Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Outfit + Memorial Day

Simple as it is, I kinda like my outfit today, so I'm going to submit you to it. 
My brother helped piece it together and then took photos.  
Good brutharrrr. 

dress - f21
blazer - Charlotte Russe
necklace & earrings - target
boots, sunglasses & ring - aldo

In other news, I just saved myself a good chunk of cash by cutting my own bangs.  Whaddya think?
Should I keep 'em?

Yesterday, I was massively jonesing for veggie shish kebabs 
but with our grill broken, deemed it a lost cause.  
Then Steven saved the day! Totally unrelated to my craving, 
he was already making 'em!


Thanks for your feedback on my last post.  I'm taking your advice KillerB ... taking it slow with one hangout at a time (dropping in for grilled veggies was a step!).  And goodness, I feel silly complaining about having a rough time working less (womp womp) in comparison to the workload you're forced to cope with, Meg.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Desk Doldrums

Supposedly energy can neither be made nor destroyed, only transformed.  If that's the case, my desk has been transforming my afternoon energy into a millstone around my neck.

Coming back from that conference has been HARD.  I hadn't even realized the extent of doldrumness my daily life had become until I tried to slip back into it from my recently acquired state of higher energy, contentedness and joy.  Don't get me wrong, I love my job but I've realized that being up and about, moving, teaching, interacting with people ... is kind of a necessity to keep my soul from leaking out.  And now that I know (*slash* relearned) that fact, I can't go back.

Reminiscing on my weekday social life the past year, I'm struck with horror at the inner monologue I had cultivated... Being end-of-week-tired every single evening resulted in me saying 'No' to any weeknight social event so often that it became automatic for me and my friends stopped asking.  I dealt with it by making up stringent tenets about myself like "I need 9 hours of sleep or I can't function" and "If I don't have my meal, and have it on time, I am a grump." 

Going to the conference, playing host to a class touring my work and finally, going to a wedding this weekend has shown me that NO, the real me is quite energetic and filled with passion.  This person who is irritated by someone interrupting my 3 hour long staring contest with my computer screen is distinctly not me.

The past few weeks of excitement have forced me to reexamine my ironclad beliefs about the type of person I am....

I CAN have a fantastic day without having a strict bedtime the night before, I CAN skip a meal without becoming a troll and I CAN dance, and I mean really dance, until midnight.

While I have roughly 18 theories as to how this happened, the explanation that is most straightforward and easiest to deal with is that I'm having a hard time lifting my nose from the grindstone that was so necessary for the past 12 months.  The steep learning curve of a new job, applying for PhD programs, studying for and taking the GRE, preparing and traveling all over for graduate school interviews, gearing up for my first conference....  All of the above required a lot of serious focus.  But now that those pressing, scary and stressful events have all come and gone, there's no excuse for my continual logging of an extra 10 hours of work per week and lack of hanging out with friends and family.

Has anyone else dealt with getting stuck in a work-work-work funk?  How did you get out?  What do you do to keep from the doldrums at a desk job?  How do you balance work and fun and energy?

P.S. Happy Memorial Day!!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


It was okay...
Matching Pirates of the Caribbean tattoos!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nonstop Fantastic + Outfits

***NOTE: Sorry this post is now out of order, stupid blogger....
Should be Thursday, May 12th, 2011***

I just got back from my very first neuroscience conference and I cannot overstate this:
It was one of the best experiences of my whole. Entire. Life.

This is me, on my way.  As you can see, I was excited but I had no idea what I was in for....
Early morning Rachael + poster (photo by Brutharrr)

6am flight
No sleep 
+ 8 hrs of traveling 
As soon as I landed, I just wanted to get to 
my room without being seen and sleep.  

No deal.  The fun had already started and I ended up staying up until the wee hours.

My initial attitude was to make it through my poster presentation and only then could I relax and have a nice time but instead, I found myself LOVING the poster presentation.  People actually wanted to hear about my research(!!!) and they gave such wonderful praise(!!!) and advice(!!!).  I was so sad when my measly 4 hours were up.
Me at my poster
As much as I loved the poster part though, I'm glad it was limited because there was so much else to see and do!  There were nearly round the clock 10 minute talks (just like real live TED talks!) and three BALLROOMS filled with posters (it was like Scientific American Mind come to LIFE!).
I was warned of burn-out but I poo-pooed it, thinking excitement was enough of an inoculation.  Boy, was I wrong.  By day 3 of nonstop learning, I found myself repeatedly rushing to an interesting looking talk or poster and WHAM! Unable to absorb one iota of information.  Drat!

So,... sad times I know... I started having to go out to the beach (where the water is WARM, people, WARM!), restaurants, BBQs, hot tubs, pools... Poor me.
Just one of the hotel's many pools
Over the course of the trip, I made a plethora of new friends and quickly found myself the organizer of all things fun.  I'd call up my 15 new buddies to coordinate a midnight swim in the ocean or an outing to such-and-such school's pool party at their rented mansion.  I barely found time to wolf down three meals a day let alone sleep (normal = 8 hours.  This trip = 3-4 per night).

Needless to say, as soon as I stopped constantly moving, I came down with an assortment of sicklies. 

These are a few of my outfits.  Sorry for the poor quality, I had to 
snap 'em right quick on my phone.

Now I'm home.... deliriously happy, with a noggin filled with facts and a life filled with new friends. 
I don't even care that I'm sick. 
I hope you guys had fantastic weekends as well and I look forward to catching up on my blog-readin'!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Outfit + Garden Party

As promised... Pictures from the garden party.
This is what I wore....
(Obligatory garage shots)
....aaannnnd fancier artsy shots!
(Three cheers for Brutharrr's photography!)

