Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Sweetest Age?

Apparently, 33 is the sweetest age to be.

“The age of 33 is enough time to have shaken off childhood naiveté and the wild scheming of teenaged years without losing the energy and enthusiasm of youth,” psychologist Donna Dawson said in the survey’s findings.

From the New York Daily News review of the study, one person said “It's the sex, definitely,” said Possemato, who is single. “You’re hitting your stride. You’re a lot more confident and you can attract younger guys.” And apparently many of the commenters on said article agree that 30 doesn't look so shabby. Maybe turning 31 isn't too bad?

Friday, March 30, 2012

March Reflect, April Look Forward's almost the end of March and I thought I should reflect on my March goals. Um, well, here is where you can just imagine by sheepish grin and sarcasm when I say March wasn't what I expected.  Here is what went on:

My March goals are the follow (including Lent considerations):
1. No more caffeine. This includes all forms of coffee and soda.     I stuck to this up until Monday of this week when I needed some caffeine to get through an interview and enjoyed a small coffee before a long day of professional development. Otherwise, I stuck to tea which includes a small amount of caffeine but nothing significant. I absolutely love Starbuck's green tea lattes. Delicious.
2. Stay within my calorie range via It's the way the weight started going down and it needs to continue.     I did a much better job than previous months but the visit to Kentucky was all about the fun and less about the counting calories. Back on point now though and have a month to reach my goal.
3. No more free work food. I can participate in the initial lunch potluck but no treats after the end of that lunch hour.     Yes, I did this! It was actually something that I relied on heavily through a St. Patrick's Day Potluck, free event food, and even orientation freebies.
4. Workout three times per week. Ehh...I did return to the gym!
5. In bed by 11pm every night and up at 6:30am on weekdays.     March was not the time for me to start the caffeine or go to bed by 11pm goals. Now that my classwork is over and I have graduation to look forward to, I can set a consistent schedule and feel healthier. 

April Goals....Ready?
1. Finish graduate portfolio, present, and graduate. Done by April 12th, 20th, and 29th. Kind of in shock.
2. Sell/get rid of a majority of my clothes. I have a lot of clothes that are too big/baggy and I am just plain tired of most of my clothes. It was nice dressing up for the professional conference and feeling pulled together.
3. Turn 31. Oy. I wasn't scared of 30, actually I was very much done with my 20's all together, but 31 feels real.
4. Read three books. I have the time, I have the books.
5. Attend the gym or yoga and pilates classes a minimum of 3 times per week. Ideally, one hike would be included on the weekends.  Groupons and gym membership, you know, should help.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Off to the Races!

And by that I mean Louisville, Kentucky! The girls and I are hitting the road for a few (eh, six) hours to make it to an exciting professional conference to attend which includes two interviews for me! The fact that I tried on pretty much every single piece of kind of professional clothing in my clothes says it all! I will be back with posts about:

Red Wings Game
Buying a Professional Wardrobe on a Student Budget
End of Grad School
Louisville Sights & Events
......and more!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Free Will Astrology: Inspired Outburst

Aries Horoscope for week of March 22, 2012
Verticle Oracle card Aries (March 21-April 19)
Not bad for a few weeks' work, or play, or whatever it is you want to call this tormented, inspired outburst. Would it be too forward of me to suggest that you've gone a long way toward outgrowing the dark fairy tale that had been haunting your dreams for so long? And yet all this may just be a warm-up for your next metamorphosis, in which you make an audacious new commitment to becoming what you really want to be when you grow up. 

I know horoscopes are mostly mumbo-jumbo but every week I just keep reading them. When they are inspiring, I listen. When they are weird, I pretty much feel weird so it is mutual. This one is right one though: I am committed to making the transition to true adulthood. I'm so, so ready to be grown up. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Musing of a Grad Student

A collection of thoughts running through my already incredibly scattered and cluttered mind.

1. I think if you live in Michigan long enough, all the cars sound the same. Why? The horrible condition of the roads! I have all new sorts of springs, squeaks, and rumbles in my car that weren't there only a year ago.

2. Building a professional wardrobe is a little ridiculous. You have to buy a "suit" even though you don't plan on ever having a job that requires a suit. Yes, you dress for the job that you want not the job you have but I don't enjoy a suit jacket! And I hope to not work in an institution that requires a suit jacket in an advising office. That being said, I found some cute blazers today (full price, egads!) that will pair well with the thrifting findings from yesterday's adventure (post to come).

3. My sodium intake is a little ridiculous. There are more than 2,000 grams of sodium in a teaspoon of salt. That is close to the maximum that you should have per day.

