Celestial Seasonings and What Followed

Hello everyone! I hope you had a great MLK weekend! I had a lot of fun with my SIL, her kiddos, and Cobalt. We went to IKEA (I’ve got a plant project… more on that later… like when I actually do the project), Cobalt’s favorite record store, our favorite bookstores, the park (it was so warm this weekend!), the movies and to Celestial Seasonings for a tour of their plant. That is where the above picture comes in: we all had to wear hairnets to go on the tour but Cobalt and the other bearded guys also had to wear beard nets… hahahaha. It was funny. We giggled at him a lot. Regardless, the tour is really cool! You should definitely check it out if you’re ever near Boulder (also, you need to visit me… duh)! After the tour, my niece and I got matching shark and whale finger puppets. :D I named mine Rosabaya and Arpeggio after two of my favorite Nespresso flavors (I know…. super nerdy all of a sudden)!

The shark and whale finger puppets hang out…

Anyway, that’s all for now. Things are busy as usual. At least my niece and nephew got to help me set up for Monday’s experiments Sunday night. We all had gloves on and I taught them how to set up everything. It was kind of amazing. Made Monday’s experiments way happier knowing that we set it all up together…

In other news, I’ve been working on making our lab webpage super awesome so when I finally get time to work on this blog, I am kind of tired of typing… So I apologize for posting lags…

What are you guys up to right now? How are those new years resolutions coming?

Congratulations K!

This picture was taken at the hospital this morning during K’s final round of treatment!

A few months ago, my friend K was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It was really upsetting because 1) he is very young and 2) he and my friend J were planning on getting married 2 months after the diagnosis! Luckily he caught the cancer early so it’s fairly treatable at that stage. K underwent surgery and then had a crazy round of chemo involving 3 cycles of three week intervals – the first week was always the worst followed by two less intense weeks (luckily for J and K, their wedding fell on one of the less intense weeks so K still felt okay for that!). After the first cycle, K’s tumor marker dropped ridiculously low (to the baseline level!) and then it has continued to stay below the baseline level throughout his treatment! I am writing this post today, on K’s last day of the entire chemo treatment, to say congratulations to K for getting through all of this! You rule, K! And I hope that this is the end! No more cancer! Stay away!

Plus I am super excited that J and K finally get to experience being happy newlyweds without pesky chemo treatments getting in the way and making K feel sick! Time to plan that honeymoon, guys! :)

In other news I slipped on ice when I was biking to work this morning. My knees took the majority of the fall but I also bumped my head. Luckily I was wearing a helmet! So now this post is double a reminder to take care of yourself (both staying healthy and checking for various cancers you might be susceptible to as well as wearing a helmet when you are biking/riding your motorcycle/doing other helmety activities)!

What’s new with you guys? Tell me everything!

CU Fashion Show!! Part 2

All the steampunk Disney princesses because you guys asked for them. Can you figure out who is who?! :)

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Fashion Show Recap! Today’s post has a sneak preview of runway pictures! Are you excited?! I’m excited. Before we get to the pictures, I just want to talk about being a photographer at a fashion show. I was stationed at the end of the runway with a few other photographers and a giant spotlight. The models were supposed to stop for ~ 5 seconds and pose for us, then walk a few feet and pose again before returning back down the runway. The spotlight turned out to be awesome for lighting the models so that we didn’t need to use our flashes but it was hard getting the settings just right on the camera. Each position the models stopped in had slightly different lighting conditions so I was constantly switching exposure time and the aperature back and forth to make sure I got nice pictures of the models at each stop. It was kind of fun! Also, in order to get the models and their outfits to not be overexposed, I ended up sacrificing anything not directly in the spotlight – creating a sort of halo effect around the model. I think it still looks cool, though I am sad that it’s hard to see some of the models’ shoes…

On to the pictures!

I love the back of her dress! Gorgeous… and ruffles!
I know we saw her on Tuesday but she rocked her runway pose! :D Also her outfit and the outfit above are by the same designer.
We saw her on Tuesday too but look at the back of that dress! So neat!
I like her pants! Also I like that her vest is super shiny! :)
I love this picture. I love the motion of the dress and I love her facial expression!
Aw yeah! This is my friend C rockin’ this shirt. Same designer as the dress above. Beautiful work and C is a great model! :D
This is one of the outfits C designed. I love that it’s a hoodie! :D
Steampunk princess! :D
Steampunk princess part 2! :D

I love her scarf! I also love its reflection on the floor!