Fortunately, I got to return the favor...

There was amazing food....

Lots to drink....

Music, art, wildlife and beautiful decorations...

And one of my dearest, dearest friends was there with his boyfriend.
Lucky for me, they're both hams!

I hope you all have a grand weekend!  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Weekend in Pictures

Despite being a sicko, I had the most AMAZING weekend, traveling to my mom and stepdad's (with Brutharrr in tow!).

There were secret sister croissant sneak outs! Shhh!

....Sim playing and nail painting....

....Brutharrrr read to us from the Wayside School series 
(several times throughout the weekend.... 
for at least an hour each time!  It was soooo sweet!)....

...Which had us all laughing out loud...

... Cookie expeditions (involving lunch)....

I guarantee you this face was unrelated to the taste of the cookie.

Can't you just tell how delicious our sammiches were from this picture?!

....And a long awaited family celebration of my birthday! Mom made me my favorite cake.....

....and I decorated it....

And then, while the littles toured a Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Littlest: "I hope I meet an 
astronomer!  ... but then I'd be worried I'd faint!"), I got to do the photography for a 
garden party fundraiser! Isn't that adorable? 
Cherry on top: One of my dearest friends and his boyfriend 
bought tickets and came to the fundraiser just to visit me!

The next post will be pictures from the garden party but here's a sneak peak.  
Brutharrr took this one...
(props to Brutharrr's photography, eh?!)
How was YOUR weekend?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Under wraps....

...because I'm clearly not over them.

This is my version of the starbucks feta + eggwhite + spinach wrap.  Since it's homemade, I'm calling it the LessBucks Wrap.  Har har.

Mine consists of egg whites + basil pesto + sun-dried tomatoes + crumbled feta (and a few peanuts when I feel like it) on a whole wheat lavash wrap.

This is my Breakfast Club Wrap*

It consists of a frozen banana + cream cheese + corn flakes (and a few peanuts when I feel like it) on a whole wheat lavash wrap.

*naming credit goes to Brutharrr

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Oops! Never posted pictures from Easter.  My bad.
We celebrate like the good ol' (cave) days....

Hunting and gathering...


Thursday, May 5, 2011


The past few days have been CRUNCH time.  Mega crunch.  Like, this...

6:30 am: Wake.  Freak out.  Run around.  Drink adrenaline for breakfast.
6:50 am: Arrive at coffee shop #1. Caffeinate.
10:00 am: Arrive at coffee shop #2 (change of scenery).  Re-caffeinate.
1:00 pm:  Home for lunch.  Complain to any family who happens to be around
1:15 pm: Work from home
2:25 pm: Eyes begin bleeding
 3:00 pm: Go to local deli/salad bar/coffee shop #3.  Re-re-caffeinate.
5:45 pm: Remember to blink.
7:00 pm: Wolf dinner from salad bar.
7:10 pm: Back to work
10 pm: Go home.  Complain to any family who happens to be around.
11 pm: Sleepsing. 

All this is in preparation for my poster presentation at a big ol' science-y gathering.

I will be leaving my house before 4am to fly across the country.  
Thus, I will be sleeping in my clothes.
That is all.*

*I lied.  I want to tell you one small side story... since the bathroom at coffee shop #1 is locked with a keypad and the biggest table at happens to be right next to it, I've morphed into the bathroom troll this week... Never thought I'd have THAT honor.  I'm constantly giving out the code and informing people that someone's already in there (so you can stop trying the code six times).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Star Wars Day!

...To the biggest Star Wars fans I know.

Get it?  
"May the 4th be with you"
Get it now

Monday, May 2, 2011

Can't wait for 6

Went and saw Fast Five yesterday.  It was FANTASTIC*.  Prompting me to pimp up my makeup....

Oh the valuable life lessons I learned...
Favorite quotes from the series:
"It don't matter if you win by an inch or a mile... Winning's winning."
"You can't detail a car with the cover on."
"You want time, try the magazine."
"You can't just play with fire if you soak the matches in gasoline."

My favorite quotes from my fellow marathoners:
"Vin Diesel can do with 3 tires what everyone else can do with just 5."  -S

"Why do the cars always land upside down?" -T
"Butter on the roofs." -W

*Yup, Molly, 'fantastic' in an ironic way.   :)  The series is just total, hilarious fun.
Have you guys seen it yet? Specifically you, Jessica?

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Dear people who read this month's book (or at least started it) and didn't like it:
I'm sorry.  As Charlotte can attest, I struggled over which book to pick and it came down to the aforementioned title or Paper Towns by John Green.  I like Paper Towns!  A lot! It was a really good read.  But it didn't make me really THINK and look at myself in a new light sixteen times a minute like AHWOSG.  I will admit I was quite confident most people would enjoy Paper Towns and was less confident that as many people would click with AHWOSG but I could hope.....

Dear Molly:  I'm so, so, so glad you got something out of this book.  Thanks for pointing out the total relevance of choosing a novel about self-awarely putting too much personal information about yourself and those around you for strangers to read as a blogger's book club choice.  AHWOSG is a SUCH a blog-book.

Everytime I read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, I'm reminded that life is too short to not step out of our comfort zones, to not self-analyze and be honest with what we find and to not connect with people.

It is second only to the Bible in terms of books that have had the most impact on my life.  Point in case: It's the reason I started talking to strangers on the bus, which is how I met my ex, who ended up being my longest relationship thus far and consequently, dramatically influenced the direction of my life.

Check out what other people thought of the book here