4. I am craving serious sweaty, hard core gym time. I also have this ridiculous need to procrastinate and my homework and exercise have taken the brunt of it. I figure that after Tuesday, the most ridiculous of days this semester, I will have time to breathe without feeling incredibly guilty.

5. I can't wait to get my body back into regular movement and get some of those muscles going again! Gah.

6. I thought I could go without a microwave for the remainder of my time here. I was wrong. I can't melt chocolate or butter any other way and miss a good TV dinner kind of meal. Thank you, Craigslist, for allowing me to buy a microwave within my puny budget.

7. I drove through Ann Arbor on Saturday right smack dab in the middle of St. Patrick's Day festivities. I heard the girls giggling wildly while boys made big shows and offered every available female yet another drink. While I totally remember being one of those girls, it all seemed so ridiculous and almost offensive as a female to hear them pretend to be stupid just for a guy's attention. We've all been there but man, it feels nice to be a grown-up sometimes.

8. That being said, I miss being a teenager sometimes. The time when things were oddly simple and we all took it for granted.

9. My favorite hair color changed all the names and numbers AND got rid of my color. I am normally "root beer float" and now I am somewhere between a "cinnamon stick" and a "cocoa bean." Can I tell you the ridiculousness of trying to sort through all these food names for a hair color? Well, I felt ridiculous at least.

10. Graduation is coming up. Dun dun dun!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Super Easy Strawberry "Shortcake" Cake

I don't fancy myself any sort of real baker or cook. Every once in a while, I try a little something to satisfy a craving--usually a sweet craving--and every once in a while, it turns out pretty tasty. Here is one of those times!

Strawberry "Shortcake" Cake
One box of vanilla or lemon cake mix
One can of diet lemon lime soda
One cup of plain greek yogurt
1/4 to 1/2 c. powdered sugar
Splash of vanilla extract
Strawberries, cut up in thin slices

Combine cake mix and diet soda. Bake according to directions on box.
While cakes bake, combine greek yogurt, sugar, and vanilla together and let sit in fridge. Macerate slices of strawberries by adding a small sprinkle of sugar and let sit in fridge with the yogurt mixture.

Once cakes are cooled, now comes the assembly! I didn't do any sort of fancy presentation but this would be really pretty on a cake plate. This dessert could also be done in cupcake form or in a brownie pan.

Spread half of the greek yogurt mix onto the first layer and then add a thick layer of strawberries. Top with other cake and repeat the process.

Additions of whipped cream are highly encouraged.

Super simple!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Free Will Astrology: Rowdy Up in Here

Aries Horoscope for week of March 15, 2012
Verticle Oracle card Aries (March 21-April 19)
This week you may learn the real reason the tortoise beat the hare, why two of the three blind mice weren't really blind, and the shocking truth about the relationship between Cinderella's fairy godmother and the handsome prince. Myths will be mutating, Aries. Nursery rhymes will scramble and fairy tales will fracture. Thor, the god of thunder, may make a tempting offer to Snow White. The cow's jump over the moon could turn out to have been faked by the CIA. An ugly duckling will lay an egg that Chicken Little claims is irrefutable proof the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse is imminent. Sounds like a rowdy good time for all!

Um.....not sure what to think about this one. Let's see where this leads me considering I have all sorts of craziness going on right now. Job hunting is exhausting and scary so I am sure the rowdiness will only continue. Next on the docket: Louisville, KY for the ACPA Conference next weekend!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lusting After Something Hot

Well I would take it iced, too. Day 7 of no coffee/no caffeine March. I'm in serious withdrawals. Everyone I have told so far about my need to ween myself of coffee and all things caffeine look at me like I am crazy. So...apparently graduate school is an enabler for the dependency on caffeinated beverages! They should really team up, they could take over the world.

Anyway, it is only Day 7 and with this new diet change my sleep habits must change to compensate. Lucky for me, I have just barely more than a month left until my school work will be done and then in about 1.5 months, I will present my portfolio that concludes my program and decides if I should graduate.

For some reason, the buying of the cap and gown is really starting to freak me out. Why? Even I'm not entirely sure. In my undergraduate graduation I got emotional because I was mostly in disbelief that it was happening but I also noticed the other people on the stage with their fancy ribbons and dressings. Ours was so plain and simple: black robe, black hat, orange tassel with the gold "2009" dangling. For the graduation in a masters program, you have a more elaborate gown, cap, and you also get a hood.

From wikipedia:
"The masters' gown sleeve is oblong and, though the base of the sleeve hangs down in the typical manner, it is square cut at the rear part of the oblong shape. The front part has an arc cut away, and there is a slit for the wrist opening, but the rest of the arc is closed. The shape is evocative of the square-cut liripipe incorporated into many academic hoods (see, below). The master's gown is designed to be worn open or closed"

"The colorful hood of each university is reserved for those who attain the highest academic degree beyond the bachelor's degree. It is a special part of academic regalia and denotes scholarly and professional achievements."

