and with that...

I'm tired of Blogger and I'm moving to wordpress. You can find me there!!

janieliz19.wordpress.com - check it out ;)

oh hi there.

i'm back!

school is back up and running in full swing, and i've gotta say, it's very weird - but not bad, good, just weird - to be on this side of it. this is the first year since i went to preschool that i'm not a student, and i'm still adjusting to the change in how i see myself. i'm not a student anymore! i have a real job! actually, i have four! (yes, four. my real jobs don't pay well.) it'll hit me at the weirdest times, like driving home and sitting in traffic, just like i have for the past 5 years. it's even weirder because i'm teaching at the same university where i did grad school. i have my own office now, but it's in the same place where i squatted (aka, not my office, but the one where i spent all of my time) for the past few years. it's definitely interesting.

so far, i like it. i am still getting a handle on how to time manage it all, though it's wonderful to not constantly feel like there's some unknown amount of work to do hanging over my head. not that i don't have work to do, but it's my work, and i'm the one setting the deadlines for the most part. i'm a huge fan so far. i like having students, and i like how different the two schools are from each other. i like still seeing the kids i babysit for, and i even don't mind being at the bookstore - that's the only place where i can be less professional! it's fun, for now, though i'd imagine eventually i'll get tired.

as part of this new time management and money management system (we are currently paying for a wedding, after all!) i actually made a meal plan and a grocery list and went shopping for the week on sunday. so far it's working ok, but it's only day 3 and we are already straying from the plan. i don't care about that, though, so long as we aren't going out to eat or getting take out! i took out a bunch of cookbooks from the library, and bought a couple at the Borders going-out-of-business sale, and i'm welcoming other ideas...anyone have any?

in other news, wedding planning is flying along, and i can't believe that this past weekend was 6 months out. it's insanity. i'm also running my first half marathon on saturday, and no, i am probably not prepared. but it's too late for that now. so i'm thinking it'll be fun, it'll be pretty fall New England on the north shore, and i'll finish - and that's all i care about.

so this is long, but it's mostly just a "oh hi! I'm back!" and hopefully i'll be around more now :)


as requested: book reviews! (#1)

Since I've been reading a lot for fun instead of for school, and those who responded said they'd like to see reviews of what I've been reading... I have some reviews for you!

Let's start with the most mindless books I've been reading....

1. The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris
thanks for the image, amazon
Yes, the books that True Blood is based on, because I can't get enough of that show. Particularly of Eric. Especially new, sweet Eric. Love :) Anyway, the books are supremely entertaining, and so far are similar to the show but not identical, so it's not boring to read them. Quick reads though. I mean, clearly, this is not fancy-pants literature, but it is fun and it's summer, so they're definitely good for reading by the pool or on a beach (or even in your living room, if you're me). I've read the first three so far and have the next two all set to take to Florida on Friday!

2. Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
also from Amazon
Yes, while I was at it, I started reading the Dexter books in preparation for everyone's favorite serial killer returning to tv shortly!!! no, in all seriousness, I really love both the show Dexter and by association, Michael C. Hall, who plays him. He's adorable. The first Dexter book is close to the first season of the show but not identical, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well written it was! The show takes the screwed up aspects of the book down a notch, and due to my (screwed up?) fascination with that stuff, I loved the book! Looking forward to reading the rest.

So there you have it...the first installment of my fancy book reviews (hey, looks like this Ph.D. is good for something after all!) I promise next time I'll tell you all about books that are slightly more intellectual and less of a beach read than these :) I updated my A-Z Reading Challenge page with all the books I've been reading, so if there are any you'd like to hear about feel free to make a request!

found on a blog called "a quirky girl" - she also has a polka dot background and loves shark week. maybe we should be friends!

who else is as excited as I am?!?!
(probably no one)


Engagement Photos are here!

Actually, we've had them for a while, but we have the entire set of our engagement photos now:)
Help us pick favorites if you'd like! (Click on the picture to view them)

Engagement Pictures!


Five Friday Favorites: 1

Since someone is back to blogging (hi!) and posted Five Friday Favorites, I liked it and decided to steal her idea:) So without further delay, my Five Friday Favorites this week are...

1) Reading. 
As in, for fun.
Since I defended a month ago, I've been reading a lot. I was thinking about reviewing some of the books I read on this blog - thoughts? Anyone interested in that? Recent reads include The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, two of the Sookie Stackhouse books, and Carrots N' Cake.

2. True Blood.
Eric. Amazing. photo credit

Related, I've been reading the Sookie Stackhouse books AND watching True Blood in preparation for the new season starting! I am so. freaking. excited. Who else watches True Blood? If not, you should start. Even aside from the entertaining nature of the show itself, there are some very hot men present. Just saying. I'm on Team Eric at this point.

3) Our CSA.
We started getting our CSA "boxes" (we actually load up reusable bags) from First Root Farm. So far, we have gotten SO much lettuce, all different kinds (yum, arugula, and looking forward to making kale), as well as radishes, turnips, one head of broccoli (not anywhere near enough for me, I eat broccoli like it's my job), and this week a vegetable that legitimately looks like an octopus. It's fun to try new things!

4) my new iPad.
Seriously, I'm obsessed with it. It's bad.

5) Engagement pictures sneak peek!
We got the teaser for our engagement pictures from our wonderful photographer and they are FANTASTIC! made my week. (Seriously, on the off chance that anyone in the Boston area needs a photographer - check him out.)

What were your Five Friday Favorites this week? Anything exciting to share? Fun weekend plans, etc.? :) 


April recap: between weddings

The morning after Lindsay and Joe's wedding, Chris, MegD and I left fairly early to make the drive back to MA so Meg could fly back to Chicago. Drive was uneventful, we ate some Cheetos, and Meg had to go home :( Chris and I went back to our apartment and basically crashed - especially me - I think I slept for a couple of hours!

The next day was Marathon Monday (which, if you are unaware, is better than Christmas :) ) Margo and I met up early and got Starbucks and did some bridesmaid recapping, because she was a bridesmaid that weekend as well, and then watched the wheelchairs and then the elite runners running by in Washington Square. 