Yay pictures! Tell me what you think! Do you have a favorite? What’s going on for you guys? At CU, finals week starts tomorrow (our first year has to proctor an exam at 7 am tomorrow!) but I am so far removed from classes as a 6th year PhD student, all the bustling and the stress is kind of confusing for me. I just go to lab every day workin’ on ma science. I had an epic check list of things that I wanted to get done before Christmas but then the lamp for the microscope I was planning on using broke… and then some of my other science decided it didn’t feel like working either. Maybe it’s time for a vacation… It’s not all frustrating though; I finally succeeded in making something I have been working on since JULY. Whew… ahhhhh the life of a scientist. It’s ridiculous.

Okay that’s enough about me. It’s your turn – Talk to me! Go!

CU Fashion Show!! Part 1

This girl totally rocked her afro wig. :)

This weekend I got to be a photographer at a fashion show at CU! My friend C is a designer in the club and he invited me to come take pictures! It was really awesome. All of the designers are students at the school and I was so impressed by the talent my fellow students have! The outfits were all so unique and each designer’s story and selected pieces were so fascinating. I also liked hanging out with the models before the fashion show started. We had fun chatting about school, their outfits, their poses, everything! I can’t believe I was nervous when I arrived at school because as soon as I started taking pictures, I couldn’t stop smiling. I took over 1000 pictures! I’ll post some sneak previews here. Today we’ll have a look at everyone getting ready and then we’ll get to the runway later this week! Are you excited?! I am! :D

This is one of C’s models. She used eyeshadow to make her lips blue like that! Later she added more blue to her eyes and then totally rocked the runway! :)
This model’s designer had all her models dressed as Victorian birds. I loved this girl’s woodpecker dress. She had an amazing train (just wait till the runway pictures!).
The girls practicing their walks. The peacock outfit was amazing. The detail of the feathers was fantastic.
This girl designed and modeled her own dress. It was gorgeous.
Practicing poses for the runway!
I loved the way her makeup looked with her curls. :)
This model is Steampunk Ariel! I love it! :) Also, the designer of this outfit (and the next one) is a double major: biology and biochemistry. Potassium is super impressed.
Steampunk Rapunzel! :)

Wow! Are you excited for the runway pictures?! I am and I’ve been looking at them for the past few days!

Now it’s your turn: tell me what you think of these outfits! Also, tell me something you’d love to learn how to do or that you are currently learning to do! I’m loving being a photographer right now that’s for sure but I would also love to get better at clothing design myself! :)

Potassium does not like cold

Ugh! Looking at this picture makes me miss the fall colors already (pic on the left was taken at the end of October and pic on the left was taken this Wednesday)!

So we got a pretty good snow storm earlier this week. It would have been fine if it hadn’t been followed by ridiculously low temperatures… I woke up yesterday and it was -11 F outside. I’m originally from California… we do not do below 0 F there. Luckily for me, I have a ton of data analysis to do so I stayed home working on my computer while burrowing in blankets and snuggling with stuffed sharks all day. At one point, Cobalt even brought me the fanciest hot chocolate ever! Maybe I should stay home and work again today!

I did actually end up braving the cold last night to go to a girls night where we attempted to decorate Christmas ornaments. My attempts are below – there’s a shark on the clear one (as well as a shark in the 3 of 2013) and a skull for Cobalt on the red one!

I’m super happy that these guys didn’t get messed up upon exposure to the 3 degree F weather on the drive home…

What temperature is “cold” to you? Can you handle -11 F? HOW?!?!? Anyway, what do you have planned for the weekend? I have some pretty exciting things planned! I can’t wait to tell you about them next week! :D

Artistic sisters

Helllooooo everyone! I hope you are having wonderful Tuesdays! Today’s post is about art and science! Last week when my sister was here, we spent a lot of time driving. We went to Fort Collins, CO to speak to some summer research undergraduate students about grad school. On Wednesday, we participated on an alumni panel and on Thursday, we returned to check out the students’ research posters and hear the keynote address. It was awesome getting to know these students and hearing about the successes and frustrations with their projects this summer. When we were not hanging out with the summer students, we hung out with the other grad/med school students on the panel and the keynote speaker and it was really nice to make new friends (all the alumni had the summer program in common but none of us actually participated in the same year). Everyone was so cool and inspiring! However, by the time we got back to Boulder on Thursday afternoon, we were exhausted/tired of driving. So first we ran around like crazy in a big rain storm and then we settled down in Cobalt’s and my living room to do some art before we had to take my sis back to the airport. This was my creation from our art afternoon. I have to say that I’m pretty proud of it! :D What do you think it should be called? All I can think of is “Whales in the sky keep on turning…” hahahaha…

What were you guys up to this past weekend? Cobalt and I celebrated our anniversary by staying at a lovely bed and breakfast (also in Fort Collins… he drove that time) on Friday night and then spent the rest of the weekend at IKEA/putting various pieces of furniture together. Also we had our neat anniversary party on Sunday! Stay tuned for pictures (but don’t be dismayed if they don’t show up in a timely manner this week; my summer students have their poster session/end of the summer banquet coming up)!

