Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Enough feeling sorry for myself. Trent and I are a couple of young, crazy, kids in love. I know we will always look back fondly on our time here, when we were our own little family, living in our crazy, lovely, house, being broke but happy, chasing our dreams, all that good stuff.

Plus, Liz Lemon makes me smile. And dancing...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Having a lazy, lazy, evening watching old episodes of 30 Rock and Glee online, under two down blankets (and yes, there is popcorn involved).

Feeling homesick for my fantastic family and all the holiday traditions I am missing out on. Someday we will live West of the Mississippi (remember how traumatic crossing the river was for me, Mom?) and I will eat lots of ginger cookies and hunt for the precious Ethiopian ordament.

For now, this awesome seagull painting makes me very happy. Just like Morro Bay!

Holiday week. Tons of Christmas parties this past weekend, everything from Genetics Curriculum, to Masters Crew, to a Bob Dylan themed Christmas party. I pretty much only ate cookies and appetizers all weekend.


Trent rocked the GRE's and his application was sent out yesterday. Keep your fingers crossed.

We just went to our lab holiday lunch to an all you can eat Indian buffet.

I stayed up late last night finishing Christmas cards and boxes of Christmas goodies.

Not so good for the motivation.

Currently feeling like (and loving) this little happy sloth. Why not just relax for a day?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Etsy find

Loving this poster by Etsy seller Banquet. Educational and beautiful.. my favorites!

Go Trent, Go!

Send your smartie-pants thoughts along to Trent today as he takes the GRE's!

We've been studying up a storm, having ridiculously verbose conversations trying to use all the crazy vocab words.

Once done with this, he can submit his application to the UNC master's of public health program!

Hooray for lifelong education.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Histone pre-mRNA processing is awesome.

Speaking of things going well scientifically...

Check this out.

My second publication in two months.

Not too shabby.

Just need that elusive first author one...

Weekend Recap

Sorry for the lack of posting, things are going fairly fantastically scientifically, so I am trying to capitalize on this wave of good fortune while it lasts. I am sure it will come crashing down soon.

Our weekend was great, it was the first really cold weekend we've had here so it was much more mellow than previous, but highlights included:

1. Trent picking me up from work Friday, dinner at Weaver St, watching UCLA lose to Stanford (boo) women's soccer at The Station with the Frazongs, then watching Carolina beat Notre Dame (hooray!) women's soccer at a crazy Italian pizza place. Then Trent and I headed to the Local 506 to watch a few bands at a show hosted by the UNC student newspaper. Fun times. Quick stop by the station to see if there was dancing, but alas no, so home and to bed.

2. Crazy amounts of sleeping in on my part. I was amazed. I think it was due to my long week and recent H1N1 flu shot. Trent played video games while I snoozed. It was a drizzly, cold, day, so no hurry.

3. Finally up for cleaning, some Hulu, and my Jillian Michael's workout video. That thing is crazy, I was sweating up a storm.

4. Errands at Marshall's, Trader Joe's, Lowe's. (Hooray for our new windows arriving!)

5. Delicious seared tuna, baked potatoes and green beans with mushrooms for dinner.

6. Getting all dressed up and hitting up Lantern for delicious cocktails.

7. Meeting up with the crew team for their winter party. They all went to dinner (in various groups) and rented out a screen at our vintage Varsity Theater to watch "A Christmas Story." Cute to see all the rowers dressed up fancy and impressing their ladies.

8. Caught a ride with Thomas to the after party, a rowdy, totally college party at the rowers house. We enjoyed cheap beer and champagne punch, danced to cheesy Christmas tunes, and finally left when boys started taking their shirts off. Those crew boys hate clothes. It was great to meet a lot of Trent's rowers and mingle with the varsity kids who I've gotten to know over the years. I think they were impressed old, married, folks like us could keep up.

9. Up for oatmeal breakfast and a chilly run with Sadie. Quick shower and change and Deirdre picked me up for a candy making party hosted by my very pregnant lab mate. We made caramels, brittles, brown sugar candy, peppermint bark, divinity, fudges, turtles. It was really fun to learn how to make candy (slightly terrifying, all the 300 degree sugars) and fun to meet new folks. It took forever though! Home around 6.

10. Cooked up a storm for the upcoming week. Including, lots of roasted squash (acorn and butternut), a big LeCru of soup, Indian chicken in spinach. Watched Hulu, ate baked potatoes (I am addicted right now) and soup and headed to bed after massive laundry folding.