We met up with more friends - Carla and Matt, and then eventually found Bobby and his very drunk brother. By far the highlight of my day was when Rob went by - I had been tracking him on my phone all morning, so we camped out until we saw him, and he saw us too! He's speedy so it wasn't too crowded when he went by, plus we knew what he was wearing :)

We spent most of the day at American Craft, which I really liked, plus it was warm enough to have the windows open to the street. After a while my other friend Matt and his friend from home met us, and we took the T down into Boston so that I could meet Chris, Jess, and Rob to get a drink and congratulate Rob on his successful marathon and on qualifying for Boston again!

At that point, the three of us took the worst T ride I have ever taken. We were stuck between Kenmore and Hynes for at least 20 minutes. Two T workers used their keys to open the doors and walked out into the tunnels, and a BC kid across from us said he'd pay them to take him with them to a bathroom. We ended up playing charades with complete strangers. It was absurd.

After the T ride from hell, we got to see my favorite Atlanta residents for a very brief visit, and then we went home to Arlington again, via Brookline where I parked my car. All in all, a successful marathon Monday.

Goals? Nah.

I had originally logged in to post some June goals, but I realized that I am not in the least interested in posting goals this month. After a very long semester, the last thing I want to do is give myself any assignments, so my number one goal for this month is to catch up on everything I've been missing. Blog catchup, cleaning catchup, job applying catchup, exercising and cooking and generally taking care of myself....all valid.

I am semi-participating in the Virtual Summer Retreat hosted by the lovely Sarah:
Her blog is one of my top five for sure, and has been for as long as I've been reading it, so I was excited to get even more posts from her for the retreat :) So far, I've been reading the extra posts and making some effort to incorporate things - for instance, the first day you were supposed to do something simple to take better care of yourself, and I focused on drinking more water (something I should be doing anyway, especially since it was one of my New Year's resolutions - speaking of, ugh) - and actually Sarah chose the same :)
I am definitely thinking about the things she posts and reading her links, and I think it's affecting the choices that I make on a daily basis, but I'm not necessarily doing the assignments (see above, where I mention that anything containing "deadlines" is making me twitchy.)

So anyway, while I do have some things in mind for this month (for example: get on those New Year's resolutions, read, relax, run well in my two races, and at the moment, do my toenails because they have that space at the bottom that happens when your pedicure grows out), I refuse to write them down as goals.

Anyone else have any goals this month- formal or otherwise?


Weekend in Review

Hello friends :) This probably should have been posted this morning, but instead, I played online and went grocery shopping. And watched old Grey's episodes on Lifetime...and cooked dinner. Good excuses......right? Now Stan's over and the boys are watching The Other Guys, and I'm blogging because while this movie is fun, it's not intellectually challenging ;)

ANYWAY - we had a very fun weekend up here in MA. Saturday morning, we got our engagement pictures taken!! Super exciting. It was kind of cold, but it was super sunny and beautiful out. We went to Lynch Park, where we probably would have gotten married if we had chosen to wait until the summer. Chris grew up going to camp there and then lifeguarding there, so he knew about it, and it's a beautiful spot. I'm really excited to get our pictures - our photographer is really fun, and I love all the stuff on his website - it'll be cool to see what he gets from us!

After we did pictures, we got amazing breakfast at a diner in Beverly and then went to see First Class (the new X-Men movie). I grew up watching the X-Men cartoon, it was my favorite - to the extent that when I went to sleepaway camp, my brother used to tape it for me! The movie. was. awesome. I really, really loved it. Highly recommended :) Afterwards we got P.F. Chang's takeout, I spent a fortune on tea at Teavana, and we came home and relaxed.

Yesterday, I went for a run in the sunshine and explored (yes, we've lived in Arlington for almost two years and I still explore....) I ran until my iPhone died so I had no more music, and then I ran home. I think that section of the run may be the first time I've run without headphones since high school! For lunch, we went to Fajita's and Ritas with a bunch of Brandeis friends for our friend Matt's birthday. Sunday afternoon margaritas and Mexican food, followed by sitting in Boston Common in the sunshine? works for me :)

How were your weekends? Anything exciting happen?


April recap: Lindsay and Joe's wedding!

OK, going way back to right after I handed in another draft of my dissertation and picked MegD up from the airport....

Lindsay and Joey got married! :) (yes, Linds, I linked to you even though you haven't blogged in a year. It'll be summer soon. You'll be back ;) )

Even though I tried to finish my paper the night before, I ended up emailing it in on Friday morning before Megan and I left for Connecticut (fun fact: I love how you spell that so I like to type it out:) ) After a quick stop at Dunks and Trader Joe's for snacks, the drive was easy. I did really anger one gentleman driver by not going more than 5 over the speed limit right by Lindsay's house, but that was basically the only issue. After we got there, we just hung out at the house until it was time for the rehearsal and dinner.
Meg and I at the rehearsal, stolen from Lindsay's mom (thanks Robin!)
 The rehearsal started a little late, so dinner afterwards started even later, but it was delicious :) The restaurant was amazing about making me food I could eat (hurray for gluten free pasta!), the wine was good, and our bridesmaid's gifts were super cute. After dinner, we all went back to Lindsay's house for essentially a big sleepover.

The next morning, we got up bright and early to get our nails done (and drink champagne, clearly), then go back to Lindsay's for our cars, drive to the hotel and check in, get ready, and go back to Lindsay's to head to the wedding! After solving a minor disaster (aka, the sash on my dress being far too short... Melissa and her kit to the rescue!) it was time to head to the venue. Lisa (bravely) drove the giant SUV, and we got there at the same time as the boys did by accident, so they had to hide while we got the bride inside. Then it was time for pictures and champagne in the bridal area, and then... the wedding and reception!
goofy, again from Robin
right before the first dance, stolen from Ellen I believe
After the wedding ceremony, we did some more photos and then went to join the rest of the crowd at the cocktail hour and reception. We had a great table full of our BU friends, and there was lots of yummy food, dancing, and photo taking before the bus ride back to the hotel. At that point, I crashed after a very long day, and we drove back home in the morning. It was a very pretty wedding and I was very excited to be a part of it :)

I'll leave you with a couple more photos, all stolen from AJ:)

oh hi, I'm back :)


I accidentally disappeared.


But I'm back now!

