Happy New Year! :D

Helloooo everyone! Happy new year! I hope you guys had a great Christmas and a happy New Year (and other happy holidays too)! Cobalt and I traveled to see both of our families and it was great having time to catch up with everyone. The pictures in this post come from my family’s holiday pictures!

Potassium and Cobalt being photobombed by Finn. Play close attention to Finn’s fin – he’s moving so you can see the books behind it! :)
Fun with my sis! :D

Are you guys excited about 2014?! Any New Years resolutions? Cobalt and I are busy coming up with a name for ours. Last year ours was called “Operation Go for It!” and I think it worked out awesomely! Tune in later to find out all about this year’s soon! It’s going to be an epic year with me hopefully defending in the summer! I wonder where we will be by this time next year… I hope you are excited about all of this because I am… though also pretty scared. This is the first time in my life that I don’t know what I am planning on doing next! Cobalt feels similarly…

Okay, your turns. Tell me about your holidays and new years resolutions!

I spy

A Christmas tree!

In the tree, I spy a shark “star,” a skeleton, a sheep from Germany, Ice Batman, Ice BatDracula, and a buffalo. Can you find them?

Let’s talk about the tree:
This is my first year ever having my own Christmas tree and look how cute and tiny it is! I love it already. I hope Cobalt likes it too (he put the skeleton in it afterall). I like to think that the Ice bats are guarding the tree against evil… :D

An artsy picture of the top:

Poncho the “star” and Jörg the German sheep say hi from the top of the tree!

Let’s talk about Potassium:
Whew you guys… trying to finish a PhD is hard work! I apologize so much for being gone but life is just ridiculous. Recently I’ve:

  • watched Catching Fire (it was good! I liked it!)
  • done 4 16 hour imaging experiments (I start up the microscope and then go home, sleep, and then come in early and turn it off)
  • flown to Oklahoma to spend Thanksgiving with Cobalt’s family
  • discovered that minus the French Country station (which is hilarious because it played a song called “My horse is dead” in French), Sirius XM radio is not all that exciting
  • Made delicious gravy for two different Thanksgiving celebrations
  • Probably done more!

Let’s talk about you guys:
How were your Thanksgivings? Are you excited about the holidays? Tell me something about your holiday traditions. What have you been up to?

Found photos and other stories

What I like about this one is that there is all that gray on the bottom. Why didn’t they crop most of it out?! Also, what do you think this girl is thinking about?

Hello all! I hope you are well! I am realizing that apparently Cobalt and I have a lot of traditions in October and by missing so much due to traveling, there is a lot of catching up to do with what little is left in this month!

This weekend we were busy getting Halloween costumes put together, picking out pumpkins, and buying candy for trick or treaters (which we will actually just be leaving in a bowl on our front porch as we’ve got ourselves a rehearsal dinner to go to on Halloween – J and K are getting married on Friday!!!!! Yes, in case you’re wondering, we will be dressed up in costumes – for the rehearsal dinner, not for the wedding obviously…).

This weekend we also went out to brunch with friends and then headed to pretty much the biggest antique mall I have ever seen. I am pretty sure you can get lost in there. Actually definitely sure because upon entering, Cobalt, J, and I immediately lost The Chocolate Pudding and The Millionaire Space Accountant! Moving on – the antique mall was really fun! So much stuff to look at/be sad about not being able to afford…. My favorite part was this whole corner of abandoned photographs and postcards from around the world. I love abandoned photographs especially because I feel that each one tells a story and I, having just stumbled across it, have no idea what it is! It brings out my creative side because I am intently gazing about how the photo was taken – the lighting, the clothing, the poses – but I am also looking at the expression on the people’s faces to try to guess what they were thinking about! So fun! Anyway, shown above and below are some of my favorites from this particular expedition.

I love this one of a woman and (I’m assuming) her plant. Also, this one has a date on the back (1925) and a note in German that The Chocolate Pudding and The Millionaire Space Accountant spent 5 min or so trying to decipher. So much fun!
So I found this one really creepy with everyone’s faces overexposed like that. The back of the photo had no explanation – just an address in Lincoln, IL. Any possible explanation? :)

On the to do list for this week:

  • multiple experiments (although nothing seems to want to work for me right now) because I have to give a presentation on my research in two weeks
  • making a blueberry cheesecake (it’s a slow process with all the experiments and life – good thing each step in the cheesecake making process requires substantial cooling/sitting/whatever time)
  • celebrating J and K!
  • carving pumpkins
  • voting (election day is next week, folks!)
  • maybe sleeping? Who knows…

What are you guys up to this week? Are you baking anything epic? Which is your favorite of the found photographs up there? Tell me all!

