Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Sunday #8: The Portfolio



Hello, lovelies!  It's been a hectic past 7 days for me and I'm wrapping up a few things at work this Sunday before taking some time to relax in the evening.  Maybe finally paint my nails for the first time in a month!  Some appropriate color for February like blood red or black. 

PORTFOLIO.  I have decided it is about time I started my art & photography portfolio!  If you look at my navigation, there's now a link to it.  I've loaded some sketches (like these shown here), some finished portraits, and some photographs I am really proud of from the concert last week.  As you can probably tell, I love drawing and photographing people.  I'm looking to expand it over time and maybe freelance one day!  

CAREERS.  Speaking of portfolios, I spent a lot of time this week revising my curriculum vitae in preparation for a career fair.  I'm not graduating yet nor am I looking for an job,  but the idea of talking to recruiters and putting myself out there to seek employment frightens me.  Hence, I made myself do it to face my fear, so to speak, and to practice selling myself.  It turned out that most of the companies there were looking for computer scientists and engineers rather than chemists/chemical biologists like myself, but it was good to talk to people.  I also received loads of free swag which is always a plus.

CONFERENCES.  My, my this week's update is all about work, isn't it?  I have two conferences coming up in the next few weeks so I'm trying to get lab work done while preparing for them.  I have to give a talk at the first one and poster presentation at the second.  I'm one of these people who practices their talks A LOT before giving them.  My worst and most nervous, bumbling version is the one in front of my coworkers.  Better to work out the kinks with my colleagues than at the front of a seminar room, eh?  Onward!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Built To Spill @ The Echo, Los Angeles

Built To Spill, Doug Martsch, Steve Gere, Jason Albertini, The Echo
Built To Spill / (L to R) Jason Albertini on bass guitar, Steve Gere on drums, Doug Martsch on guitar.


The Echo, Los Angeles.


Iceberg Ferg opening for Built To Spill.

Jason Albertini
Jason Albertini performs on bass with support from The Hand.

Built To Spill is an indie rock band that has been around since the '90s.  They're one of the few acts whose music can move me to tears as I listen to them while working.  No, seriously.  There's definitely times when I've been in lab and thought, "Whoa, you need to keep it together."  I love that they don't adhere to the generic song structure we're so familiar with nowadays.  I love the solos and extended instrumentals.  Sometimes, I listen to pop and then I listen to Built To Spill and there is NO CONTEST.  So of course, when the mister asked if I wanted to see them on a three night run at The Echo, I said, "YES."

Built To Spill used to have five members, but now performs as a three piece band (Doug Martsch on guitar, Jason Albertini on bass, Steve Gere on drums).  One of the real treats seeing them live is watching Doug rip solo after solo on Ben (his guitar).  I've talked to Doug at a few shows; I keep hoping every time I shake his hand that some of his magical powers will transfer to me (alas, no luck yet).  One of the amazing things about Built To Spill, aside from how good they are, is that all the musicians are extremely kind when meeting their fans.  And yes, I cried during closing on the first night to Time Trap. 

I really love this band, so I'm going to plug them.  For those of you who haven't given them a listen yet, here's a Built To Spill primer.  Enjoy!

1.  Carry the Zero
2.  Time Trap
3.  Traces
4.  All Our Songs
5.  Car
6.  Goin' Against Your Mind
7.  Liar
8.  Velvet Waltz
9.  In Your Mind
10.  Big Dipper

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Sunday #7: Valentine's Day



Hello, lovelies!  It's been two weeks since I've written The Sunday.  I managed a few posts in between, but I think a posting schedule will have to be put on this blog's To Do List.  This Sunday's post comes to you from my couch as I sit here after eating lunch and getting hydrated before going out for a little bit.  

BUILT TO SPILL.  The mister got me into Built To Spill a few years ago.  We've seen them about 6 times in California.  They're a band we love so when they announced their West Coast tour, he nabbed tickets for all three nights they were in Los Angeles (post forthcoming).  We were hustling to get out of work on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to make it.  The shows were awesome, but dang, does going out three nights in a row tire me out.  #FIRSTWORLDPROBLEMS 

VALENTINE.  I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day, whether I've been single or in a relationship.  Personally, I find it cheesy and very corporate.  Why do you need one day to be romantic or express love?  Why not all the time?  Really, the best part of Valentine's Day is when all of the chocolate goes on 50% of sale the next day.  With that said, the girls and I decided we were just going to do Galentine's Day and watch a movie.  We had originally intended on seeing How To Be Single, but decided on Deadpool, which means I'll also bring the mister.  Galentine's Day + the mister = just friends day.