To be honest, after I did my dissertation defense, there was no way I felt like blogging or doing much of anything. I defended, went to a birthday party, worked the entire next week, got sick, ran 2 races in 4 days, did a graduation weekend, and went back to Arizona for Chris's cousin's wedding and to see my friends/family. Whirlwind! We got back Sunday night, celebrated Chris's birthday on Monday, and yesterday was the first day I was just home. (I wasn't supposed to be, but I unexpectedly didn't even have to babysit!) Last night, I went to the Red Sox game with Margo and Erin, and then today I should be being productive....but so far, I've been playing with my new iPad (yay graduation gift! it came yesterday!) and watching TV (Easy A came on...how could I resist?)

But now I'm back. And the blog is back! Get excited. Lots of recaps from mid April on are on the way....

For now, I leave you with this picture from the Sox game last night. In case you were wondering, they played the Chicago White Sox and they lost - though they apparently made a valiant effort in the end (not gonna lie, left during the 8th inning). So much for my one game this year. And there was a BALLOON on the field. Seriously? At least beforehand we stopped at Cornwalls (cider + portobello mushroom salad = yum).

see that big spot? a balloon!


5 years in the making.

I can't even believe it, but yesterday I gave a presentation much like lots of other presentations I've given in the last five years (though it was MUCH longer, seriously, just over 2 hours). And this time, after I was done, they gave me a Ph.D.!

I went to the same post-defense celebration in the conference room that we always have, but this time it was for me. So surreal. I'm sure it will sink in more soon, but for now I'm just kind of sleepy! It was great to have so many people come yesterday, both to the defense and to hang out after. Pictures (the few I have) to follow, but for now I'm watching a movie and then going to a birthday party, neither of which involve me actually uploading pictures from my camera :)

Be excited - now I'll be back to blogging! and reading and commenting on blogs! and reading books FOR FUN! (side note, somebody asked me yesterday what I was the most excited for, and I seriously said reading for fun. I'm such a nerd.) And I'm DOUBLY excited that next weekend my family is coming, and I'm walking at graduation with my friends.

Oh, and if you want to call me Dr. Jane now, that's totally cool :) it's not jinxing it anymore!!

and ps, I need to change the header on my blog. I'm not a graduate student anymore really (well definitely not past August, when I officially get my degree). Any ideas for what to use instead?


The slowest guy ever.

I owe whoever is still reading this some awesome wedding recap posts (2 in fact!) but before I do that, checking in from my phone with this quick story.

Earlier it was really sunny but it was supposed to start raining, so Chris left on his motorcycle to get it inspected and I eventually convinced myself to go on a run. I did this by running into Arlington with my Dunkin Donuts card and library card on me so I could go to the library and then get iced coffee. Perfect plan, right? Well while I was out, the clouds started rolling in.... I gave up on the library seeing as I had no bag for my books if it did indeed rain, and just went to Dunks. Where I encountered.... The slowest guy ever.

The line was already long, and there was this group of middle school girls there decked out in full 80s gear (not sure what that was about), and the guy in front of me was with his wife and 2 kids. It literally took him over 5 minutes to order, and then he kept changing it! Adding and subtracting bagels, changing coffee types, etc. The girl behind the counter was trying not to laugh, so it wasn't just me. And to top it off, the entire time I'm looking out the window as the sky is getting darker and darker... If you've seen Love Actually, where he's trying to buy a gift from Mr. Bean at the jewelry counter- it was just like that.

I made it home after it started sprinkling but before any serious rain. Chris isn't here yet though, and I hear thunder.... Guess he'll be drenched when he gets here!


check it out:)

Just a quick note, because I'm trying to finish up some dissertation revisions and turn them in this evening so I can pick up MegD very late tonight and head out for Lindsay's wedding weekend tomorrow with NO WORK to do (!!) but check it out:

I replied to Heather (@HangryPants) on twitter about hidden gluten in food and now I'm on her blog today! (I'm @janieliz19, in case you didn't know. And if you didn't, you should follow me on twitter. I'm not necessarily insightful but I do share interesting tidbits from time to time.)

Heather's blog (Hangry Pants) is awesome, so you should check it out anyway. Particularly due to the word "hangry" Genius!

PS: it's SPRING BREAK at Brandeis! last spring break ever as a student.


I missed it!

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of when I started my blog.
I even looked it up and noticed ahead of time!
And then, yesterday... I forgot to post.

SO, this is the happy one-year-and-one-day anniversary to this little corner of the Internet!!

and obviously, keep living every week like it's shark week.

(on a somewhat related note - if you didn't catch the Mythbusters on the Colbert Report the other night, you should definitely check it out!!!)


adventures with gizzy

I spent most of my weekend in a hotel by Logan Airport doing interviews as part of my committee work for something I'm doing at Brandeis. It's been a really interesting process, and I feel like I've learned a lot that I may be able to use in the interview process as I apply for jobs - but let's be honest, it doesn't make good blog post content. I got to have dinner with Ang (and her brother and Chris) last night (!) and then we had an impromptu sleepover, but I didn't take any pictures.

So instead, because I haven't yet, I bring you...our adventures with Gizzy!
in case you don't know, Gizzy (like Gizmo the gremlin) is Chris's parents' dog, but we babysit for her sometimes, like we did a couple of weeks ago for 10 days.

it's Gizzy!

We gave her a bath

Chris put on his wolf suit (thanks for sending those, Rach...) and Giz was intrigued

then they played

She also came to babysit with me and played with Penny

Oh, and this is what she did to my sunglasses while I was in the shower. She ripped the arm off. Little brat.



Inspired by Cheryl, and because I too am UNBELIEVABLY excited for Anna and Ben's wedding weekend (which begins for me in 21 days!! 3 weeks!! but who's counting) and reuniting with my favorite deltas, I started looking at pictures. And while Cheryl's post gave us classy wedding pictures, I give you pictures over the years.....

AJ and Joe's rehearsal dinner, summer 2009

the night before Cheryl and Ross's wedding, October 2009

sitting in AJ's backyard last summer (2010)

Jess and Rob's wedding (2010)

BU Pub, probably 2007?

definitely 2007.

I believe this was in NYC, summer 2007

Anna's birthday in D.C., 2008?

Boston, 2008

also in D.C.

Val and Kristin's, I think it's Emal's bday weekend 2007

formal, when I was "chaperone" (so 2007)

Barbados!!! 2006

And finally, with Ben on the very bar crawl where he and Anna started dating, 2007


Blogging on my phone?