The Valentine’s Day Shark Cake Pop says….

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope you all have a wonderful day! The Valentine’s Day Shark Cake Pop will (though he is currently residing in my tummy… sorry shark cake pop! You looked so delicious!). Anyway, if you have yet to get your special someone a Valentine’s Day card, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has some adorable e-cards for you! Check them out!

I made the shark pop at a Valentine’s Day themed craft party last weekend. I also made this little Valentine’s mousey (don’t judge my sketchy sewing skills…):

Now, tell me how you really feel about Valentine’s Day. Yay Valentine’s or ugh… pink…? Are you excited to see the millionth Die Hard movie tonight or are you braving the crowd to go out to a fancy dinner (or both)? I like Valentine’s Day generally, though I worry that people will think they only need to tell their special someones they love them only on this one day. So remember to tell those people you love them not just today but every day!

Happy Snake Year!

In honor of the Chinese New Year this weekend, Cobalt and I had friends over to make dumplings! It turned out to be a hilarious endeavor because the recipe was written entirely in Chinese (meaning that only my friend T could read it) and instead of discrete amounts of ingredients, all of the ingredients were listed “add to taste” so T ordered us around in the kitchen – chop this, cook that, let’s wait for this – for a bit while we made the filling.

While T and our friend L were busy cooking the filling, A and I felt that there were too many people in the kitchen and retreated to the living room to make snake jewelry in honor of the year of the snake. As you can see from that top picture, I made a snake choker and A made a snake headband. Here’s another picture of my snakey choker.

Once the filling got made, we were all recruited to make dumplings. T taught us this super nice way to fold the dumpling skins so that they look professional. Look at these dumplings all ready to be cooked! I think we made at least 70 of these guys!

Then we cooked them and then we ate them! Yummm… they were delicious. We actually put sunflower seeds in a few of them so that if you ate one of those, it was extra luck for the new year. Unfortunately, the sunflower seeds went pretty well with the filling so we had a hard time telling if we ate a lucky one or not. We all found sunflower seeds on our plates after eating though, which suggests we are all lucky!

Tasty dumplings ready to eat (some of them exploded in the cooking phase but they were still equally delicious)!

Did you do anything for the Chinese New Year? How do you feel about the year of the snake? Tell me about it! Have any special plans for Valentine’s Day coming up this week?! Tell me about that too! Cobalt and I have plans but I think grad school is going to prevent them from happening on Valentine’s Day proper (boooooo lab… whyyyyy) so we will have to celebrate this weekend instead! :)

Fun with Air Swimmers!

Whew! Back from vacation! Cobalt and I had an epic time visiting both our families and having double Christmases (note: double Christmas was really awesome – it was great to see both of our families and share Christmas traditions with both of them – minus all the traveling involved to make it happen)! We also had a little party at our house in Colorado for New Years. It was so good to see some of our friends that we don’t usually see for that too. Yay holidays!

Anyway, Cobalt and I brought an Air Swimmer shark for our niece and nephew when we went to visit his family. We had a lot of fun setting it up for them, especially as the Air Swimmer shark also turned out to be HUGE, probably about the size of our niece. In fact, she had trouble holding onto him by herself. Also, the instructions warned us that the Air Swimmer had not been tested to fly above 4000 ft above sea level and we were higher than 7000 feet! But in the end, we got him properly set up and he actually flew pretty well. The kids and I took him down to the basement of Cobalt’s mom’s house so we could play with him. Here are some pictures from the fun!

A and Finn watching Cobalt blow up the Air Swimmer…

A and the Air Swimmer downstairs…

C and the Air Swimmer. He was really great at maneuvering the Air Swimmer. We decided that all those video games make for good practice for making Air Swimmers swim!

The kids stole my camera when I was playing with the Air Swimmer so there’s me!

We loved this… When you are done playing with the Air Swimmer, you can dock him to the remote control so he doesn’t fly away (by the way, in the FAQ on the Air Swimmers website, it says to not play with your Air Swimmer outside because it will fly away and you will be sad… we liked that part too!).

Anyway, this guy was REALLY fun to play with! I highly recommend getting one for you or for a kid in your life. :):)

How were the holidays for you? Any awesome presents? Talk to me! I’ve missed you guys!