EXERCISE.  I haven't exercised in four days with my schedule.  I'm definitely feeling some exercise withdrawal, but you know what's weird?  I'm physically slimmer these two days than I've been the days I'm exercising.  I think when I work out, my muscles swell and I physically get bulkier.  Either that, or they've had a few days to sort of rest.  Either way, I'm at my smallest when I'm not exercising, which is pretty ironic.  I've also gained a lot of weight as I've gotten into regular exercise.  I'm up nearly 15 lbs, encroaching on 20!

SHOPPING.  All that weight gain/muscle mass goes somewhere.  I've outgrown 2, nearly 3 pant sizes, so I'm going shopping today to get some new pants that will fit.  Recall that part of Mean Girls where Regina George says, "These sweatpants are all that fit me right now."  THIS IS MY LIFE.  Except my sweatpants are kind of tight so I've resigned myself to this pair of very stretchy booty shorts so I get to eat when I go out.  I'm happy about getting stronger (I've gained 2" in my waist that's all muscle mass under my body fat), but it's a little disheartening when my clothes stop fitting.  Oh well.  TREAT YO SELF.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Necessary Skincare Oils



Facial oils are having a major moment in skincare right now.  Nearly every major skincare brand out there has their own oil mix that, unfortunately, often comes with a hefty price tag.  My major problem with commercial facial oils is that the beneficial ingredients touted by the product are often diluted down by caprylic/capric triglyceride (emollient), jojoba oil and/or olive oil (carrier oils).  These ingredients are still beneficial for the skin, but I refuse to pay $40+ for products that are comprised mostly of solvent or carrier oils. 

My solution for the past 6+ years has been to use pure oils.  It's a lot less expensive and I get all of the benefits of that oil without dilution.  For the record, I have sensitive and combination/dry skin.  These are my top 4 oils that moisturize, soften, and don't break me out. 

Argan Oil  If you're only going to buy one, pick argan oil.  This is great for skin and hair.  I put a lot of this on when my skin is acting up and let it soak in under my regular moisturizer overnight.  In about 2 days, my skin is usually recovered.  I pat this on when my skin is damp post-shower or after a hydrating mist.  The Josie Maran argan oil is overpriced so I just refill the bottle with an alternative brand.  As long as the oil is organic, cold pressed, and 100% argan oil, you're golden.



Jojoba Oil  I get my jojoba oil for $7.99 at Trader Joe's, but you can find it at most health shops for about the same price.  I like to mix this with argan oil sometimes to change things up a bit for my face.  I also mix this with my body lotion to get even more moisture in the winter.  The mister even uses a 50/50 mix of jojoba/argan + drops of essential oils for his beard!



Rosehip Seed Oil  I alternate between rosehip seed oil and argan oil as my primary facial oil.  This one has a unique scent to it that might not be for everyone.  I use this the same way I use my argan oil: patted on to clean, damp skin.  It's lighter than argan oil and a good day time alternative.  My skin feels immediately silky after putting this on.  

Tea Tree Oil  I only use tea tree oil when I have blemishes.  I prefer it to salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide containing face washes.  I dip a clean cotton bud in and just dot it onto the areas that need it.  I don't find this drying and it does the trick!

Honorable mentions: coconut oil and avocado oil.  I like coconut oil for makeup removal or slathered on right after a shower.  Thus far, I have found avocado oil really moisturizing, but haven't determined whether it caused a few small blemishes (it is slightly comedogenic).  Either way, they're both excellent for body, if not for face.  I'm looking into grapeseed and sweet almond oil next!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

North, There Be Mountains



"If you can see the mountains, you can find North."

My boyfriend said this during one of the first times we drove through San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles County.  Mountains are a fairly common sight, but the view we get down in the valley never fails to amaze me.  I grew up in New York and then lived in Philadelphia for six years - I had only ever known mountains as foreign entities in pictures.



Los Angeles builds low because it's riddled with earthquakes.  The city's skyline seems to hug the ground as we pass it on CA-110 for I am used to New York's skyscrapers.  The low buildings in the San Gabriel Valley mean these rugged peaks are always visible, like a wall built by Nature to separate us from beyond.  If I use my memory, I can almost feel the arid texture of the dirt and gravel underneath my feet.  When it is a foggy or when a storm comes, the peaks are shrouded by a curtain of clouds, but I see their bases. 

Some days, I am stuck in my laboratory with no windows.  I grow frustrated because things can fail before they work.  It is then that I crave the mountains the most because chasing my breath as I ascend them seems more feasible than chasing experimental success.  Instead, I pace the corridors of my work space.  I feel like I'm going in circles.  

So I go outside.  I breathe the fresh air.  I get my bearings.  And I look North.