I found a free app that would let me blog straight from my iPhone so I decided to try it and see what I think. There's a paid version/upgrade too, if I wanted to get fancy...

Not a lot to share here that I'm willing to share here on the interwebs. I turn in what is hopefully the final final draft of my dissertation tomorrow afternoon (hurray for a short extension!) I feel pretty confident about it, but if they approve it I'm defending in a WEEK from today. Yes, one week. That came up quick.

Other than that, lots of meetings and grading and a Brandeis presidential inauguration (the new president kissed me on the cheek!) Thinking about the wedding, but no real planning. Happy that I planned ahead for this by doing several things early. Excited about the 2 weddings happening later this month, especially the trip to SC where I'll be reunited with so many of my loves :) It snowed on April Fools Day, which was not amusing in the slightest. Ran a 5 mile race on Sunday and did well for me. Ready for more. I think
I'm addicted (I blame Margo)(even though Anna is the one that made us do the 10K). Looking at fall half marathons to do pre-Disney.... crazy? Maybe.

So those are the not-so-exciting things happening in this corner of the world. Oh, and we babysat Gizzy the pup again last week. Hilarious photos to follow from my real laptop.

E.T. is on, so I'm going to watch it/go to sleep. (side note- when I was little, I thought ET threw me out of bed when I was sleeping! I was so scared of him I used to hide the stuffed one my mom bought.)

Night all!

P.S. Margo--- start a blog!!!!
(this is only the beginning of my campaign)


New desk!

Remember when Jess tried to put furniture together because what if she wasn't married and didn't have Rob to do it for her?

Jess, I thought of you today, because I did something similar:)

I decided it was time to buy a desk a few days ago. I was stalking them online, but hadn't decided for sure yet, and then I was at Target earlier and I found a desk that I liked! And it was on sale! So I decided to get it. I debated for a few minutes going back with Chris, because he'd have an easier time getting it into the cart, from the cart into the car, into the apartment... but then I thought "Jane, that's ridiculous. You lived alone for a year and a half! And you and AJ are masters of putting together furniture, you put together all sorts of furniture at 14A, you can do it!" (side note --- yes, AJ, I linked to your blog that you last updated in October. It's cool, you have a baby.)

I got that desk (and a cute lampshade for my old lamp from college to put on top, and a yummy candle) into the cart with some assistance from a Target worker, but then got it into my trunk and into my house alone. I also built it, and now it's sitting in our dining room all cute with my new lamp and candle on it. I haven't put anything in it yet, but that's in case we need to move it around the apartment. 

but yes.. I have a new desk! and I built it all by myself!

Alright, that's enough procrastinating. I built a desk, I'm sitting here in running clothes so I can go to the gym for the first time in a week, and then I need to come back and get back to dissertation revisions. Again. 

At least I can sit at my cute new desk:)



This'll be a quick one, but just wanted to share that........


At this time next year, we'll be married already, post-cocktail hour, and at the beginning of the reception.

That's all for now, since the weather is gorgeous and I'm going to head outside while I can.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!:)


brief updates

  • I updated the Running tab at the top if you'd like to check it out:)
  • I also updated my A-Z Reading Challenge list. I'm not quite where I should be to read 52 new books this year, but after March 21 I won't be writing my dissertation anymore, and that's gotta help with the amount of time available to read.

If you are reading this soon after posting, I am running a 5K right now!! 
Check back later to see how it went.

new blog to check out: The wonderful Am has a new gluten free Boston blog! Go see it!

fun fact of the day: I really, really HATE this part of Daylight Savings. I love that it's light out after I get home, so I can run outside, or Chris and I can go for walks, and it's just easier to do anything after a day out of the house. But I HATE jumping the clocks forward an hour. Blah.

hope you are all enjoying your Sunday morning/early afternoons!
fun fact #2: even though it's been years since I've had sorority meetings on Sundays, I still feel like free Sunday afternoons and evenings are a treat. Guess 3.5 years of weekly meetings stick with you.
.... but I'd trade a free Sunday for getting to see everyone! Good thing someone's wedding will be here soon.


things I've always wanted to do #2 - CSA

Ever since I figured out that I can't eat wheat without feeling horribly sick/exhausted/foggy/itchy/etc, I've been much more aware of what I am eating. I read labels. I cook a lot more of my own food. I can't eat gummy bears anymore. I don't eat fast food. I try to go to restaurants with local ingredients. And last summer, I became really interested in joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), where you pick up a box of produce at a farm near you every week for a set period of time. That way, you're supporting the farm, you are eating local, and you get to try crazy new vegetables!! (at least, I think you do).

This year, I took the plunge. Initially, I wasn't sure that Chris would go for it, but then I realized that I pay for our groceries and am in charge of that part of the expenses, so I didn't think he'd mind. I paid up front for a 20 week share at First Root Farm which is close by in Concord. I'm really excited!

It won't start until June, but at that point, be expecting lots of questions about "how am I supposed to use ALL OF THIS (insert random ingredient here)??" and other things like that.

Anyone else trying a CSA this year?


I'm such a cool kid.

Why am I so cool, do you ask?

Right now, I'm sitting up in my bed with my feet under the covers writing this blog post.

Say Yes to the Dress is on the TV. Third episode in a row. Do I already have a wedding dress? why yes, yes I do. Did I ever watch this show before I got a wedding dress? Yes, once. When Anna was visiting right after I got engaged. (Fun fact: that was also the night that a series of Say Yes to the Dress episodes was followed by a Lifetime movie about being left at the altar. We turned that shit off promptly.) Now, however, I watch Say Yes to the Dress all.the.freaking.time.

I don't even understand why - I think it's ridiculous! I don't even enjoy it in a "ooh, look at the pretty dress" way. Most of the dresses are very not my style, even if they're pretty, and to be honest the ones with the see-through portions sort of freak me out. The fact that even the "budget" brides on this show have a wedding dress budget that is three to five times my wedding dress budget also freaks me out. Honestly, I set my budget before we even set a wedding budget. I just couldn't bring myself to spend that much on a dress that I'm going to wear for a day (or maybe two, if we do a trash-the-dress-type shoot afterward, which we are seriously considering. Anyone done one of those before?) Some of these dresses cost over TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. And I just saw one that cost NINETEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. 

I'm not even sure where to go after that.

