Three Hundred and Forty


That is the number. The number of journal articles and handbook chapters I have to read and reread this summer for the preliminary exam. It's just a little bit daunting. I believe I have eight 3" binders full of these articles. It's totally doable but just, well, you know.

This is why I'm glad I'm getting new spectacles with a proper prescription! These, in brown, will be on my face sometime next week:
I think they're quite fun and sophisticated.

The highlight thus far today (pretty good to have a highlight by 10:20!) was Facetime with my sister and brother-in-law! Daphne is getting BIG! Also, I think the call was Apple commercial worthy. Just sayin'. 

Now I'm going to go be productive while I eat my yoghourt and fresh blueberries drizzled with honey. The eat in challenge is proving to be delicious...


Stuffed Bell Peppers - The Eat In Challenge

Dear Blogosphere,

I have a problem. I eat at restaurants too frequently. And I forget how much I like cooking. I also have lots of tasty things in my pantry which want to be dinner. Hence, I'm challenging myself to a week of eating in. Tonight on the menu:

Stuffed bell peppers with vodka sauce 
(a modified version of the best thing ever)

* 2 red, orange, or yellow bell peppers
* 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice 
* 4 ounces precooked frozen ground chicken
* 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
* 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
* 1 jar vodka sauce (I used Trader Joe's Organic)
* 1 ounce mozzarella 
* Salt and pepper to taste

Start at the beginning and when you come to the end... stop.

Preheat oven to 400*F. Start by cooking salted onions over medium high heat in a large frying pan sprayed with PAM. Cook until almost translucent. Add chicken. Cook until heated through. Add about 1 1/2 cups of vodka sauce. Make it bubble. Add frozen spinach and cooked brown rice. Mix it up.

Cut the tops off the peppers, seed and take out those bitter ribs. Place the peppers in some sort of bakeware that can withstand the high heat of a 400*F oven. Fill the peppers with rice mixture. You'll have left over rice. Eat that while these cook. :-) Top the rice with the mozzarella.

Pour the rest of the vodka sauce into the bottom of the casserole, or what-have-you. Put the tops on the bell peppers and toss those suckers in your oven! Keep 'em cookin' until the peppers have softened.

Oh baby. Am I right? Am I right?

I believe I am.

The Happiest Place on Earth

Thanks for noticing us.
There's a lot of ways to write about one of the best weekends of your life. I considered several of these for this epic blog post of fantastic while I lay on my shag rug for several hours last night wondering if I was going to be able to walk today. When my family does Disneyland, we do Disneyland. To the point of shin splints. Awesome!

I think I'll start with the highlights then post the random pictures I took (my mom took the normal kind, like the one above). So, voila, the highlights!

  1. Hanging out with my younger sister and mom for a weekend. No stress, (almost) no work to do. It was fun to chat and run around riding rides and eating delicious foodstuffs with them. As we walked out of the park yesterday afternoon, my younger sister and I found ourselves doing the typical child thing of finding random things to do to avoid leaving. Like a $0.25 vibrating machine to cure foot pain. "Wait! One more time!" My mom remarked, as we walked down Main Street U.S.A., "This is the happiest place on Earth." Agreed. And, I'll add, it's only that way because of my fantastic family.
  2. Gluten-free friendliness! I have to say, there are lots of delicious snacks at Disneyland and fortunately they take good care of us Celiac diseased persons. I ate pizza, a chicken sandwich, enchiladas, a turkey leg, and ratatouille *with* a tasty savory sort of cornbread. All gluten-free. Whenever you request anything gluten-free, they bring out the chef who prepares your meal her/himself. It is so easy and carefree. Like a vacation should be.
  3. WORLD OF COLOR! Seriously the best show I've seen at a Disney park. They have really outdone themselves. It's a fountain show. A HUGE fountain show. With fire. And a movie. And a cheesy soundtrack. Ali and I got prime standing spots. Our eyebrows were singed and we were soaked by the end of it. It was amazing. This description isn't doing it justice. Let's just say, this is what my face looked like during most of it: :-O
  4. Silly moments! (1) Ali read a few select parts of the Heart of Darkness to us on Jungle Cruise. (2) I got a Mint Julep and Ali got beignets in New Orleans Quarter. We were hungry so we fought over the cherries in my Mint Julep ("You got beignets! I'm keeping my cherries." "Can I have a mint leaf?" "Sure."). My mom took the lemon and dropped it in the beignet bag full of powdered sugar. And ate it. We challenged her to do it again. Apparently she'll only do that once a vacation. (3) And just ridiculous things we said and we heard others say.
  5. Getting back to the hotel on Friday afternoon... getting on Facebook and seeing that two of my favorite people, Caitlin and Evan, had changed their relationship status! ENGAGED! And let's just say that Evan has excellent taste in rocks. ;-) You're the man, Evan! So smart to get up the guts to ask one of the most wonderful people I know to tie the knot. You guys make my heart smile! <3
And the photos!

