang.

My finished painting!

A lot of it had to do with the awesome instructor we had who basically held our hands through the whole thing but it was still so much fun! And for those who have a functioning right brain and like to paint regularly, you can do your own creative interpretations of what the instructor is painting. There were several people at our event that didn't follow the examples and kind of went their own way and ended up with some really gorgeous looking stuff.

So whether you are a total dumbo when it comes to art like me or you are a seasoned painter, I really think these Paint Nites are worth checking out!

Well hey there!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Good morning, friends!

Have you heard? Today is National Donut Day! I had absolutely no idea that donuts even had their own holiday but when I went to grab my iced coffee from Dunkin this morning, they asked me what kind of donut I wanted and when I told them I didn't order one, they informed me that it was FO' FREE!

Chocolate Sprinkle please!

So be sure to swing by your local donut shop and snag one - or three like me. (Multiple trips, guys, multiple trips.)

Anywho, I wanted to pop in to say that I am most definitely still alive and breathing but since I started my first grad school class on Monday, I've pretty much had my nose buried in my Biochem textbook the whole week.  I mean, I've been so dedicated to the subject that I literally had a dream the other night that I was riding piggy back on a water molecule named "Stan" and we were checking out all of the other molecules he could bond with and grading them based on their electronegativity.

Sooo, yep. There's that.

To be honest, I've actually been avoiding my blog. Partly because I've been trying not to fall behind with the insane amount of reading we have for class but also because I still have not gotten my ish together with our Seattle pictures.

It's literally been a month since our trip and I've been kicking myself about not posting about our super awesome adventures. I really cannot wait  to share everything (or apparently I can), it's just I haven't really had the time. So, naturally, I've just been ignoring this space altogether. Which makes me sad because I really do love coming here.

So even though I've got an entire weekend ahead of me dedicated to science (hopefully sans crazy dreams) I made a promise to myself that I will take some time to relax by writing a couple of posts for next week.

So look out for the big wad of treehouse-y, Emerald city goodness coming your way next week!

Happy weekend everybody!