I hope that others are also having an enjoyable Friday night, though I totally understand if your Friday night includes things like going out in public rather than sitting in bed in your PJs watching TLC, drinking white wine, and eating some white chocolate chips from the freezer out of the bag.
**(In my defense, I could have gone out to meet Chris and his brother and Chris's online gaming friends after they were at PAXeast. Which is a gaming convention. ....not sure how I thought that would be considered cooler than what I'm doing now).


Wasn't I supposed to be updating this thing more? Oops. Hasn't been happening, clearly. I blame my schoolwork - though reading other people's blogs when I do have free time also does not update my blog.
I promise to do better! :)

Updates: February Goals recap -- OH WAIT, I didn't actually post any. I had them, mentally, though. They included keeping up with my New Year's Resolutions, having fun at Anna's Boston-based shower and bachelorette party (and getting to hang out with her for a weekend, double win), planning and attending my last GSA Ski Trip, oh and doing all of the statistics for my dissertation (that little thing). The party was fun, the ski trip was a blast, my stats got done after a TON of drama that I will not be sharing here (though I will share over email with interested parties. I'll try to write posts about the other stuff though.) I read a couple of books and am almost done with a couple more. I exercised some of the time, but not as much as I wanted. I didn't always remember to drink water, but when I did I noticed the difference. Sounds...about the same as January.

March Goals -- Keep up with the New Year's Resolutions, have fun running the Ras na Heireann 5K this weekend, and finish my dissertation. (!!!!!) I'm entering a 6 week crunch time of one of the busiest periods of time I've had in recent memory. Taking care of myself and my sanity is a priority. I've updated my CV and been applying to jobs (boo, federal government hiring freeze until October at least). Things are slowly moving along.

How are you all doing? I miss hearing from people!


things I've always wanted to do #1

So, I decided to have a "theme" of sorts for some blog posts - I'm going to write about things I've always wanted to do (well, for over a year) that I am finally doing!

#1 - Join the Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

When I was in 3rd grade, my dad had leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. It's really hard to find matches for these transplants, especially if no one in your family is a match and you have to go to the national registry. Even though he passed away afterward, it wasn't because the transplant itself was unsuccessful - it was because the anti-rejection drugs lowered his immune system to a scary level, and hee got an infection. The transplant worked - and this was in 1992, when they had first started doing them. Now, they are much more common, but it's still difficult to find a match- enter the national registry. I always meant to join it once I turned 18, but it sort of slipped my mind. I got an email about it and now I am signed up!
All you do is sign up here, and they send you a kit to swab the inside of your cheek, and if you're a match they contact you. Pretty cool right?

What have you always wanted/meant to do that you haven't done yet? Want to start now?:)


happy (belated) valentine's day!

ok, so I know a lot of people are not fans of Valentine's Day, but I have a confession....
I have ALWAYS loved Valentine's Day.

This may be because I mostly associate it with yummy candy. As a kid, my mom always got us holiday-theme candy, and I loved the Valentine's Day ones. As we got a little older, she also got us little gifts (the most memorable being when she got me MAKEUP of my VERY OWN. I think I was 10 or 11? And, it was Jane brand - so it even had my name. Amazing day.) Once I hit high school, my friends and I always sent each other those kissgram things that had Hershey's kisses attached, so I basically just ate sugar all day. I think I just really like chocolate.

In college, I was in a long-distance relationship for the first half, but we usually did Valentine's Day over President's Day weekend - I remember trying to go for sushi in the Pru, never finding it, and ending up at California Pizza Kitchen one year. When we were studying abroad, we went to Paris for a long weekend - a trip that I wanted to skip because I had to miss class, but was convinced not to by the statement "Your boyfriend wants you to go to Paris. For VALENTINE'S DAY. Shut up and buy the plane tickets." I also got taken to a fancy hotel, complete with secret clues to get there and room service.

Oddly enough, I found those super-romantic Valentine's Day scenes to be completely and totally AWKWARD. I really disliked the whole idea of making a big production out of the holiday. A funnier memory for me is the year that my then-boyfriend cut part of his finger off trying to cut veggies for dinner, and our friend Bob had to trek down the street in the sleet/disgustingness to help us fix it, because we realized the roads were awful and we'd end up sitting in the ER waiting all night while they attended to people who'd been in car accidents and stuff. (PS, if you are reading this Bob, that was AWESOME.) We shared dinner with him in return.

Since Chris and I started dating, we've done the typical Valentine's Day stuff - the first year, he bought my flowers and candy and took me to dinner a few days before, but then we cooked at home on the day. This is because Chris is very traditional, to the extent that he got roses as part of my Valentine's Day flowers that year and said "I know you don't like them. But I wanted them because it's traditional." Last year we did the same thing but Chris got me an orchid that we still have instead, which I love, and it's blooming again now:)

This year, I made brownies and Chris cooked dinner. We watched a movie. He still got me a card and candy because he can't help himself, and I gave him a little kid Valentine. And the best thing? We're going to buy ourselves a programmable coffeemaker :) And you know what? I vastly prefer THIS kind of Valentine's Day to the awkward kind.

Hope everyone had a good day yesterday! Do anything fun?


what would you choose? (credit card rewards style)

Happily, my Bank of America credit cards that have been haunting me for years are PAID OFF (yay!!)
Also happily, they have accrued some points that I can use for rewards. There are a lot of options, and I'm not sure what to pick whenever I finally spend them.

In the running:
  1. Amazon. obviously. But I get those anyway from my day-to-day credit card, since it's an Amazon.com Visa. (Don't judge- I buy EVERYTHING on Amazon. Including groceries.)
  2. Starbucks. I go at least once a week with the 12 year old I babysit for - his request! But that's something that I'll buy myself once a week regardless.
  3. iTunes. I don't like to pirate music. And I have a gLee problem. But again, I tend to buy that anyway.
  4. P.F. Changs - my absolute FAVORITE restaurant. And we are trying to use gift cards for date night so that we can save up for this impending wedding. but, we already have 2 gift cards to other restaurants that we got for Christmas/our engagement (note: not to PFChangs, because we spent all $100 of that already....yeah). 
  5. Sephora. Do I really need a reason?
  6. J.Crew. Again, is a reason needed? I'm doing OK for clothes now, but seriously, it'll get warm eventually and then I'll want new clothes.

