Thursday, September 29, 2011

Birthday Adventure

First, I'm about a week or so late on this post. I really don't have any excuse for not posting much last week except I didn't really feel like it. I apologize for ignoring my blog, and hope it won't happen again (unless grad school makes me).

Anyway, a couple of Saturdays ago Matt & I went to the Ft Worth Botanical Gardens. During the summer, we got a groupon for the Japanese Gardens. While the other gardens are free, this one had an admission cost. And wow---I can see why! It was absolutely beautiful and Matt & I had fun walking around, feeding the [ginormous] Koi fish, and just relaxing after a week of work & school.

So much greenery!
The fish... there were so many throughout the park and they were all decently sized

I liked the little turtle family :)

We walked around some of the other gardens, but as it was September in Texas, most of them were not as pretty/colorful. We will definitely have to go back in the spring! 

After our adventure in the gardens, we headed back home and waited for our families to arrive. We then went to Chef Point Cafe (which you may remember from this post) for my birthday dinner! We all really enjoyed our food, then came back to the apartment for gifts.

I had to blow out my invisible birthday candles!
One of our friends threw a little something in for Matt that he wasn't too pleased about. Hint- it had the word "Twilight" in it
Overall, it was a great birthday and I really enjoyed all the time spent with Matt and our families! :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How Pinteresting Wednesday!

Joining up again with the link-up! You can follow me here.

Let's see, what should the theme of the week be? Personally, I need some serious inspiration/happy/funny things, so we're going with that!

Because everyone needs more baby hippo in their lives

And on that note, everyone have an AMAZING Wednesday! :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Look what I did!

Right before I started grad school, I somehow stumbled upon this fun little website called Wordle. It's this nifty free site where you enter in/copy & paste the text and then it creates a word cloud for you. I had tons of free credit at Shutterfly, so I decided to make a poster of our wedding vows.

I essentially copy and pasted the text from our wedding and then it spit back a design. The cool thing about Wordle is you can personalize the word cloud-- change the colors, the shape, font, etc so you can really make it whatever you want. They decide the sizes of the words based on the frequency it appears in the text. Here are some of the mock-ups I made before deciding on the final one:

 Matt and I picked the last one you see, uploaded it to Shutterfly, and had them print it out poster-size. The resolution of the upload wasn't perfect. For instance, if it was a picture we had printed at that size, it would look horrible. However, for the text, it looked great! Here's the final product hanging above our bed!

I promise I am not getting paid for this by Wordle or Shutterfly. It was just a fun, cheap little project I did and we really like how it turned out. It's cool to see the words that were the most prominent in our wedding vows on a daily basis :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How Pinteresting Wednesday!

I'm linking up again with The Vintage Apple for

 Today's self-declared theme: cooking. I told my husband a few weeks ago that he pretty much never needs to buy me a cookbook due to the plethora of recipes on the internet, a lot of which I've found through Pinterest. Thank you social networking for keeping us well-fed!

How about some home-made broccoli cheddar soup? Maybe it will start to get colder in Texas...
Glazed donut muffin... oh yum!
Absolutely delicious blueberry buttermilk coffee cake. Make it this weekend. Seriously
One of my favorite combos-- grilled cheese & tomato soup, but fancified
Baked chicken & spinach pasta.. looks yummy!
And to end on a(nother) sweet note, mint chocolate chip cookies!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Year in review

So typically these posts come at the end of the calendar year, but today marks my birthday, so I wanted to reminisce on everything that has happened in year 22 of my life:

I celebrated my birthday last year with a lot of close friends and my brother in College Station

I attended my last fightin' Texas Aggie football game as a current student

Photo credit: Katie F.
 I wrote a honors thesis, all 60-some odd pages.
My desk looked like this routinely
 I got to present said thesis at a conference in Las Vegas and went to see Beatles LOVE with my mom & aunt!
I graduated from A&M...

Got married and all of the events that go with it (bachelorette party, bridal shower, wedding shower, etc)
Photo credit: Kasey Lynn Photography

 Had an amazing honeymoon at Walt Disney World!

Moved up to the DFW area

And have successfully completed my first few weeks of grad school, dealing with traffic, undergrads, and one exam. 

Wow, what a busy year! I so hope this year isn't quite as action-packed, but we'll see!