Fancy, right? And let me tell you, I am glad they have videos and how-tos on how to wear a hood cause they are not quite as simple as one might expect. In due time, dear April, in due time...

Not sure how I got from coffee to graduation but I guess that shows you what is on my mind at the moment and will be for at least the foreseeable future. That, and looking up apartments in every city that has a higher education institution with an academic advising position. I had another interest call today but decided that I don't think I can live in the city that the school is in. I am placing a high premium on not only the position and school but also my quality of life as a single 30-something year old female. I have always known that I think to much but I swear this time that it will pay off!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Quotes of the Day: Unrealistically Romantic Movies

The Notebook
Young Allie: Painting.
Young Noah: What?
Young Allie: You asked me, what I do for me...
Young Noah: What now?
Young Allie: I love to paint.
Young Noah: Really?
Young Allie: Mmm-hmm. Most of the time I have all these thoughts bouncin' around in my head... but with a brush in my hand, the world just gets kinda quiet.

Young Noah: You're gonna kill me woman! I need sleep, I need food, to regain my strength!

Young Noah: Well that's what we do, we fight... You tell me when I am being an arrogant son of a bitch and I tell you when you are a pain in the ass. Which you are, 99% of the time. I'm not afraid to hurt your feelings. You have like a 2 second rebound rate, then you're back doing the next pain-in-the-ass thing.
Young Allie: So what?
Young Noah: So it's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be really hard. We're gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, for ever, you and me, every day. Will you do something for me, please? Just picture your life for me? 30 years from now, 40 years from now? What's it look like? If it's with him, go. Go! I lost you once, I think I can do it again. If I thought that's what you really wanted. But don't you take the easy way out.

(500) Days of Summer
Rachel Hansen: Just because she's likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn't mean she's your soul mate.

Tom: That's actually my nick name in the college, they called me 'perfectly adequate' Hansen.
Summer Finn: They used to called me anal girl
Tom: [shock and choked]
Summer Finn: I was very neat and organized.

Tom: This is a story of boy meets girl but you should know upfront, this is not a love story.  

Tom: Some people are meant to fall in love with each other...but not meant to be together.

Monday, March 5, 2012

March Grocery Shopping

In addition to my other goals, I think I want to try and only go grocery shopping twice this entire month. It doesn't seem like a difficult proposition but damn those crazy food cravings that are never for anything I have on hand.

I went grocery shopping last night and it was clear that my body wanted to detox from my vacation splurges. Here is what I got:

Chobani & Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt galore (passion fruit, peach, black cherry, apple cinnamon, plain)

Strawberries, bananas, apples. I can't seem to survive without these.
Trop50 juices in orange and raspberry green tea. These are the greatest and low in calories.

Don't laugh but I am addicted to rice cakes. I usually get the lightly salted and then smother it with peanut butter and banana slices or peanut butter and sugar-free jam. I also picked up some Quaker Quakes Ranch Rice Snacks.

Alternative milks. I have recently discovered the loveliness of almond milk instead of soy milk. I also came upon the So Delicious Chocolate Coconut Milk as a great healthy yet indulgent treat. I have two in the fridge as we speak (read?).

I also picked up a large variety of soups, some tuna packets (much, much preferred to the canned variety), and lots of canned fruits and veggies. I normally pick up more frozen produce but since my little microwave passed away, I am trying to make it by without the need for said microwave replacement and go with easy open and heat items. Lunch items and nighttime snacks are my biggest grumpifying meals to create because I need to them to fill me up and be super nutritious. I plan on a whole lot of soups, salads, and pastas over the next few weeks!

Get With It March

For February I had grand plans of giving up all things Starbucks and fast food. By day five, that has failed miserably. For Lent, I was thinking of giving up all "free food" including food that sits on the counter at work all day and tempts those that walk by with promises of a sugar-high. While I was in Portland, I ate what I wanted to (in moderation) because it was vacation but I really noticed my dependency on coffee and white carbs that has slowly developed over the last few months. I have willingly admitted that Starbucks has received more than its fair share of my paycheck lately and that straight up needs to stop (I am now to gold card status there).

My March goals are the follow (including Lent considerations):

1. No more caffeine. This includes all forms of coffee and soda.
2. Stay within my calorie range via It's the way the weight started going down and it needs to continue.
3. No more free work food. I can participate in the initial lunch potluck but no treats after the end of that lunch hour.
4. Workout three times per week.
5. In bed by 11pm every night and up at 6:30am on weekdays.