Now I just need input - what should I pick?!?


January Goals Recap

I meant to post this yesterday, but after my driving adventures (over 3 hours to school, 1.5 hour meeting, 1.5 hours home) I got a little distracted and spent the time cooking myself lunch instead. Which, by the way, came out pretty well on round 2 (round 1 = failure), but that's another discussion.

So let's see how I did on my January goals!

Even though last month I definitely did not meet all of my goals, I still liked having them, so I'm going to try again for January ---
  • keeping in line with my  New Years Resolutions: 
    • exercise at least 2.5 hours/week.
      • I'd say I got a 50% here - I was really good about exercising half of the time, and the other half of the time I was not. The snow is not totally to blame, but it is hard to stay motivated to go do anything outside when it just.keeps.snowing.
    • read at least 4 books, so that I'm well on my way to 52 in 2011. 
      • 4, no. 3 - yes. 75%?
    • drink water
      • I didn't do very well with this after the first week, but I did notice the difference on days when I was conscious of my water drinking habits. 30%. 
    • take vitamins
      • not.one.time. oops. 0%.
    • start the bedtime routine
      • umm... yeah, no, that didn't happen either. 0%.
    • blog 3x/week (at least) 
      • Not 3x/week - but I did blog 9 times in January, so that's another 75%.
  • update my CV/resume and track down recommendation letters for jobs
    • updated it mentally... didn't write it down. asked people about letters, but didn't actually get any yet. 40%.
  • make a dissertation submission timeline and run it by my whole committee
    • DONE! :) 100%.
  • have a wonderful MLK weekend celebration for Lindsay's shower/bachelorette celebration, and stay within my spending budget while doing so:)
    • I'm going to give myself an 85% here. I did in fact have a fantastic time at the festivities, and I did not go over my personal budget for the event, BUT because we used my credit card for some of the charges and I'm still a little short, in the long run I may go over my budget. But that's OK, because it was really fun - especially the karaoke part!
  • successfully plan most if not all of Anna's bachelorette festivities for February!
    • why yes, in fact, I did do this! I'd say I'm 85% done, which is 100% done with this goal:)
  • organize my recipes: when I saw Katie over last weekend, she gave me an awesome recipe binder instead of a cookbook for an engagement present, and since I absolutely love it I want to start using it. 
    • ....still in the plastic wrap. 0%.
  • finally finish decorating our apartment (mostly meaning pictures) - we've lived here for almost a year a half. it's time. 
    • nope. Didn't even start. 0%.
  • and, perhaps most exciting... I am on track to completely pay off my credit cards in January! since one of them has had a balance since I studied abroad in college (yes, I know that's bad. I paid for everything myself, and I don't exactly make bank as a graduate student. But I reformed and now am much better with money) this is a HUGE deal to me, and something I am looking forward to celebrating!
    • DONE DONE DONE!! Did I celebrate? Nope, unless you count mentally. But I don't care. :) 100%!
So fellow goal setters - how did you all do? Probably better than me, considering I think my average is somewhere around a 50%. But it's OK! It's better than nothing. 


meal planning, part two.

I really appreciated all of the ideas that people gave me about meal planning and recipes and things like that:) I have a ton of recipes that I want to try - it's just getting to actually MAKING them where I have a problem.
I don't think I'm going to go to the level of the dry erase board on the fridge yet (although Cheryl - I almost did it too!) but I am going to try to think harder about what we should have for dinner, and how I can plan ahead to bring lunch with me to school, the weekend before. (bringing lunch is important too, especially for me - gluten free options are never cheap, and if I don't feel like spending $9 on lunch I end up eating string cheese, apple+peanut butter, and chips. And I promise I didn't just do exactly that on Tuesday.)

I think just thinking about trying to meal plan/cook better at home helped, though, because in the past week or so:
  • I made baked potato soup. From scratch. I made up the recipe after reading a few, and it.was.fantastic. That could be because my favorite foods, in no particular order, are potatoes, soup, and cheese, and all three were included!
  • Chris and I made homemade pizza TWICE. Last Friday, we used premade crust, and then last Saturday I made the dough from scratch (well, in my bread machine). The premade one was better. But they were both good:)
  • I've been on an extreme kick of roasting veggies in the oven - probably because it's easy!! Brocolli, potatoes, green peppers, and sweet potatoes so far.
  • I made spaghetti squash! One of those foods I loved when my parents made it, but never made myself. 
  • I went to Russo's and stocked up on veggies and fruit (cheap! delicious!) and plants (a daffodil for our apartment, and a daffodil for my office - well the office where I am usually found - at school). Thinking about making green curry.
  • Went to Jen's on Thursday, and she fed me yummy homemade soup (and hot apple cider with cinnamon and rum...)
On the other hand, I still bought lunch at school 2 out of 4 days (well, "lunch" one of the times), ate frozen breaded chicken w/mozzarella cheese twice, ate a lot of chips (my weakness), ordered Thai food on Sunday night for no good reason except it sounded good.... it wasn't perfect by any means, but it's a start.

I also made it to the gym more than usual. Coincidence?
....or could it all be because I'm avoiding doing my stats work for my dissertation??


adventures on the treadmill.

I've been getting more and more into running lately, but even in all of my years of on-and-off-gym-attendance, I've never been a treadmill fan. I'd much rather run outside (wouldn't everyone?) I enjoy changing scenery. I do not enjoy staring at the little counter on the screen. I can't read on the treadmill - it makes my head hurt. But lately, I've even been enjoying the treadmill because:
  • it tells me exactly how fast I'm going and how far I've gone - makes it a lot easier to convince myself to keep running at a certain speed "for another .2 miles"
  • I can change the speed to amuse myself
  • today, I watched Netflix (Lie to Me! an episode I've already seen, but who cares?)
But here's the best/funniest part about the treadmill...I'm a total klutz when it comes to this machine. I have trouble getting my feet to move at the proper pace (it's good - it's teaching me pacing!) Which is probably why I've always  avoided the treadmill. I've been OK this week, but during the course of this month I've dropped my iPhone not once, but twice. Once to the side (less funny). The other time, my phone fell off the little lip, hit the thing you knock off to make the treadmill stop, hit the treadmill/yanked the headphones off, and went flying off the back of the treadmill. To add to the hilarity, I almost ran into the front of the treadmill because I wasn't expecting the abrupt stop.