Photo Grab bag

Today is a random assortment type of a post. Here we go:

Lately I’ve been:

  • Doing an Instagram photo challenge with my friends – some of my favorite entries are below
    This was day 3: 5pm

    This was day 6: self portrait
  • Teaching high school students about DNA/heredity/genetics research. I got them excited about the concept by first having them extract DNA from strawberries using household supplies (dish soap, water, salt, and rubbing alcohol). The boys thought it was COOL and the girls thought it was GROSS but it got them asking questions.

    This was also an Instagram Challenge pic. Luckily for me, the day of the DNA workshop was also day 4: food
  • Making delicious egg and bacon sandwiches in home made biscuits and pondering how to make Cobalt’s and my meals more healthy but also delicious while on a budget… Ideas?

  • Running another glow in the dark 5K and actually running it this time (last time I was out of shape and it was so disorganized there was no way we could actually run anyway…)
    Potassium and A before the race with all their glowy stuff on

    Potassium, A, and Cobalt being silly before the race…
  • Finally getting around to hanging the beautiful wall hanging Cobalt and I got as a (late) wedding present from a family friend

    I am so mesmerized by the patterns on this quilt…. I could stare at it all day.
  • Getting excited about art and painting and the idea of art journals?
  • Finishing my challenge of reading 50 books this year (up to 53 now… guess I should go back to trying to tackle Crime and Punishment…)
  • Feeling super excited for all my friends who just got engaged or married recently!!!!!!!! So much love! Also, if any of my said engaged friends want some sweet engagement pictures, I happen to know someone who’s pretty good at that kind of stuff… her name’s Potassium… Seriously. Let me know! I would love to take some pictures for you!

Your turn: what have you been up to?

Fireworks from the sky!!!

I took this picture during a storm a few years ago in Boulder…

Hey everyone, sorry about the crazy post schedule this week. Anyway, today I wanted to talk about lightning because last weekend, Cobalt and I were driving home from a movie (Joss Whedon’s Much Ado about Nothing) and a vicious storm was moving into town. There was lightning everywhere! It was pretty cool actually – it was like nature’s fireworks show just in time for the 4th of July! The storm turned out to be pretty epic too. As soon as Cobalt and I got in the house, it started pouring and then hailing with this HUGE marble-sized hail. We had to run back outside and rescue our little plants from death hail!

Plants hanging out in the kitchen during the crazy storm…

Does anyone have any fun plans for the 4th of July? We have a 3rd of July fireworks celebration here in California that we will be attending tonight. Exciting!

So much green!

Yesterday my blog friend Jenn posted pictures of her garden and asked about ours. So I decided to make today’s post about our garden!

I am pretty proud right now. This is the biggest little garden we’ve ever had! The plants have come a long way from starting out in their mini greenhouse back in March. Now they’re all big and flowering. I went out to photograph them and I got totally obsessed with the cantaloupes. They totally took off this week. Tons of leaves and flowers and these crazy tendrils! I didn’t even know if cantaloupes would even like the crazy Colorado weather we have but apparently they’re happy. Little guys!!!

Some more cantaloupe pictures…
I love how fuzzy they are…
The basil wanted its picture taken too…

One thing I am super jealous about is all my friends who own houses now! I can’t wait until we have our own house and I can have a real garden instead of little pots everywhere. I am sure my plants will like it too because I won’t be constantly moving them from pot to pot as they grow. At least we have this mini backyard here for our little plantys to enjoy…

In other news, I have a crazy weekend ahead. First I going white water rafting with the SMART students tomorrow. It’s going to be epic. I have to get up really early (~5 am or so) so I can go pick up one of the university vehicles we’ve rented to drive the students out to the rafting company! Once we get out there, we spend a good part of the day on the river. They even prepare us a delicious lunch in the middle! Then on Sunday, Cobalt and I are headed to Denver for a baseball game (Rockies vs. Giants!) with my lab. Exciting! You know what else is exciting? Next week, we are going to visit my family! I am really excited because I haven’t been to California since Christmas! Yayyyyyy… Okay so this wasn’t the most exciting post but here are some questions for you anyway –
1) tell me about your gardens. Do your cucumbers get powdery mildew like ours often do? Hopefully not this year… we’ve been looking into solutions for this problem!
2) What are you doing this weekend?
3) Any plans for the 4th of July? I’m soooooo excited to be home for the 4th of July. I think it’s been almost 10 years since the last time I was home for it. :D

Epic Summer Plans!