The IceMan14 Cometh…

Yesterday, the day that Cobalt and I already had to get up at 4:30 am to catch a plane to leave for the holidays, was the day when Colorado finally decided to give us some snow. Needless to say getting to the airport on time and then actually leaving the airport was a bit of an adventure. First of all, we had to walk to the bus stop with all our luggage in the snow. Then we had to ride the crazy crowded bus on the crazy slippery roads to the airport. Once there, the jetway to get to our plane was not heated so we had to bundle back up to get on the plane. We boarded the plane on time but then we had to wait for people from connecting flights to land and get on our plane. Then we had to wait for their luggage to get on the plane… I watched it all happen sleepily from my window seat at the front of the plane while Cobalt grumpily tried to sleep. By the time we FINALLY had all the passengers and their luggage aboard, we had to take the plane to get deiced. I am from California so plane deicing is not something I see very often. I thought it was crazy to watch and sneakily snapped a few photos of the plane next to us and our plane getting deiced. Craziness. The title comes from the fact that the truck that was involved in the deicing of our side of the plane was IceMan14. I think the truck on the other side was IceMan4…

It’s supposed to snow on the day we head back to Colorado too so you might get to read about more snow/ice traveling adventures sooner than later…

Anyway, Cobalt and I are officially on holiday break for a while so if my posts aren’t regular it’s probably because I am reading/eating/sleeping/doing crafts/spending time with Cobalt and family/etc. I hope you all have wonderful holidays! Stay warm and dry! :)

Dropsy Turvy

Yay! A post! And one with crazy water droplets! The pictures in today’s post comes from last weekend when my friend Jem was in town and we gave each other various photo challenges. This one was by far the hardest because it requires dropping water into a bowl full of water and capturing the droplets falling and landing in the bowl. You have to have a lot of light so you can use high shutter speeds (so the drops don’t look blurry) AND you have to take hundreds of pictures so that you can at least get a few cool pictures. So the set up is pretty much as complicated as taking the actual picture. Jem and I made an impromptu light box and pretty much filled it with all sorts of lights. I think the best way to do this type of photography is to use an external flash but Jem and I didn’t have one so we had to improvise with a couple of desk lights, an overhead light in the room, etc. Anyway, then we set up the background behind the water (in the picture above, it is the sheet music – this picture was inspired by this one taken by Patrick Latter). Then we played with a variety of camera settings (longer and shorter shutter speeds, smaller or larger ISO and F numbers, her camera vs my camera), backgrounds, and the water itself (we added blue food coloring to the water at first and then some milk). Fun times.

The picture above and the pictures below are some of my favorite pictures from my camera.

What do you think? It’s craziness! I love how the pictures (which have been adjusted only for white balance and shadows) look ridiculously 70’s… So many colors…. How are you guys? It’s getting to be holiday season so I’ve been thinking a lot about traditions. Do you have any awesome traditions that you do every year? Is it something you’ve done forever with your family or is it something you and your spouse/significant other came up with? What’s the story behind it? I want to know everything! :D

That awkward moment

when you realize you can’t be two places at once.

Let’s start up the Wedding Wednesday posts again! First of all, I think we are supposedly going to get our professional wedding pictures soon (finalllllly) and second of all, there is stuff that I never finished talking about.

So let’s start. We’re married now (yaaaaay!) and the holidays are quickly approaching… What are we going to do about Christmas? For those of you who don’t know, Christmas is a big deal to both of our families. However, Cobalt’s immediate family is in NM and my immediate family is in CA. Every year before this year, Cobalt has gone to NM and I have gone to CA for at least Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so this year marks the first year we will be together on the actual Christmas holiday. The problem is… which family do we spend the holiday with? We already decided that we want to try to see both families during the Christmas season but of course only one family can see us for the actual holiday. Cobalt and I have been stressing out over this issue… mmmm since we got married… because we know that at least one family is going to be sad and one of us will be sad because we won’t be spending Christmas proper all together. That said, we love both of our families a lot so Christmas is still going to be special… just… different. However, it’s time to stop freaking out about it and actually buy tickets because holy crap they are getting really expensive.

Now it’s your turn. Any advice for the newlyweds? What did you do your first Christmas together?

Picture: One of the many crochet sharks I made, “Licky shark,” licking an ornament on my family’s Christmas tree last year. I took this picture when I was playing with the out of focus light so you can see that the reflection on Licky shark’s eye (and all the other out of focus light) is in the shape of a star. I like it…

Easter Balloons

For Easter Sunday this year, we were invited to my friend J’s family’s house. We had a really nice time. The best part was of course seen J’s adorable niece A. When we got there, A and her daddy were blowing up balloons. Daddy was working on A’s shyness by having her give each one of us a balloon (shown here: instructions on who to give the next balloon to). It was fairly dry so we all ended up looking a bit like this with our balloons (shown here: my friend M!):

Hahaha… It was kind of fun. Anyway, below is my favorite picture of A playing in her sandbox after dinner:

It was sooooo fun taking pictures of A! I felt like I really got back into my photography groove. What’s something that you enjoy doing to relax? Do you like doing things that challenge you? Or do you like being lazy? Or both?