Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pure Barre Update

Well, there isn't much to update on.  I haven't lost a single pound.  I've been trying to eat better, cutting back on bread, but there has been no difference.  I've been trying to go as often as possible, but I just haven't had as much time as I liked.  Surprisingly (or not), not having enough time doesn't correlate with an increase in time put towards research.  You would think I would be more effective in my research, getting things to finally work, but that's not true.  Anyways, I finally made it to the gym yesterday to get in some cardio and it felt really good.  I used my new ipod touch (which is fabulous) and did about 35 minutes of cardio on the elliptical.  I was hoping to go to pure barre today, but again, NO TIME.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Organization Personality

I usually avoid these personality quizes just because their questions are so vague or unrelated to me that I don't even know how to answer them.  But, I decided to take this one.  I'm not sure if this is a compliment or not, but I'm a librarian.  What exactly does that mean??

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hand washing vs The Dishwasher

Apparently there is a difference.  I KNEW IT!  Check out this article from Apartment Therapy.  I've heard people say this and argue against it as well.  But, in my opinion, it makes total sense.  I've always been in favor of a dishwasher, making sure the place we have has one (in addition to a washer and dryer).  Not only is it super convenient, but health wise, a dishwasher prevents the spread of bacteria.  The water gets hotter than the water you could ever stand to hand wash dishes with, and the dishwashing liquid you use contains chemicals that kill bacteria (some contain bleach), and you save water (and your hands) while doing it.  So for those who want to save the planet, a dishwasher will help you get there.

I've gotten into many a debate with people who don't even believe in washing dishes with hot water.  They wash dishes with cold...saying the water doesn't even get that hot to kill bacteria, so it makes no sense.  Well my dear...that's why the dish washer was invented.  And if you don't have one...boiling water from a tea kettle does the same thing...just more time consuming!

I have also tested first hand the effect of hand washing dishes of a sick person vs dishwashering them (my new word).  The germs don't die and you spread that cold to everyone else that uses those dishes, or that uses the sponge to clean those dishes.  It never fails.  When I've washed everything in the dishwasher however, no one gets sick...unless the sick person coughs on you and insists on sitting next to you (then you're screwed).

Also, for those that use the kitchen sink like a bathroom sink...DON'T DO IT.  Geez!  Men, listen up!  No matter what you do to clean that sink, unless you bleach the hell out of it, it doesn't get clean.  So, unless you want to breath in chemical fumes, please take your nasty feet and dirty teeth and use the bathroom sink to wash your feet and brush your teeth.  Thank you!

FYI: Sponges are the the most contaminated items in your house, after door handles. Think about it...pretty disgusting if you ask me.

Most dishwashers today are energy savors (look for the blue sticker), unless you have a really old one, which by now has probably gone kaput, if you're lucky ;-).  Even if your water heater temperature is set at 120 degrees (the standard temperature most are set at) or less, the dishwasher is designed to pre-warm the water to about 140 degrees, which is the temperature needed to kill bacteria.    

Monday, June 25, 2012

Weekend Fun

So, I managed to get most of what I wanted accomplished this weekend, except for the most important thing, my pre-advancement proposal.  I'm in a weird place with my brain right now, and just don't really care at the moment.

But, here are some snapshots of my weekend, aka work avoidance.  Pictures of new and improved balcony to come :)

The sight of flowers brightens up my day.  Love flower shopping.

New babies are seat belted in for protection :)

I don't normally take pictures of myself...but I really liked my scarf :D

A great weekend isn't complete until I go to my ultra-favorite store, TJMaxx.  Now, if I had the room for this, I would have definitely bought it.  How much cheese do you think I could grate with that? 

Don't worry...I didn't buy these, I bought tons of other stuff.  Mwahahaha.  My house is now officially packed and I have no room for anything. cabinet space left. Zero!