I might be busy this summer but not too busy to tag my labmates’ benches with an ethanol version of my signature shark…

So my summers are usually crazy because I have to split my time between getting my research done and helping out with the SMART program but then there is always something extra that makes my already crazy summer even more epic (ex: last year I wrote that epic grant AND got married). So it’s no surprise that I am already feeling pretty overwhelmed by my summer because I am, yet again, involved in many other activities this summer. Because I think they are all kind of cool I thought I would write about them here for you guys.

    • I Have a Dream
      So the first thing on my list is working for the I Have a Dream foundation. This program has been near and dear to my heart ever since I found out about it upon entering grad school all those years ago. Basically, this national foundation adopts classes of 2nd and 3rd grade students where the majority of the students in the class come from low income families. Every student in that class is promised that if they stay in the IHAD program (and in school) until they graduate from high school, the IHAD foundation will give them a full ride to the college of their choice! Sounds like a sweet deal to me! In the past, I have helped out with workshops (genetics, how your eye works like a pinhole camera, forensics, etc) for the IHAD students within Boulder county but this summer, CU is hosting a conference for middle and high school IHAD students from across the country. They get to come to CU and take workshops and check out a college campus! My friend C and I decided we would run a genetics workshop for them. A few weeks ago, I got an email asking for a brief summary of our workshop. Although C and I had decided that we wanted to do a genetics workshop, we hadn’t actually discussed the details of this workshop. So a few short emails back and forth later, C and I had come up with this:

      In this workshop, we will be discussing genetics and how genetics research affects our daily lives. After an initial discussion of general genetics terminology and how it relates to living organisms, we will be isolating DNA from strawberries using every day materials. To finish the workshop, we’ll discuss implications of and current events related to the field of genetics research. Possible topics of discussion include: genetic testing, genetically modified organisms, gene therapy, personalized medicine, and evolution. Participants are invited to bring all genetics questions and a sense of curiosity and excitement about biology!

      I am pretty excited about this workshop now! It should be a blast! I hope our students are as excited as we are…

    • Go Women in Science!
      A while ago, I headed up to main campus to take a survey our library was putting on for how people in our new building were using the library resources in our day to day research. One of the women conducting the survey was impressed with my ability to talk about my project to nonscientists and she asked me if I’d be willing to speak at a conference for science librarians she was putting on this summer. On Thursday, I will be on a panel with two other women discussing our research and what it’s like being a woman in science. I have to come up with a 5 minute little talk about my personal experiences and my research and then we will be answering questions from the audience. As such, I have spent this past weekend thinking back about my own and my friends’ experiences as scientists… I am nervous but also really excited!
    • REUnion
      So for you nonscientists out there, all of us science majors have to do some form of independent research project, especially if we are planning on going to grad school after undergrad. Some schools even require you to perform independent research as one of the requirements for obtaining your degree (I had to perform at least a semester of independent research and write a thesis in order to receive a BS degree – I spent a year studying yeast (the kind that makes your bread and beer delicious) proteins. It was a huge fail in that I got NO results but that’s how it goes sometimes…). Anyway, if you are planning to go to graduate school, the more research experience you have on your resume, the better. So at the end of my sophomore year of college, while most of my friends were excited about going home for the summer, I packed up all my stuff, went home for a few days, and then went to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO for my first taste of independent summer research (this was called a “Research Education for Undergraduates or REU program – it’s similar to the SMART program though it is smaller and specific for every department). Although I came down with mono the first week I was there (sad days…), I still managed to have a lot of fun and totally fall in love with doing science independently from the lab classes I had to take at school. A few years later, my sister followed suit and headed to CSU for her own research experience. Now we have both been invited to be on the panel of current graduate students who give advice and wisdom to this year’s summer class of undergraduates. So come late July, my sister and I will have a mini family reunion and also get to hang out with the undergrads in the same program that inspired both of us to continue on to graduate school. How cool is that?! Btw wee, I am loving how our science is helping us see each other every year. :)

Whew! Epicness! At least I am learning super multitasking skills during my PhD… What are you up to this summer? Anything epic going on? Vacations, etc? Also how was your weekend? Talk to me!!