Thursday, April 9, 2015

One Iced Mocha with Skimm, Please

Let me introduce you to your new best friend. Seriously.

Considering the amount of time spent juggling work, sleep, and a social life, you can guess that this college girl tends to struggle with staying up-to-date with the bulk of current events. (And not for lack of trying, mind you.)

This changed however, when two years ago I stumbled upon this little piece of genius.

The Skimm is a daily email newsletter that strives to summarize everything you should know about what went down the day before. Or at least enough to show you have some idea of what's happening right now.

Every morning I wake up to this nifty little email in my mailbox, that conveniently highlights the most prominent current events in a brief, easy-to-read, and witty fashion.  (And if you're interested in the minutia, they offer links in all of their reports.)

The founders, Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, have single-handedly revolutionized modern news reporting.  Each newsfeed is short enough to read on the morning commute and tends to shy away from visible party bias. So you can let them do all the digging, make your own interpretations, and remain well-informed.  I honestly tend to read mine in the time it takes for me to order my morning coffee.

Even better? The newsletter is completely free.

So if you have the chance, take the minute (seriously just a minute) to sign up, and commit to spending the 2 minutes each morning to keep yourself informed.

I like to take my morning coffee iced with a hint of Skimm, and I think you should too.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Fiction Fridays: Girls in White Dresses

I actually loved this book.

This book initially caught my eye when I was roaming through the bookstore. (And I'll admit to picking up the book because of the cover, the dress is too cute!) The summary didn't seem so bad and I was in desperate need of a beach read for spring break.

As a senior in college I found the book incredibly relatable.  Close writes about a group of friends attempting to maneuver adult life after college.  While I still haven't entered the workforce, plenty of the characters thoughts and actions reminded me of some conversations with my friends and my own questions for the future.

Not to mention the book is pretty funny.

It takes a little while to follow, but Close has a wry sense of humor that compliments the realities of being an adult. She explores the frightening years where everyone seems to have their lives figured out... at least everyone except you.

Let me be clear: while this may be chick lit, not all the stories in the book have a happy ending.  So if you're someone that enjoys books about rainbows and butterflies this might not be the best read.

But if you're the person that likes a witty and relatable read about the adult world and real relationships, this is for you.

Pick it up if you're looking for a spring break read. Seriously, you won't be sorry.

Next Up: The City of Ember

Friday, February 6, 2015

Fiction Fridays: An Introduction

Photo via Pinterest

Since reading is one of my passions, I decided to dedicate a day each week to my favorite books.  Every weekend I try to set aside time to lay in the sun or snuggle under a blanket (depending on the weather) and read a good book.

Fiction Friday's are a blogging idea that came from the lovely Chloe Parr (a fellow avid reader and one of my favorite style inspirations), which will feature the latest book I've been coveting off my extensive reading list.

Currently my list is totaling around 470 books (and open to suggestions). 

This list is never-ending.  For each book I finish it seems that three more will take it's place.  But, so is the life of your typical book-lover.

Thinking about the reading ahead of me, I can't help but to mention this favorite little quote of mine from the much loved George R. R. Martin: "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.  The man who never reads lives only one."

Next Up: Girls in White Dresses


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology 2015, West Palm Beach FL

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to present my summer research at SICB.

SICB is the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.  The annual conference is one of the largest research conferences in the field.  My research supervisor had recommended that I attend and present a poster.

The conference started on Sunday, so I flew out early Saturday morning.  As a word of advice, once you commit to attending a conference immediately book your flights.  I had looked at some online but decided to wait and just two days later the cost went up by 40 dollars! Crazy.

Bright and early Saturday morning I flew to West Palm Beach and checked into my hotel around noon.  The conference had taken care of my lodging and I was able to stay at the most gorgeous Embassy Suites hotel.

There was complementary breakfast (and happy hour), and the rooms were huge!

Since the conference wasn't starting until the next day, I spent most of my time by the poolside.  Coming from the freezing cold in New England, the weather was absolutely perfect.

Later on I met up with some friends to explore the area.  There was a shopping center called City Place that was pretty close to our hotel, so we walked around and grabbed a nice dinner.

The next day (Sunday), I checked into the conference and printed my badge so I could attend some sessions.  There were constant presentations and talks occurring throughout the day, spanning a broad array of topics.