I should probably throw some sort of homework related item in there but....I'll do the work whether I want to or not! Only two more months to go.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Seattle, Washington Visit

Early Tuesday morning after grabbing Voodoo Donuts, I headed up north to see my wonderful friends Amy & Jenn. It wasn't the best of weather but we made the best of it! I was super excited to finally meet one of Amy's little ones who was born while I was away. Her girls are absolutely adorable! It was great to catch up with everyone and after some chatting, we did a quick walk around the neighborhood then hit up a great little Mexican place.

Amy & I
Jenn & Calista
Miss Chloe
Such a wonderful visit! I was able to meet up with the ladies the next day in Seattle to do a little tourism. Amy & the girls are moving to Arizona later this year and so they need to get their fill of the Seattle city life. We hit up the first Starbucks store, Pike Place Market, and saw the Gum Wall. Ewww. That wall is kind of gross but oddly fascinating. The weather say the least. I was super impressed that everyone kept their happy faces on despite almost being blown down the street. Lunch at the Athenian was the perfect thing to perk us up and keep our tummies filled. Beautiful water view, too! After the Seattle trip, Amy took me around base to find me a husband to let me see some of the beautiful buildings and the hospital where the girls were born. It was the perfect little visit!

Just chillin' in the alley of gum
First Starbucks store in Seattle
The snowy/rainy drive home

Seattle, you haven't changed one bit since I was there almost 10 years ago!

Portland, Oregon Visit

I finally made a trip back home to Portland! It had been almost two years since I went back and I think it was just what I needed. I had each day planned out so that I could try to see everyone that I truly missed and cared about. I spent about three days with my mom and then spent the majority of my trip catching up with friends, EATING, and taking naps. Apparently my rock star Portland lifestyle caught up with me since I have been sick all day! I blame the Pacific Time Zone to Eastern Time Zone and crazy diet the most.

Some highlights of the Portland experience:

Steel Bridge, my favorite.
Interstate Bridge from Portland to Vancouver

Portland, Oregon Sign
The city.
My mom finally got her ears pierced! She was super excited.
Voodoo Donuts...I swear it wasn't all for me!
The Rundown (Friday PM to Friday AM):
Humongous burgers and tasty fries with Cara after picking up the rental car (vroooooom)
Talked mom into getting Muchas Gracias for dinner, so good
Portland Women's Expo and lunch at Mother's Bistro
Girls' Night at Brittney's cute little house after happy hour at HopWorks
Breakfast with the family and a required Goodwill Outlet trip
Movie with the mom, "Joyful Noise"
Corvallis to see Oregon State University and grab yummy Indian food
Dinner with a former co-worker whose boyfriend made an amazing dinner and great conversation was had
Seattle bound! (Post coming) and some required Voodoo Donuts!
Scrabble and beers
Lunch with former co-workers to catch up on all the gossip
Final dinner with mom at Olive Garden (I needed some salad by this point)
Headed back home in a slightly turbulent and bouncy plane ride but arrived safely
It was such a quick trip and I was so happy to see all of those wonderful people! I have to admit though, by Thursday I was ready to leave. I think Portland is an absolutely beautiful place and I love being able to drive and drive for hours (I don't do that here--I would end up in Canada!) but I know I won't be coming back. I already knew that but after being there for only a week, as a wise friend said there is just too much history and there just isn't anything there for me anymore.

Noun: The place where one lives permanently, esp. as a member of a family or household.
Adjective: Of or relating to the place where one lives: "your home address".
Adverb: To the place where one lives: "what time did he get home last night?".
Verb:(of an animal) Return by instinct to its territory after leaving it: "geese homing to their summer nesting grounds".

While Michigan isn't home, I suppose home is wherever I decide to be.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Free Will Astrology: Can I Get on with My Burning?

Aries Horoscope for week of March 1, 2012
Verticle Oracle card Aries (March 21-April 19)
At one point in his book The Divine Comedy, the Italian poet Dante is traveling through purgatory on his way to paradise. American poet T.S. Eliot describes the scene: "The people there were inside the flames expurgating their errors and sins. And there was one incident when Dante was talking to an unknown woman in her flame. As she answered Dante's questions, she had to step out of her flame to talk to him, until at last she was compelled to say to Dante, 'Would you please hurry up with your questions so I can get on with my burning?'" I bring this to your attention, Aries, because I love the way you've been expurgating your own errors and sins lately. Don't let anything interfere with your brilliant work. Keep burning till you're done.

And what perfect timing! These things have been on my mind as I was in Portland over the last week. No one is safe from sin and mistakes, we can only make amends and move along. I have actual FUN and INTERESTING posts coming soon!