Enjoying a Mad Tea Party.
Reading Heart of Darkness.
We're not nerds. Heavens no!
Most snoozy ride in the park.
Hollywood Tower of Terror.
At the end of World of Color.
Gay Pride World of Color caramel and white chocolate apple.
The ears are chocolate covered marshmallows.
Just in case the caramel apple from heaven wasn't enough!
Honey pots galore!
I like Rabbit.
I bet that surprises you.
On my favorite kids' ride: Alice in Wonderland.
My mom bought me a Mickey Mouse apron and had my name embroidered on it.
I think it's mighty cute! 
The rest of my souvenirs!
My sister and I split a variety box of Wonderland teas.
And I got that darling tea pot and tea cup set for my new (come June 20) kitchen.
Fun trip! I can't wait to go again in a few years with Emily, Taylor, and Princess Daphne!


Tap and Biscuits, etc

Well, I dusted my taps off and took at a class at the ARC. I haven't taken a tap class in four years! So I was prepared for the worst but I definitely have a neural network especially for the rhythms and choreography. The hardest part was certainly the warm up - 16 shuffle hops to the front, 16 to the side, 16 to the back, 8, 8, 8, 4, 4, 4, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1. I was dying. I had jelly for ankles. So everything after that was easy peasy.

I felt pretty proud of myself and open to even more adventure, so I made these:

Biscuits. Delicious, buttery goodness biscuits. They were so easy that, if it weren't for the calorie count, they'd become a regular foodstuff at the Nat Flat. But I will be making them again for First Saturday! Yum...

Aside from biscuitry and tappery, I am getting excited to move all the way from A Street to C Street on June 20! I am going to gather up my monies and pay the deposit, etc, tomorrow. I am getting very excited to furniture shop! I've found a cute, modern sofa at IKEA (see below) and I am hoping to pick up the rest on Craigslist. I am planning a pizza and booze party for helpers. ...If you know of people that like carrying heavy things and celebration, let them know of this fantastic opportunity.


Ma Petite Daphne

I have had so much fun shopping for little Daphne (side note: my sister is in the third trimester)! I bought her a few onesies in various sizes in Montreal at a boutique called Souris Mini. All of their clothes are designed and manufactured in Quebec! And today I went to Roseville to buy myself some new clothes and I picked up a few things for her at H&M. And, without more adieu, the goods (click to enlarge)!


Spring Quarter

The flowers and I are quite thrilled about this sunny, warm weather!
I am blogging for the first time from my iPad. So, I'm excited to see how this turns out.

I realized as I walked off campus early this evening that I haven't really posted about what I am up to this quarter. So far i've been incredibly busy, running around campus all day. My lab is in the middle of data collection for our study on emerging adulthood. So we've been recruiting participants, administering the surveys, and then tracking them down for payment. It's been strangely fun, as i've been hanging out with one of the fantastic members of our lab, Teri. But still exhausting.

I'm taking two classes. One is the last content course for the PhD program. It's development in adulthood and aging. It's not my focus area, obviously, but I am enjoying our discussions and the readings. It's pretty chill, easy. Then the other class is an applied longitudinal data analysis class. So I of course love it and I am getting really excited to work more on my stats project from last quarter. And I'm taking a bunch of thesis hours because by May 10, I will have a draft! I will also be presenting my thesis that day. Final draft of my thesis is due May 24. It's real. Oh, I am also a teaching assistant for the undergraduate course on development in adolescence. That's right! (Almost) no sex this quarter!

Graduation is June 9th. I am so excited! Of course, it'll be a weird commencement as I'm not leaving and will start studying for the preliminary exam immediately. But! It'll be a celebration none-the-less.

In other news, the weather here is perfect. Dresses, shorts and sweaters all around! I've been inspired to wear my favorite spring and summer pieces:

What I like quite a bit about these three is not only do they play well together (I wear the dragonfly and daisy necklaces together) but they are also from three very different places. I bought the dragonfly in Las Vegas, my parents bought me the butterfly in Philadelphia, and my mom and sister snagged the daisy for me in San Francisco.

So that's what's shakin'. Happy Thursday!

P.S. Dear Blogosphere, Carter Oosterhouse has a girlfriend.



My adviser has a lot of sneaky and awesome ways to motivate us. This is the latest tactic. My little, enthusiastic/terrifying monster reminding me to keep on keeping on. He's quite thrilled that by Friday I will have all of my planned analysis listed for my thesis. He's even more thrilled that I'll have a draft of my thesis completed by May 10. I will also be presenting my thesis for feedback to my lab group. This is real. It's happening. Nothing like a presentation (and a monster) to motivate me.

Data collection is exhausting. Fortunately I only have about a week left. I've been running around campus all day since I've been back. It's fun in that I've been hanging out with the amazing Teri all day long. But I am looking forward to normality and being able to focus on my thesis.