I'm so excited it's finally the weekend! Matt & I are going to the horticulture gardens, then we're meeting up with both of our families for dinner. Tomorrow we're both getting baptized, so will then be celebrating that! I'm so looking forward to spending all this quality time with our families and looking forward to year 23 :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Intro to Academia

As most of you know if you have been following my blog for any amount of time, I just started my first year in grad school this past month. One of my classes is Proseminar, which is basically like Intro to Grad School. This past Tuesday we discussed the business that is publishing in peer-reviewed journals. Now, don't go to sleep on me yet! I know those journals may not bring up fond memories for some of you. But, the prof gave us this little jewel that I wanted to share with you.

Seriously-- read it. It's hilarious!

Prof. Art Kives
Journal of Overblown Results

Dear Dr. Kives:

Enclosed is our latest version of MS # 85-02-022-RRRRR, that is, the re-re-re-revised version of our paper. Choke on it. We have again rewritten the entire manuscript from start to finish. We even changed the damned running head! Hopefully we have suffered enough by now to satisfy even your bloodthirsty reviewers. I shall skip the usual point-by-point description of every single change we made in response to the critiques. After all, it is fairly clear that your reviewers are less interested in details of scientific procedure than in working out their personality problems and sexual frustrations by seeking some sort of demented glee in the sadistic and arbitrary exercise of tyrannical power over hapless authors like ourselves who happen to fall into their clutches.

We do understand that, in view of the misanthropic psychopaths you have on your editorial board, you need to keep sending them papers, for if they weren't reviewing manuscripts they'd probably be out mugging old ladies or clubbing baby seals to death. Still, from this batch of reviews, reviewer C was clearly the most hostile, and we request that you not ask her or him to review this revision. Indeed, we have mailed letter bombs to four or five people we suspected of being reviewer C, so if you send the manuscript back to them the review process could be unduly delayed. Some of the reviewers comments we couldn't do anything about. For example, if (as reviewer C suggested), several of my ancestry were indeed drawn from another species, it is too late to change that. Other suggestions were implemented, however, and the paper has improved and benefited. Thus, you suggested that we shorten the manuscript by 5 pages, and we were able to do this very effectively by altering the margins and printing the paper in a different font with a smaller typeface. We agree with you that the paper is much better this way. One perplexing problem was dealing with suggestions # 13-28 by reviewer B. As you may recall (that is, if you even bother reading the reviews before doing your decision letter), that review listed 16 works that he / she felt we should cite in this paper. These were on a variety of different topics, none of which had any relevance to our work that we could see. Indeed, one was an essay on the Spanish-American War from a high school literary magazine. The only common thread was that all 16 were by the same author, presumably someone reviewer B greatly admires and feels should be more widely cited . To handle this, we have modified the introduction and added, after the review of relevant literature, a subsection entitled "Review of Irrelevant Literature" that discusses these articles and also duly addresses some of the more asinine suggestions by other reviewers.

We hope that you will be pleased with this revision and finally recognize how urgently deserving of publication this work is. If not, then you are an unscrupulous, depraved monster with no shred of human decency. You ought to be in a cage. May whatever heritage you come from be the butt of the next round of ethnic jokes. If you do accept it, however, we wish to thank you for your patience and wisdom throughout this process and to express our appreciation of your scholarly insights. To repay you, we would be happy to review some manuscripts for you; please send us the next manuscript that any of these reviewers sends to your journal. Assuming you accept this paper, we would also like to add a footnote acknowledging your help with this manuscript and to point out that we liked this paper much better the way we originally wrote it but you held the editorial shotgun to our heads and forced us to chop, reshuffle, restate, hedge, expand, shorten, and in general convert a meaty paper into stir-fried vegetables. We couldn't or wouldn't, have done it without your input.
Iam Grantless
Dear Dr. Grantless:
Thank you for your thoughtful response to my decision letter concerning the above-referenced piece of excrement. I have asked several experts who specialize in the area of research you dabble in to have a look at your pathetic little submission, and their reviews are enclosed. I shall not waste my LaserJet ink reiterating the details of their reviews, but please allow me to highlight some of the more urgent points of contention they raise:
1. Reviewer A suggests that you cite his work EXCLUSIVELY in the introduction. He has asked me to remind you that he spells his name with a final "e" (ie, Scumbage), not as you have referenced him in the last version.
2. Reviewer C indicates that the discussion can be shortened by at least 5 pages. Given the fact that the present Discussion is only three pages long, I am not certain how to advise you. Perhaps you might consider eliminating all speculation and original ideas.
3. Reviewer D has asked that you consider adding her as a co-author. Although she has not directly contributed to the manuscript, she has made ​​numerous comments that have, in her view, significantly improved the paper. Specifically, she believes that her suggestions concerning the reorganization of the acknowledgments paragraph were especially important. Please note that she spells her name with an em-dash, and not with the customary hyphen.
4. Reviewer B has asked that I inform you that, even though his suggestions were not mentioned in my decision letter, this doesn't mean that he is an imbecile.
5. My own reading of the manuscript indicates that the following problems remain:
a. By "running head," we do not mean a picture of your son's face with legs attached. Please provide a four-or five-word title for the paper that summarizes the report's most important point. May I suggest, "Much Ado About Nothing "?
b. Please make certain that you have adhered to APA stylebook guidelines for publication format. Please direct your attention to the section entitled, "Proper Format for an Insignificant Paper" (1995, p.46).
c. Please submit any revision of the paper on plain, blank stationery. Submitting the article on Yale University letterhead will not increase your chances of having the article accepted for publication.
d. Please double-check the manuscript for spelling and grammatical errors. Our experience at the Archives is that "cycle-logical" slips through most spell-check programs undetected.
e. Although I am not a quantitative scientist, it is my understanding that the "F" in F-test does not stand for a 4-letter word. Please correct the manuscript accordingly.
Yours Sincerely,