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. It's always such a disappointment when I go. They swear their products are made fresh everyday, but everytime, either their strawberries are molded (YES, MOLDED) or their green apples are brown inside. What the heck? They also had a section complete with Dog treats. Great, now human and dog treats are being sold together. Does anyone else seem to find this a bit ODD?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy Friday

Friday is finally here.  I have so much to do, and yet, when it's the weekend, things seem to be so much better.  Here is a checklist of all the things I need to get done this weekend.  Maybe if I publish it, I will
actually be forced to do it :D

1) Pure Barre 10:45am on Sat. and Sun.
2) Clean house - vacuum, dust, wipe kitchen floor (why does the kitchen floor always get so dirty?)
3) Fold ALL the laundry (there's a lot...sigh)
4) Go to Lowe's - buy flowers
5) Go to JoAnn Fabrics - buy material to fix dress (I've been trying to do this for months now)
6) Go grocery shopping
7) Get gas for car
8) Clean balcony, plant flowers
9) Work on Pre-advancement proposal (God...I've been avoiding this)
10) Lunch with a friend on Sun.
11) Pay the bills
12) Hem husbands pants (I've been trying to do this too, for 4 months now)
13) Make time to see the ocean, even for 5 minutes (I always want to do this, but it never happens)

Clearly nothing on this list, other than working on my pre-advancement is priority, but who said I had my priority's straight...ha!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Style Inspiration - Skirts

Skirts skirts skirts...they're in season and oh so beautiful.  It's hard to find the right one, with the right price, but I love these styles.



 Look Book

I have to say, I love the jacket as well, just not the feathery mess around her neck and wrist.
EDB Designs

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hijabi Figure Skater

When I was younger I used to figure skate.  I don't think I was ever that good, but I loved it.  I couldn't wait to get to the rink.  I would count the minutes until I could get there.  When I would open the doors, and run down the stairs, my heart would be pounding until I could see the rink and feel the cold on my face.  I would impatiently wait in line till the doors would open, counting the seconds until I could lace up my skates and fly across the ice.  My parents never had the money to really put me through lessons, so all that I learned was from my mom (she used to skate) or from watching people.  My summers consisted of living at the ice rink.  Any chance I got, I would make my mom take us (my brother always came too).  I was getting good (so I think), but all great things come to an end.  College started (and I chose an education instead...psht) and I had a bad fall on the ice and well, life goes on.  I always dreamt of some day becoming a professional figure skater.  Deep down, I still do.  

It's been such a long time since i've been on the ice.  I think it's about time I get back on :) its been years since my injury and well...I think it would do me good :) Now, where are my skates?

I came across this awesome interview of Zahra Lari, a 17 year old girl from the gulf who, wait for it...wait for it (well, you've already seen the picture) a hijabi figure skater.  WOAH!  When I saw her picture, I was just amazed.  Most people may not think its a big deal, but when you dream of doing what she's doing and then you see her compete in hijab...well its amazing.  She competed in the European Cup and finished in the top 15 (if you ask me, that's awesome).  She hopes to some day compete in the 2014 winter Olympics.  I am so in awe of her.  I wish I could have had the opportunity to do something like this.  I'm rooting for her and really hope that I get to see her at the Olympics.  You make other hijabi girls dreams come true Zahra :) Way to go!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

I just finished reading "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot.  This was a book suggested by the professor of the Microbiology class I was TAing this past quarter (yes, grades are in and I'm done for now).

I will try to not give too much information about the book as this is definitely one book everyone should read.  It is written for the general audience, so you need no background in science to understand what it going on.

This book was the story of how the HeLa cell line came about.  Almost all in vitro scientific research is performed on living cells that are cultured outside of the human body in dishes or flasks, supplemented with nutrient rich media to sustain them.  All cell lines that are used in research have names given to them, either abbreviations for when the cell line was produced/generated, researchers initials (as with some of the cell lines in our lab), randomly generated numbers (which aren't really that random) or in the case of HeLa, the patients first and last initials.  The book is written in the form of a story, going back and forth between the past of the present.  It talks bout Henrietta's life (as much as is known) and the life of her children now.  How she got sick, how her cells were taken without her knowledge, how her family knew nothing about the fact that Henrietta's cells came to be so famous and how the author and Deborah (Henrietta's daughter) went on a fact finding mission to unravel the truth of what actually happened.

HeLa is an immortal cell line (which means it never dies, as long as it has the "food" that it needs) that has been used in so many different areas of research, from helping to generate the polio vaccine, to understanding AIDS. It was the first cell line to be mass produced and sold throughout the world. It was really the first cell line that gave science its big push into finding cures and treatments for various diseases.

