Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday #60: Hello, November

Self-portrait 11/12/17.

Hello, friends!  Or are we strangers?  I've been absent for about a month.  Here's a self portrait -- I cut my hair awhile ago and I've gained a lot of weight.  Same person inside, a little different wrapping.  For the past month, my camera has barely been touched and my social life was basically nonexistent.   It definitely felt awkward to be in front of the lens today.  To be honest, I think I needed a break from social media and blogging for this time as well.  By now, you all know that if it feels forced, I won't write here, though I'd attribute most of my absence to putting graduate school as my first priority.

I'm currently writing this on my couch, listening to the new Taylor Swift album, and soft lights in my living room (see below).  I'll be making dinner soon: pasta with meat sauce and brussel sprouts cooked with pancetta.  A little bit fatty?  Yes.  Satisfying?  100%!  For now, let's have a catch up, shall we?

Fairy lights in my living room.


For the past few weeks, I've had my nose to the grindstone, poring through the scientific literature, reading, and writing.  I handed my written proposals in this past week and my exam is coming up on Thursday.  However, everything in graduate school is a learning experience.  For all the stress that writing proposals amounted to,  I've emerged from as a more efficient writer, a better read scientist, and with a lot more new ideas percolating in my head.  In addition, my advisor put me on a new project in September, which has kept me busy.  There's been a lot of trial and error (always more to come in research), but it's been one of my favorite things I've studied in my graduate career.  The new research has reinvigorated my relationship with science as well as opened up new intellectual avenues that I hope to have the chance to pursue!  A downside to the new project is going back and forth between two campus in a sprawled out city.  However, I quite like the change of scenery, the new environment, and also, having wonderful meals out in Los Angeles with my friend.  A local, family run pasta place is our current favorite spot!

Clams in white wine sauce with spaghetti.


Fall has finally arrived in Southern California!  Personally, it's still too warm for me.  When I work from home, I have the windows wide open to let cool air into the house.  I can't wait for temperatures to drop even further.  Aside from the cooler weather, I'm enjoying the arrival of other fall treats such as the new Taylor Swift album (it's catchy and fun, but derivative) and Stranger Things 2 (absolutely fantastic).  Last year, I started to look for Venus, the winter star, in the horizon as I walked home each night.

I can't believe it's already mid-November.  The holidays will be upon us and there is so much work to do!  I'll be in town for Thanksgiving, but not sure what I'll do yet.  If I have to, I'll work in lab to push things forward.  It's so surreal to think that I am almost at the end of my Ph.D.  

I'll keep it short and sweet this evening.  Honestly, life has just been work so there isn't much else to talk about that won't be repetitive.  My days have consisted of coffee, work, literature, science, and exercise when time and energy resources permit.  I got to see my friend today for brunch so that was a nice highlight!  If you're still reading after the long absence, leave me a note in the comments.

Questions for this Sunday:  
What is your favorite thing about autumn?  
What did you think of the new Taylor Swift album?
Are you watching Stranger Things 2?


  1. Love the shot of the fairy lights! You are so close to the end and then FREEDOM! Best of luck with all the work.

    1) Cooler temperatures and usually it rains
    2) I like it better than her previous album. I actually think her lyrics are worse than before, but there are some songs that I quite like the sound of
    3) Yes I watched it all over the course of 24hours! It was pretty good. Not sure if it really needs a Season 3 though

    nat // dignifiable

  2. that spaghetti looking yum! and i like your new hair! don't worry about your weight. i think as long as it's not a heavy one then it's okay. just live healthily, yeah? <3 it's so fascinating how we lose time for other stuff, we gained better skill and understanding for other. keep up the spirit to the very end. you can do it!

    i hate that my country doesn't know autumn. instead it's raining in almost daily basis and it's pretty sucks. it can get real cold all of a sudden! not to mention i always drenched wet T^T i haven't listen to TS' new album nor watch stranger things (i haven't even watch the first one T^T) but i'm looking forward for a time to do both! i had quite high expectations!

  3. You don't look like you gained weight! You look fabulous as always. We all need a break from social media from time to time. Your life is not defined by how much you post on social media. It's great that you've found some time to blog :).

    You're so close to getting your PhD! You're just a month away at this point? Glad all of these experiences strengthened your skills. Oh man, LA is a congested city and props to you for going back and forth between the two campuses.

    YASSSSS FALL IS HERE!!! I'm so happy XD. We need a get together soon! Are you staying in town after becoming Dr. Alyse?

    Haha, I am so behind on TV .____." I'm barely catching up on Gotham XD

  4. I agree with everyone ^ you look great, and love your hair too! So psyched and excited for your one step closer to being a Dr! You can do it!

    - The colours are autumn are the best! And crunchy leaves! Before I moved to the UK, there wasn't autumn! (Psst, don't you call it Fall?)
    - I quite like the new TS album, hate Gorgeous though, what about you?
    - I am not watching ST (you knew this already haha) but I binged watched S1 of The Good Place!

    Cherie ✿


    So pleased to see you back, you are such an inspiration with your grad school and photography side gig juggling. And yes to Stranger Things 2, we watched in one weekend and it was SO. DAMN. GOOD.

  6. Sounds like you've been so busy! I'm waiting for Taylor's new album to pop up on Spotify. Tbh I never finished Stranger Things season 1!

  7. YAAAAAAYYYY!! I'm so stoked to see a new update - it's your blog, Alyse so feel free to post as much or as little! I know you're really busy right now but it's almost the end and I know you can do it! Can't wait to hear more about the last stretch of you journey for your PhD!

    My favorite thing about autumn is the cold! I've loved the cold my whole life, so it excites when fall and winter come along. I'm a mess in the summers cause I can't stand the heat. And I LOVE TAYLOR'S NEW ALBUM! I think Delicate and Getaway Car would have to be my favorites. And as for Stranger Things, the new season seems too slow for me - currently stuck on episode 4.

    PS Let's meet up soon! Miss you & Nancy!

  8. I've been wanting to buy indoor string lights - where did you get your's?

    Stranger Things 2 was the best! I really loved it and more character developments so that was nice. Mike and Dustin are still my faves.

    I'm 50/50 with the new Taylor Swift albums but then again, I haven't listened to all of it. What's your favourite song?

  9. You're back! You look fantastic and your dinner plans (from three days ago) sound amazing. I still don't know what I'm making tonight. Take all the time you need for work and school and real life, and goo luck with your exam! As for your questions: My favorite thing about Autumn is the cold air, seriously; I'm honestly not a Taylor Swift fan, and I've never seen Stranger Things, but I might remedy that sometime. I hope you're having a great week Alyse.

  10. Yayy! Welcome back Alyse :D Rooting for you as you near the end of your Ph.D! You look gorgeous in your self-portrait! I love it :D I think it's perfectly ok to step back and take a break from social media. We all need it from time to time, and I think it's because of the amount of attention it requires and how much it interrupts our natural flow of life throughout the day. Going through grad school myself, I can relate to how stressful things can get so I hope you find some time to unwind, detox, and get in touch with yourself from time to time. *hugs* -kim

  11. Nothing wrong with feeling like you have to put blogging and social media on the backburner due to work and grad school. I've been in that situation, too, and my own blogging activity diminished greatly. But once grad school ended, I returned to it! So just know that it's something you can always return to. Just know that we all have been there and understand it :)

    And I am glad autumn finally came to you guys in SoCal! I love autumn because it means I can wear my beloved hoodies again! So I've been stoked about that.

    Anyway, do take care and blog when you can ^^ Enjoy the upcoming holidays and all its festivities.