One other bit of exciting news is that I'm finally going to dust off my tap shoes and hall my feet to a tap class. It's going to be fantastic to have an hour a week to focus on something besides grad school and other worries. Oy, are my taps are thrilled to get back on the dance floor!

Happy Tuesday!


A Day With My Lady

My lady and I spent a day at home...

We did a couple of things, including checking Facebook via Flipboard...

And seeing what's new in the blogosphere...

And Flickr...

Then we looked at some recipes in Everyday Food...

Lady doesn't have much of an appetite so I'm...

So far, I'm loving it and my MBP is enjoying the break. I've only bought a few applications, GoodReader being one of them. My favorite is still Flipboard. I've decided I should subscribe to even more blogs to make it even more fun. If you have a recommendation, leave me a comment!

And... goodbye weekend. :-(

Back in the Kitchen

I can't remember the last time I cooked in my kitchen! Made a super tasty lunch today -- very easy, of course.

Tzatziki on a Steamed Potato + Veg
I've never seen it done before, but tzatziki on a potato is delicious. I simply steamed the potato in the microwave (wash, stab it a few times with a knife, wrap it up in a damp paper towel and wave for 7 minutes) and served it with sauteed onions, red bell pepper, and chopped spinach. Salt and pepper, obviously, to taste.

Happy Sunday!


Montréal Couture, etc

I finished unpacking from my trips to the South, the Ootah, and the Montreal and realized that my sister, Emily, would not get to see my souvenirs until July! That's too long. So, voila, humorous photographs.

Scarf from Chlorophylle.
A fantastic outdoorsy/urban boutique.
Knitted bracelets from Zone Orange.
A boutique and gallery full of fun, wacky things.
A cozy scarf purchased on a chilly, chilly day
in a souvenir shoppe.
And the coolest of all...

My name is in it THREE times. I feel so cool.
For example.
I got a few small gifts for Ali, Cindy, and Daphne. Coming at y'all soon!


A Yellow Rose

Spring is in full force here. Roses are blooming and it's California poppy time! My favorite.

Nothing else to report. Been a crazy week so it's wonderful to have a day to relax and recuperate. In about a week and a half, I'll be in SoCal with my mom and younger sister. I'm getting really, really excited! And a week ago, I was in lovely Montreal... ah, I want to go back!


The Tough Decision

Well, it is official! I will be working on my PhD at UC Davis! I'm very excited, totally thrilled. I made the decision yesterday but was encouraged to hold off for a bit. I got the go ahead this afternoon and considered holding off until lab meeting on Tuesday, but you know me... keeping it a secret for almost a week would kill me!

It was the hardest decision of my life but, in the end, the pros at Davis outweighed the pros at Auburn. I got advice from lots of people but ultimately it came down to a gut feeling and a little bit of logic. Here is what my pro list at Davis looked like:

*Great mentor already + great mentorship style
*No repeating coursework
*Involved in cool projects
*Can get completely into research now
*I know I like the people
*Don’t need to move
*Cute apartment
*No need for a car
*Location – close to Salt Lake
*9th best public university in the US
*Engaging in entire research process
*Know my body likes it here
*Medical center
*Best farmers market
*I know I love it

Some of these things are silly, of course. But things like the farmers market make life so much more pleasurable especially on difficult days.

I am very fortunate to not only get the opportunity to go for a PhD, but to have the option to choose between programs. I think Auburn would have been a great fit for me, too. I had two great choices. 

So what's next? Besides regular school/research/teaching stuff, I'll be studying for the big, scary preliminary exam this summer. This exam is over multiple days and tests your knowledge of lifespan development. I would say it's comparable to the bar exam. Maybe. I'll also be moving in late June from my sweet little studio apartment to a big, spacious 1-bedroom. Then I hope to spend a good part of July in Salt Lake, holding my niece while I reread about development from preconception through 5 years. Aww!

Lots of excitement ahead! Now to write some emails to my friends in Alabama. Yikes, I feel like such a tease...

You Make Me Feel So Young

You make me feel so spring has sprung!

Past couple of days have been crazy busy. But, all in all, things are quite fabulous. Lovely weather, adequate amount of sleep last night, it's good. I've figured out where I'm spending the next four or so years of my life! Which is probably why I am feeling so great.

Anyway... some lovely photos!

Spring is definitely here.
Happy day!
One of the most delicious foodstuffs ever.
Hoping it cured my cold.
In other news, my iPad has shipped! I've already started downloading apps. Have any recommendations?

I'm very excited for Flipboard!
And, finally, since this is a random post... Coach has a new bag named after me! Behold...

Too bad I'm not cuter. :-( Not so much into straw bags.
But I am unexpectedly sophisticated with pure charm and pure luxury.
...And everytime I see you grin
I'm such a happy individual...