I never knew anything about HeLa, where it was from, who it was from, or how it came about.  I remember last year, one of my professors in lecture said something about HeLa, but it was so fast in passing, that I didn't even pay attention to it or remember what he said.  But, this book really explains a lot about the struggles, the lies, the lack of ethics and moral that went into the generation of this cell line. Her story really makes you realize the crimes that have been done against so many in the name of research and science. It also makes you realize how important every aspect of research really is and how more really needs to be done to protect and compensate the patients whom these cells are taken from.

The book doesn't end the way I hoped it would. Of course, this isn't a fairy tale, it's life.  I just wish there was more that could be done for the family.

Friday, June 15, 2012

DIY Bird Feeders

I have often thought about having a bird feeder on my balcony.  We aren't allowed to have anything attached to the walls or the railings (and then again we aren't allowed to have pets including fish, and I have 2), but I think I could figure something out.  I've often seen hummingbirds come around my flowers and even butterfly's.  It would be lovely to have some little birds or finches.  I don't like the standard bird feeders you see in stores, as they are big, bulky and just plain ugly.  But, as I was combing through pinterest, I came across this.  What a great idea, and cute too might I add. I am definitely going to give this a try (when I have time, sigh).

Then again, I will have to think about attracting unwanted neighbors to my balcony.  I can only imagine the mess they would make.  I don't have many trees nearby, so I think I'm safe from squirrels (so I think).  But maybe I should just see what happens :D

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cord Organizers

I hate it when you're using a hair dryer or straightener and the cords are all over the place.  You wrap the cord around the handle of the hair dryer, but not only does it still look messy, but it never stays.  If you're lucky to have a hair dryer with a cord rewinder, great, but if you're like me, you don't.  My iron thank God has one, but nothing else in my house does.

I came across this great product called Applecore on It's a cord un-tangler, organizer, whatever you want to call it.  I am totally in love with them.  I got them in all 3 sizes in 2 sets of colors, black (for the hubby) and pink (for moi).

- Organizes your cords (woohoo!)
- Comes in great/cute colors and useful sizes.
- The small size for earphones is lightweight and is great to keep them un-tangled and in working shape (wrapping headphones can break the wires inside).
- Washable (in the off chance that they get dirty).

- The rubber core attracts dust (since its made of "sticky" rubber).
- The lighter colors (such as pink) get dirty easily.
- The largest size isn't big enough for appliances with longer and bigger cords.
Even with the hair dryer, I can't wrap all the cord around the core, but again, I leave enough of a length that I need when using the dryer, so I don't need all of it wrapped.





 I was watching "P.S. I Love You" - one of my fav's, on a flight :)

Weekend Trip to Atlanta, Georgia

I know it's been a while since I've posted anything (sorry to all my fans), but the last few weeks have been very hectic. School has been coming to an end, which means, grading, grading, grading.  I got sick with some strange something a rather.  I also just realized yesterday that I was supposed to have a pre-advancement meeting with my, so far, non existent committee of 5 members.  So, panic mode is in full effect. Lovely how things creep up on you.

As for the past weekend, we went to the "south"...Atlanta, Georgia.  My husband had a genetics conference to go to for his work, and I decided to tag along, taking this opportunity to visit a new state.  In other words, I took a vacation, while the hubby had to sit in seminars and talks.

I hadn't really planned on seeing much while there, since I knew the hubby wouldn't be too free, and I really didn't feel like sight seeing without him.  I also hadn't really taken the time to plan the trip like I normally would, and decided to just wing it.  I normally get maps and all sorts of details of where to go, what to see, how to get there, transportation while there...but this time, I think I was too stressed to really care.  But, it turned out great.  We were there for 3 days and managed to squeeze in a lot of things.  We took the metro everywhere, walked A LOT, met some cool people and tried some great food.  

Here are some pictures from the trip. I've uploaded a lot to make up for 2 weeks of inactivity. Enjoy :)

 It was beautiful up there.  As you can tell, from the fact that I could take a pic of the wing, we sat ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK.  Which meant Dramamine for me! Woohoo...drugs, yum! 

 "Limousine" service for us...I felt like a celebrity...not!

We stayed at the Loews.  I really had a hard time not thinking of Lowe's the hardware store, haha.

Hotel Lobby. Fancy shmancy...oooo....

 First stop, The Underground.

Escalator to heaven.  I wish.  But they had some crazy long escalators in Atlanta. 

MARTA metro station

A definite must if you are in downtown Atlanta.  