Luckily enough I downloaded an app for my phone that gave a list of all the abstracts and helped you create a daily schedule. It was a lifesaver!

Monday was when I was scheduled to present my poster.  I stood by my poster for a few hours and got to meet so many great people! I was able to talk about my research, speak to people conducting similar research, and even had time to explore other projects.

I promise there were plenty more people... I took this practicing before the session started.
The rest of the afternoon held more sessions and poster discussions.  That evening I met up with my research partners for dinner and drinks. It was a great group of people and we could have talked through the whole night.  It's weird to know we're all heading different ways, but I hope we'll have the chance to meet again at another conference in the future.

The next day (Tuesday) my research partners and I decided to explore the beaches and more tourist-y areas.  One of my partners lived near the area and drove us around to her favorite places.

It was so relaxing to just laze about together (and I definitely missed sticking my toes in the sand when I was home).  We had a great time roaming the beach and exploring some of the more ritzy neighborhoods. (Honestly, some houses looked straight out of Gossip Girl!)

Unfortunately Wednesday was my last day in West Palm Beach.  I packed up all my things and headed back to the airport fairly early that morning.

... but I managed to sneak one last visit to the beach!

All in all, SICB was a fantastic trip.  I am so incredibly grateful I was granted the opportunity to go and present my research.  It is so inspiring to meet everyone in the field and see the outstanding work people have done.

Oh, also - on my first day in Florida I found this little guy climbing a tree.  It's a curly tailed lizard! 

I think they're so cute.

If you have any questions about my research, or even about doing research as an undergraduate feel free to ask! It's one of my favorite things to talk about!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

All I Want for Christmas

Considering my surgery will have me couch-ridden for a couple days, I thought I'd take the time to share some items that I've found myself wishing for come Christmas.

(And for those of you who are shopping last minute, maybe this can inspire some gift ideas for the upcoming holiday.)

I've had my eye on this jacket for years. The faux leather is made so well you wouldn't be able to tell that it's fake, and the edgy structure and design of the jacket is gorgeous.
($98, Nordstrom)

My recent obsession has been layering simple jewelry, and Dogeared has so many simple and beautiful designs that would look amazing dressed up or down.
($50, Dogeared)

Personally, I'm interested in the new Travel Size options.  I haven't had the chance to personally test the product, but I've heard rave reviews and would love to try out a bold red lip.
($10, Sephora)

As your typical 90's child, I am so unbelievably happy that skorts have been making a comeback.  (Party in the front, business in the back anyone?) I think the style of this one in particular would be great for a night out.
($68, Topshop)

I have a love affair with small, black bags.  This one in particular is the perfect size to hold all necessities, while maintaining a structured and stylish appearance perfect for the night out.
($175, Nordstrom)

The constant struggle with my iPhone has always been it's battery life.  It can't seem to last a day without putting out (and always when you need it most). Case and point, portable chargers are a lifesaver - and this one is so gosh darn cute too.
($30, Nordstrom)

7. MAC Cosmetics 'Syrup' Lipstick
Let's face it, I'm addicted to MAC lip products.  Honestly they are consistently some of the best, reasonably-priced products out there.  I find that this shade in particular goes well with most everyday wear, and just adds that bit of sheen to your lips that can tie together a look.
($15, MAC Cosmetics)

8. Juicy Couture 'Livia' Ankle Boots
Another addiction of mine: black, heeled ankle booties.  This pair I stumbled across a couple months ago and have been waiting for the right price deduction to purchase (because, in case it needs reminding, I'm on a college budget here).  A girl can never have enough shoes and the high heel combined with the structured gold details give this bootie the perfect look to wear on a night out.
($50, Kohl's)

9. Hunter Original High Gloss Boot
I have had my eye on these boots since freshman year (because let's be honest, the first necessity when moving to college is a solid rain boot purchase).  I had opted for something less pricey, but my eye has been on these little lovelies ever since.  Burgundy is one of my favorite colors of the season, and I think it could add just the right pop of color on a cold rainy day.
($99,  Nordstrom)
Note: Unfortunately right as I posted this these beauties sold out, but never fear! A quick peruse of the internet will offer you plenty more options to buy.