Prof. Art Kives

PS If your original submission had been as articulate as your most recent letter, we might have avoided this interchange. It is too bad that tenure and promotion committees at your university do not have access to authors' correspondence with editors, for it is clear that you would be promoted on the basis of your wit alone. Unfortunately, it's the publication that counts, and I'm sorry to say that the Archives is not prepared to accept this revision. We would be perfectly ambivalent about receiving a ninth revision from you .

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How Pinteresting Wednesday!

Per my usual Wednesdays, I'm not driving to campus. Hooray! So I figured I would join in this link up for the first time.

 Oh yes, I have joined the world of Pinterest. When I go on the site as a break from work in the TA office, people definitely look at me weird. I guess those silly TA's haven't learned the amazingness that is Pinterest. If you want to join, let me know and I can invite you. Just comment leaving your email address. And feel free to follow me if you aren't already! :)

As my birthday is on Saturday, I figured I would do a wish-list theme!

I plan on eating some Spinach & Artichoke dip Friday night
Maybe someone can make me a chocolate & peanut butter M&M pie...

I would like a new cross necklace-- mine broke a few months ago :(
I'm in LOVE with these calculus TOMS
Wouldn't mind a new purse, either
I also adore this trench coat!
Someone can buy me this library and transport it to my apartment
I also wouldn't mind an all-expenses paid trip to Rothenberg, Germany!
So, if you feel out of the kindness of your heart to give me any of these (sometimes outlandish) gifts, feel free! :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Trip back home

This past weekend, Matt & I headed down to Houston to spend the weekend with my parents and go to the Texas A&M vs. SMU football game. [Dude. SEC drama. Crazy Baylor] It was the first time I had gone to visit my parents' house since the wedding chaos so it was the first time it wasn't really 'home' to me. 

These past 3-4 months have definitely been full of transitions. Marriage, grad school, financially independent, moving twice... it's crazy & a lot to get used to all at once. But going back to Houston and then going back to College Station, places I had considered home for 4 years, it just wasn't anymore. I felt pretty old, walking around campus with Matt and 'reminiscing' about our college memories.

It was only 4 months ago that we graduated, but I digress.

Matt & I currently live in our moderately-sized 1 bedroom apartment. On some levels it does feel like home, like I cannot wait to get back following my late graduate classes. But I still find myself dreaming about a future home, a place with a yard so we can get a dog, do more drastic work to it to really make it our own, a place with non-apartment grade appliances. A place where I don't hear when my neighbors take a shower. Some place more permanent, more home-like and less apartment-like. 

Sigh... ; Source

 That is definitely a few years down the road. But all this got me thinking just about the concept that is home. When we were at my parents' house, a few aspects still felt like home-- just hanging out with my family around the table, watching movies, etc. I am currently sitting alone in our apartment while Matt's at work, wishing he would come home because right now it just feels like an apartment with our things in it. But when he's home and we eat dinner together, hang out and relax, it is definitely more home-like.



I know it's corny, and I apologize for the cheesiness. But sometimes it is definitely good to have those "home-is-where-the-heart-is" moments. Keeps things in perspective, especially with all the fires here in Texas. It shows you what's important, who's important. Gives me some patience while I dream about our house that is a few years in the future.