Fresh Atlantic Salmon.  I've always had Pacific Salmon (living on the west coast), so this was a must on our list.  It tasted the same though, haha, but nonetheless good! 

Southern hospitality really does exist.  They gave us the tea for free.  Where/when do you ever get that?


Yes, yes, her house! The author of "Gone With the Wind".

Margaret Mitchell (pre-book portrait)

Actual portrait of Scarlet O'Hara, from the movie, Gone With the Wind. Did you know, Margaret Mitchell originally was going to name her Pansy O'Hare. How awful would that have been?

Vela's Sailor Chic :) 

 Einstein's, another great place to eat.

 Real southern food: green fried tomatoes.  OMG, these were good.  We also tried fried okra...yum.

 Shrimp and grits.  I am not a fan of grits by any means, but this was really good.

 Piedmont Park

 Yes, that person you see lying on the bench is my husband.  He passed out on me in a beautiful garden. 

 I had to take a picture of our very cool shoes.  Ahem, cough...Puma's.  

 The "edible" garden.

 The botanical garden had a huge conservatory with a rainforest. It was amazing.

 Quails :)

 Orchid center. Totally thought of two very special people while I was here.  They know who they are.

 High altitude conservatory.  It was so moist in there, I was having a hard time breathing. 

 Out of all fairness to the hubs, I passed out for 15 minutes on this lawn, haha.

 Rose garden


 Atlanta's only mall

 Their super market is called Public's.  It was expensive, this is all we could afford ;)

 Kilwin's is apparently very popular over there.  Their ice cream was amazing. 

 Experts at using the metro...psht. We totally knew how to put money on the "Breeze" cards.

 The Smith House.  A plantation home from the 1840's.

 A Georgia kitty :)

 The kitchen was outdoors. Just imagine how hot it would get in the summer standing over a stove. Guess who would be in the kitchen? Of course, the poor slave women. 

 Slave quarters.  It was really sad to see how small the cabin was.  This cabin was home to about 13 men and women.  It was a one room cabin, with no furniture of any sort.  There was a very sad feeling inside that cabin.  

 The Swan House.  Built in 1928 for the Inman family, who were heirs to a cotton brokerage fortune.  It was a beautiful house.  Quite different from the Smith home, which was a more middle class house.

 Georgia Aquarium. 
The world's largest aquarium, with more than 10 million gallons of water. WOW!

 The fishi's loved him! I tell him our fishi's love him too, but he thinks i'm crazy.

 Trying to blow the jellyfish away, HAHA.

 Moon jellyfish

 Belluga whales.  They were beautiful. They were also trying to mate while we were there...quite traumatizing. 

 What do you want?

 I thought about getting this as a souvenir for my dad, but it was $14.  

 My souvenir :) 

 Yes, mom, I touched sharks and stingray's.  

 Dolphins :) we got to the aquarium too late, so we missed all the dolphin shows.  But that's was still great to see them.

 We are so cool!

 Our last day there and it was pouring rain.  A warm rain, but with a cool breeze to keep you sane. This was our view from the hotel.

 On our walk (in the rain) towards the MLK Historic Site.

The MLK memorial was in the eastern part of town.  It was interesting to see the drastic difference between midtown where our hotel was, and the poorer parts of town. 

The eternal flame, which is always lit. 
"The Eternal Flame symbolizes the continuing effort to realize Dr. King’s ideals for the “Beloved Community” which requires lasting personal commitment that cannot weaken when faced with obstacles."

 Burial site of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King.  They were buried next to each other :)

 Ebenezer Baptist Church. The church where Dr. King was baptized and later ordained as its minister. His father and grandfather were also pastor's at this church.

 It was quite peaceful inside and they were playing some of his sermons on the speaker.  Before we went into the church, I actually thought there was a service, but in the late 90's the church was closed for repairs and restoration to return the church to the way it was back in the 1960's.  A new Ebenezer Church was opened across the street.

 The home where Martin Luther King was born.

 Heading back to the hotel to grab our bags and run to the airport.

 I found this very interesting.  There were directions on how to cross the street at every street corner.  The stupid pedestrians in California could totally use this. 

The Atlanta Airport had a non denominational chapel where we could pray.  It was so convenient, as it is always so hard to find a place to pray, especially in an airport (without attracting unwanted stares and comments). 

Yogurt parfait pre-boarding.  Good times.



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