Funniest part? NOT ONE PERSON LAUGHED. Seriously? I was laughing. I most definitely would have laughed at someone else.

Honestly, folks... you all would have laughed with me, right? Anyone else as much of a mess as I am?:)


meal planning

For the past couple of years, I keep meaning to start meal planning - organizing what to eat on a given night instead of just "winging" it after I get home. You see, when that happens, I end up either ordering food, or eating whatever is quickest, just as I'm sure many others do. It's not as bad now as it was when I lived alone - then, I regularly ate cheese for dinner. Yes, just cheese. Or hummus and tortilla chips. Or frozen vegetables heated up with salt. I mean, when you live alone it kind of sucks to cook for one person.

Last year, when Chris and I first moved in here, I was really in to using my slowcooker and I made us food every night. Then....well, life happened. Usually now, I cook something one night a week, we make something easy a few nights a week (for example, taquitos from Trader Joes), and we end up giving in and getting takeout sometimes. No organization. No real regard for nutrition (though we don't have much in the house that's terrible for you). It's time for a change.

So now, friends, I have a question for you all: does anyone have any idea how I do this? What's the best way to plan ahead when you are exhausted, working a lot, and just plain don't have the mental capacity to think of creative food???


hold yourself accountable.

hey guys, did you know it snowed here yesterday? a lot? 
don't worry, I have pictures. I'll post them later.

This week's video from The 2011 Happiness Project Challenge instructs you to Hold Yourself Accountable- for your resolutions.

For me, that's easy. That's something that we're already doing, because we use our kitchen calendar as a star chart for exercising!!! we win!
(As a side note - I had to go to a teaching supply store to find star stickers - I couldn't believe it.)

I also think that writing about my resolutions here is helping me keep them. Someone actually asked me about my reading resolution yesterday - I didn't even know he read my blog! (HI STEFAN!)

Any other ideas for how to hold yourself accountable for your resolutions? What do you all do for yours?


hurray, I read a book!

(also, I love lists.)

 thanks to google for all my images. particularly the one of "the list" from LOST. I really miss that show!

this week I:
  • finished my first book of my reading challenge. starting #2 tonight!
  • exercised for my goal time of 2.5 hours this week
  • worked at the Brandeis bookstore, unpacking boxes of textbooks, for HOURS
  • stayed home sick on Monday
  • drank more water, at least 2 Nalgenes full (except for today. I'm trying to catch up)
  • got to see my cousins! One in town from Chicago for work, the other came down from Maine. I hadn't seen the one from Chicago in THREE YEARS. It was fantastic:)
  • went to a cocktail+appetizers party in Jen's apartment which had fantastic food, Greek wine with a label I couldn't read, and an adorable dog to play with (not Jen's, her friend brought him).
  • spent 1.5 hours on a conference call today on my cell phone where I said not.one.word.
also, just watched the first video I've seen from Gretchen Rubin's youtube channel about The Happiness Project. This month's theme: Resolutions. This week: Set concrete goals.
Well, I think I did that already. Success!

This weekend has lots of errands on the agenda, and a trip to a wedding expo in Boston with Margo (which to be honest I'm slightly terrified about, but I think it'll definitely be something to see...) I thought Easy A would get here from Netflix but I don't think it will :( may have to find something else to do tomorrow night...

So lovely readers, how were your weeks? Anything exciting planned this weekend? Does anyone else love lists as much as I do?:)


January Goals

**just a note- I made tabs for my blog! And the travel one has a photo collage!! I have started the first week of 2011 by staying home sick from work, so between naps and movies I've been playing online:) Go check it out!**

Even though last month I definitely did not meet all of my goals, I still liked having them, so I'm going to try again for January ---
  • keeping in line with my  New Years Resolutions: 
    • exercise at least 2.5 hours/week.
    • read at least 4 books, so that I'm well on my way to 52 in 2011. 
    • drink water
    • take vitamins
    • start the bedtime routine
    • blog 3x/week (at least)
  • update my CV/resume and track down recommendation letters for jobs
  • make a dissertation submission timeline and run it by my whole committee
  • have a wonderful MLK weekend celebration for Lindsay's shower/bachelorette celebration, and stay within my spending budget while doing so:)
  • successfully plan most if not all of Anna's bachelorette festivities for February!
  • organize my recipes: when I saw Katie over last weekend, she gave me an awesome recipe binder instead of a cookbook for an engagement present, and since I absolutely love it I want to start using it. 
  • finally finish decorating our apartment (mostly meaning pictures) - we've lived here for almost a year a half. it's time.
  • and, perhaps most exciting... I am on track to completely pay off my credit cards in January! since one of them has had a balance since I studied abroad in college (yes, I know that's bad. I paid for everything myself, and I don't exactly make bank as a graduate student. But I reformed and now am much better with money) this is a HUGE deal to me, and something I am looking forward to celebrating!
I'm a little overly ambitious - but I like having things to reach for, so it works for me!
What are your goals this month? Anything exciting going on?

another note- 2 a day again! Don't get excited. This won't continue.

Hello 2011! (weekend update)

First off, I hope everyone had a good New Year's Eve. During the day, I got to see BOTH of my "nephews" when we had lunch with AJ, Joe, Taygan, Katie, Steve, and Parker- along with me, Chris, Rae, and AJ's sister Rachel and her friend :) We were quite the mob. Tried to go to the aquarium but there were literally hundreds of people waiting outside, so we gave up on that and went to lunch at Grafton Street in Harvard Square. Never been there before but I loved it, so hopefully we'll be going back :) Katie and I taught Parker about penguins, so now he makes a penguin honking noise! I am a very proud girl:)

At night, we had people over here again, which was nice - we had lots of snack food, baked cookies and decorated them with frosting, and bought way too much alcohol (seriously, we have so much left... if anyone wants to come over and drink some they are welcome!) Chris put on The Matrix, but I made him turn it off at 11:30 so we could watch the festivities with Dick Clark (who looks so happy to be there, I can't stand it). Did anyone else catch NKOTBSB? Because that may have been the highlight of my night.