What would you like to receive this Christmas? Or even better, what are you excited about giving?



Friday, December 19, 2014


While I was in Turkey this summer I noticed a weird soreness in the back of my mouth.  It was strange to me, mainly because it was hard to classify the feeling; it seemed somewhere between sore and pain; but definitely an annoyance.

The feeling would come and go, but the most certain thing I could understand is I felt a strange necessity to teeth. So when I was given a break during research, I had a call made to my dentist to assess what was happening. He scheduled an x-ray to look into what could be happening.

As it turns out, my wisdom teeth were coming in... and they were not coming in nicely.

Now fast-forward 5 months later, I am bound to the couch with an endless supply of ibuprofen thanks to having the little monsters removed yesterday.

So to answer some of the questions and advice that I never asked for, but should have:

Is there pain?
This is different for everyone. Personally my mouth has just been terribly sore, but definitely not strong enough to use any of the harder prescriptions my surgeon gave me. 

I think the second day is definitely the worse. The first day passes by quickly enough (I slept pretty much the whole day), but the second day is when you experience some residual soreness that might necessitate ibuprofen.

Eat everything hard, solid, and crunchy that you could want the week before surgery.
Clearly I didn't think far ahead, but ever since I've been sitting on this couch all I can think about is eating through a bag of Tostitos. (A big no-no, in case you were wondering).  Since for at least 3-4 days post-surgery you won't be able to eat anything that requires much chewing, you'll need to stock up on anything you might crave.

Stock up on soft foods.
Apple sauce, yogurt, pudding, mashed potatoes, and ice cream.  These five foods will be the only staples of your diet for a couple days, so be sure to stock up your fridge with them.

Drink lots of fluids.
Swallowing is pretty weird for the first couple hours (same with eating), but the only sure way to a quick recovery would be to make sure you're still receiving nutrients.  Make sure you stay true to timed water consumption and attempt to eat yogurt and other soft foods.

Personally, my surgery went by without a hitch.  I had probably everything they could offer me anesthetically during the procedure, which means I was out like a light and woke up with no wisdom teeth and only very slight pain.  They gave me a small dose of Vicodin before the procedure, a bit of laughing gas immediately before the procedure, followed by an IV that knocked me out within the first 30 seconds of it's injection.

All in all, wisdom teeth removal is something that should not be stressed over.  The procedure itself is something that you honestly will have no recollection of, and the post-procedure really is more of an annoyance than anything truly painful. 

(Oh, and no worries. You'll inevitably look like a chipmunk for about 24 hours post-procedure. Embrace it.)

Do you have any questions for your own procedure? Or any advice for others if you've already had yours removed?


Friday, December 12, 2014

Flashback: Ayvalik

Before we reached our destination, Bursa, our group was scheduled to pay a visit to Lesvos, Greece in order to research a series of flora found on the island.

In an unexpected turn of events, the ferry that was supposed to bring us to the island was running a couple days late. (This is a common occurrence when traveling from this area to the islands, if you are planning on a certain boat ride be sure to have cash handy in case this happens.)

So, we were left to stay and explore the beautiful city of Ayvalik for a span of two days.

It always amazes me how small some of the streets can be.
We took a small boat over to another portion of the city (it seemed much better than walking).
Stray cats could be found lounging literally everywhere around the city.

It never ceased to amaze me just how friendly everyone I encountered in Turkey was.  Honestly, people would go above and beyond just to help you find your way somewhere or to give you a sample of what they were cooking.

We stayed at a small bed and breakfast located just a block from the coast, and the hospitality of the owners was absolutely outstanding. He even went so far as to spend the day giving us a personal tour of Ayvalik while his wife cooked us dinner.

It was very clear when exploring that the small port town had a strong European influence (thanks to the close proximity to Greece), and as such a majority of the buildings were constructed to European architectural ideals. This in no way takes away from the setting, it simply adds an interesting flair in association with the recent outcropping of Turkish design.

Overall the city was absolutely gorgeous and will remain one of the highlights of my trip.

(I will mention that if you're traveling in the summer, expect it to be hot. When we were walking through a tour of the city it had to be at least 98 degrees, so be prepared and bring a hat or proper sun protection.)


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