Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015 & Resolutions for 2016



Well, here we are at the end of 2015.  This year really just flew by!  It's been a pretty crazy year for me with some record highs and lows.  Let's focus on the good: I went camping for the first time, completed a half marathon, gave my first conference talk, learned how to better communicate in personal relationships, and realized I am blessed with great friends.  Since I'm talking about the good, let's move on to resolutions for 2016 and the positive lifestyle changes I want to put in place.  Drumroll, please.

1.  Engage in healthier habits.  
I need to take care of myself, both physically and mentally.  I've really dipped into the illness variety bag in 2015.  Exercise & healthier eating from here on out.  Silver lining to being so ill this December: I've quit caffeine and started eating healthier before year's end.

2.  Be kinder.
I can be really mean when I'm in a negative mood.  I believe that feeling poorly doesn't entitle anyone to treat others in that manner.  I need to practice what I preach and not be THAT person.

3.  Acquire essential life skills. 
Get a driver's license.  Stop spending so frivolously.  Learn to cook more things.  Maybe go out and get to know people instead of being a hermit 99% of the time. 

4.  Be a more productive, efficient and better scientist.
Self explanatory.  I am past the halfway mark and will need to get out of the "arrested development" that is graduate school and become a Real Adult.  Basically, I need to work harder and smarter.

5.  Create.
I have a slew of things I enjoy doing outside of school: drawing, writing, making music, blogging, and photography.  I want to engage more in these interests and create things like I used to.

I think most of the changes I want to make - even if I haven't mentioned them explictly - fall into the umbrella of these five resolutions.  New year, new efforts.  

Goodbye, 2015.  Hello, 2016.  Let's make this a good year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Chicago Snippets 2015

I had the pleasure of spending Christmas this year with my mister and his family in the suburbs of Chicago.  My family doesn't celebrate the holiday so it was my first proper Christmas with a tree, small children waking everyone up, and quality time spent with good people.  I really enjoyed it!  Here are some of snapshots of my week in Chicago. 

Luminaria.  We set up these paper lanterns outside the house on Christmas Eve.  They're a cultural tradition (my boyfriend is Hispanic).  Aren't they pretty?  We set up about 50 lanterns.  My fingers got stiff and cold lighting the candles inside, but it was so worth it.



The Morton Arboretum.  We took a 4 mile hike here. I was loving how gray the sky was that day.  We get so much sunshine in California that it was nice to have something different.  We went back the next night for the Illuminations light show. 





Sue & The Field Museum. My boyfriend and I spent most of our time this past week with his family.  We had a few spare hours on my last day here so we went to Chicago's famous natural history museum. I got to see Sue (the T-Rex), exhibits on ancient China and Greece, and a quick view of Lake Michigan from the dinosaur room.





Over the course of the visit, I had the chance to get to know my boyfriend's family better, to eat wonderful homemade Hispanic food, and to generally be in a warm and happy environment.  All in all, it was a very nice visit.  I am now at home in Philadelphia with my own folks for about a week before I head back out to the West Coast.  I'm just taking it easy, resting (I'm ill again), and trying to recharge.  Hope your Christmases went well!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Sunday #4


PHOTOGRAPHY.  I had time before dinner last night that I used to take a self portrait for A Little Runner's Sunday post.  There was no light so I had to rely on indoor lighting.  Did you know that when you don't take real self portraits for a few years, you get to become very awkward in front of the camera?  Not to mention how awful my photography skills have become in the 3+ years since I've stopped fashion blogging.  I've gained +15 lbs in the past 3 years, too, so that is most apparent in my limbs.  Lots of adjustments to take into consideration for future photography.

CORTICOSTEROIDS.  Exactly what the doctor prescribed.  I went to see a specialist (thank you to those who had well wishes) and was prescribed some new medication.  Good news is that it doesn't appear to be any type of infection.  Bad news is that wearing contact lenses, working in a chemical lab, and the desert weather has contributed to dry eyes that are easily irritated and inflamed.  Much edema.  Not wow.  I am very thankful for modern medicine.

WORK.  I've got a little more than a week before I leave town for the holidays.  Not thrilled that I've been unproductive in lab.  You wouldn't believe how much being visually disoriented messes with your general sense of well-being and ability to focus.  It has been extremely frustrating to get anything done at all.  It is certainly safer to wear glasses than contacts in a chemical lab.  However, I'd say I've been less safe this week with my limited visual field wearing 4+ year out of date glasses that need constant readjustment and smudge every few minutes.  I think if something affects your focus, it affects your safety.  Can you read the barely contained frustration? 

SUNDAY.  I am off to Indian dinner with my two closest woman friends and one gentleman tonight.  (Sounds classier than girls' night + a guy, doesn't it?)  We love Indian food so I'm quite looking forward to it.  My favorites dishes are bhindi masala (fried okra curry, vegetable somosas, and garlic naan.  Mmmmmmmm.  BRING IT.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Sunday #3


One day, my weekly posting will not consist of just The Sunday.  I have a notebook full of ideas for content, but this week has been hectic between work and appointments.  I want this blog to be a positive place, but it's been a rough week so I'm going to talk about it diary-style.

SNAPS.  My favorite snapshots of these 7 days are all from the weekend.  Exhibit A: all dressed up to go out with my boyfriend and some friends.  I feel nerdy in glasses so I was trying to clean up (compensating!).  Exhibit B: my friend's dog, beautiful Stella, who I love spoiling with treats.  Exhibit C: my boyfriends hates pictures so I gotta sneak them in to catch him smiling!

HOSPITAL.  Another year, another trip to the emergency room, both times for an infection in my left eye.  I've been to see my university's health center about it, but went to the hospital on Saturday since doctors aren't usually available on weekends.  I'd rather play it safe than sorry with health (especially when it comes to eyes) so I decided not to 'wait it out'.  The doctor didn't see anything alarming, but recommended I keep an eye on it (punny!) and methods to relieve symptoms.  In the meantime, I'm stuck in glasses, which leads me to...

GLASSES.  They're about 5 years old and I really hate wearing them.  They're forever sliding down on my flat Asian nose.  I lose the 360 degree peripheral vision I have in contacts.  I feel very blind and disoriented.  Wearing glasses is mostly frustrating and I can not wait until I switch back to contacts.

BLOGS.  One of the things that inspired me to come back to blogging was the great blogs out there.  My favorite bloggers are ones who are raw and real with writing from the heart.  I was blown away by the strength in Lauren's birth story, the integrity of Michelle's character and heart in her reasons for blogging, and Anu's empathy for a continuing issue in society.  Also, can we just take a moment to appreciate the resilience of human spirit in Dani's journey?  I love strong, empathetic, and intelligent female voices in the blogosphere.  More of this, please!

I'm going to end this Sunday post on that positive note!  Cheers.