Yesterday it was 50 DEGREES OUTSIDE, in Massachusetts, in January! So I went for a (short) run, but aside from that Chris and I relaxed, watched the Mythbusters marathon, and napped until we ventured out around 4pm. We drove down to Dedham to go to Legacy Place, because they have A)lots of good stores to wander around, B) a P.F. Chang's which was what I wanted to eat/we had a gift card (thanks Mom!), and C) it's an outdoor mall, and it was warm. The trip was a success, with a blazer I wanted now 60% off (Ann Taylor Loft), some running stuff that was too cute to pass up, and some ski mittens for Chris, plus yummy food:)

After that, we went to Elephant Walk because Matt (Chris's best friend) was the only bartender, so we sat at the bar to hang out with him. I had two of what may now be my favorite drink- alcoholic strawberry lemonade! they infuse the vodka with real strawberries themselves! so good - and I ended up eating a second dinner of sorts - a salad with cabbage in it, because you are supposed to eat cabbage on New Years to get money in the new year - right?)

Sunday, we....went back to Elephant Walk for brunch because that was the plan before last night! And it's my favorite so no complaining here. Walked to the stores over by Fenway after, then stopped at Coolidge Corner on the way home, and just hung out after that. Relaxing weekend overall. How were your weekends? Anything exciting?


2011 Resolutions

After a lot of thought, I decided that I wasn't going to give 2011 a one word theme so much as make my resolutions have a theme of sorts. And what is that theme you might ask? It's doing more things for myself, instead of getting so caught up in the other things I am "supposed" to be doing and/or goofing around on the Internet for hours.

Without further ado, here's the plan:
  1. Read at least 52 books, doing the A-Z Reading Challenge (26 authors, 26 titles, each letter of the alphabet). This is for me because I love to read, and I don't make enough time for it.
  2. Exercise! Whether yoga or running or something else (pilates? the scary Jillian Michaels DVD that Val sent me? who knows!), I want to exercise at least 2.5 hours/week this year.
  3. Drink water. Specifically, the equivalent of 2 of my Nalgene bottles/day. I always feel better when I do, it's that simple.
  4. Create and STICK TO a bedtime routine. I am really, really bad about things like washing my face or flossing at night - I basically just brush my teeth and crash. Not good! Fixing that.
  5. Take my vitamins. Again, I feel better when I do. This is not rocket science ;)
  6. Graduate and get a real grown-up job. This is A)not optional, and B)a major source of stress if it doesn't go off as planned, so even though I'd do it anyway, I figured I should focus on it.
  7. Blog! It makes me happy when I remember to do it, and I love reading other blogs to get ideas for books to read, things to cook, and keep up with my faraway friends, so I'm going to do it too. Goal: 3x/week minimum, all year. yikes.
  8. 2011 Happiness Challenge: I signed up to participate in the 2011 Happiness Challenge from Gretchen Rubin (who wrote The Happiness Project, a book that I love). Each month she'll pick a theme and you'll get ideas of areas to focus on. Not planning on doing all of them, but I want to see what it has to offer and at least take some into account.
  9. Learn to knit. Sounds like fun:) And I can't sit still while I watch TV, so it would give me something to do.
  10. And last, semi-stolen from Anna - wedding planning with as little stress as possible. At this time next year we'll be 2.5 months out from our wedding (!!!), which means 2011 will be a year including a lot of wedding planning. I would like to do it in an organized, not stressed, fashion. Ideas on that? please share.
I know 9 resolutions is a lot, but I figure that it's still less than one a month on average, and some are smaller than others. I'm excited to get started! I think we are making a star chart, old school style (Chris wants to exercise more too, and we thought it would help). Any other ideas for stuff I forgot or ways to A)hold yourself accountable and B) reward yourself when things go well?

a note - 2 posts in one day! look at me go! :)

December Goals recap...

OK, so here are my December goals. Want to see how I did? (Hint: not so fantastic.)

  • 31 Day Yoga Challenge. complete it.
    • Nope. I did 9 days out of 31, which is about a third? So, that's a fail. That said, I am choosing to look at this positively - I did 9 more days of yoga in December than I did in November, I found a DVD that I like (and got it, 2 others from the same series, and a Yogitoes yoga towel for Christmas! Thanks people I babysit for for that!), and I am starting to WANT to do yoga again. So it's not all bad.
  • Copying Anna, run at least 20 miles this month. Hopefully more, but let's aim low, it's getting cold and dark outside.
    • Again, nope! I did 5.16. ...not even sure what to say about that.
  • Since I am running the Jingle Bell run, do a faster 5K than I did in the 10K last month. (which I will blog about. I swear. I even have a picture of us!)
    • This one was a success!! I improved my 5K time by a lot actually - almost 3 minutes, so almost a minute per mile. And that's with walking the whole second mile (note: if you are asthmatic, you should A) take your inhaler before you run, and B)bring it with you in your pocket. Why am I SO bad at that?) 
  • Get all of my grading done for the semester by December 18th, a week before Christmas.
    • Nope, but I got all of the undergrad papers done by then (except the one I didn't get until the 22nd - clearly that was out of my control). I got the grad student ones done on the 21st.
  • Make a plan to get my dissertation done by the deadlines.
    • Adding this to the January list! Totally forgot.
  • Redo my CV (what we call resumes in this crazy academic world) so I can get, you know, a job. Or at least start applying.
    • Crap! Forgot about that too. Again, January list.
  • Rewatch all of the Harry Potter movies before Christmas (Chris and I try to do it every year).
    • Success! :)
  • Mail my family's presents home in time for them to actually be there ON Christmas, not afterwards.
    • They got there Christmas Eve. I'll take that as a success :)
  • Blog at least 4 times a week. I want to get back into it!
    • Nope. 9 times total. BUT, I did 2 in October and 2 in November, so it was an improvement. (Does anyone REALLY want to hear from me 4 times a week? that's the real question)
  • Make almond bark from scratch- I've been dying to try it.  
    • Sadly no. But I still really want to make it!
  • Watch all of In Treatment. I'm almost done with Season 1, Emily has Season 2, and Season 3 is on demand until January 3rd, so if I want to watch it I need to get on it!
    • I finished Season One, and Ross and Em gave me Season 2 on New Year's Eve. So...no.
I think that means I did what, 2.5 of them? Ouch. But it was the first month I've ever set goals. Let's see if I can do better :)

Posts on New Year's resolutions and January goals on their way...
Happy New Year everyone!:)