Fun weekend! Good mix of being social and hitting the town, and being lazy homebodies.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Less crazy looking Jean...

The picture of me in my fancy jammies was haunting me. So here is a much prettier one. My lovely mother and I at my wedding. Such a pretty lady. And off sailing in Bora Bora at the moment. A good reminder to always be adventurous.

However, riding my bike home in the rain when water seems to make my brakes fail might be a little too adventurous for today. Quite the storm we are having today! All I want to do is cuddle up with some hot tea, popcorn, and a down blanket.

Birthday Weekend Recap!

Whew, on to the rest of the weekend! Here we go.

Trent woke me up early Friday to open presents. Check out my styling new Patagonia long underwear. Hotness. Lots of goodies including the delicious Jo Malone perfume I asked for and a "jean-tastic" embroidered shirt from Emily, new gloves and beanie to keep me warm on the bike, as well as lovely placemats and napkins from parents. Lovely!

He hustled me along to my birthday surprise, but I had to sneak some leftover turkey with cranberry ginger relish for breakfast.

We got in the car and started driving out of town. I had no idea where we were going, but it was a lovely surprise. We went to a mom and pop Christmas tree farm!

We walked all over the farm examining trees and playing with the farm dogs. We finally decided on a Concord Fir, a native North Carolina tree that has a lovely pine/citrus scent. So cute!

They wrapped it up for us, after a brief dash to try to find and ATM in rural North Carolina... interesting! Brief stop at the grocery store and by lab (just for a minute!) and we headed home.

I made us leftover turkey sandwiches with fresh herbed goat cheese and bread from Weaver Street. Add a little cranberry sauce and lettuce and it was heavenly! Trent rigged up a tree stand from a bucket and wood nailed to the bottom of the tree, and we set to decorating. First LED lights from our wedding!

I found our box of Christmas ornaments, so many nice memories, and many more to come.

Decorating the tree was a blast, and strategic placement of the tree in front of the big window where everyone walking by can see makes me happy.

Ta-Da!! We had a fully decorated Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. It is family sacrilege, but makes me happy to have some holiday cheer in our little house, and so far Sadie has left it alone.

We lounged around and played DDR and napped for the rest of the day. That night we met up with Stephen and Amanda at Open Eye for some coffee drinks before heading to the Station (10 year high school reunion, plus 10 dudes in kilts and a bagpiper), then to the Nightlight (a bizarre "sound" show... not our cup of tea, left after two "acts?"), tour around Chapel Hill to see it was dead as a doornail, then two huge plates of nachos and two shots of tequila at Milltown to warm up before heading back to the Station where there was now an awesome dance party of all the music that was big 10 years ago. Lots and lots of dancing, it was perfection!

Saturday, Paul, Sadie and I went on a long run in the forest, we did a little Christmas shopping at the mall with Amanda and Stephen, played a little DDR, then Trent and I went to our community center to watch Persepolis, a really great animated movie about growing up in Tehran. I highly recommend it. Kind of dark, but very educational.

Sunday, I went running again and we worked in the yard. Trent made me wreaths out of vines growing in our yard and I adorned them with trimmings from the Christmas tree and other yard goodies, and we shared our wreaths with Paul and Sheila, and Stephen and Amanda. Spreading holiday cheer.

It was a gorgeous day, so we went for a row on University Lake. It was my first time being in a pair (only having one oar), but luckily Trent is an amazing rower and we didn't flip over despite my lack of skills. I learned a lot and got a great workout. Home to turkey soup and baking lots of bread and cookies for the week ahead.

Quite a weekend, it was lovely to have the long holiday to celebrate and relax. I didn't worry about science, and now everything seems to be cooperating! Hooray.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap

Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday. Folks coming together to enjoy a meal filled with family traditions and no expectations of gifts or staying up late. And my birthday. What a winner. This year was another lovely day.

We woke up early and walked to downtown Carrboro where nearly everyone we know was running the Gobble and Gorge. We chatted with friends and then ran the 8k race through Carrboro. Trent stayed with me for the first 3 miles and then took off, luckily fellow Ph.D'er and Davis-alum Cheryl ran with me, I was feeling a little rough having not eaten breakfast! But we finished in 35 minutes, a respectable 7 minutes per mile pace. Not too shabby.

Home for showers, breakfast, naps, lots of cleaning. House started to look pretty awesome!

Set the dinner table with our fancy Nambe candle sticks, our new dishes and silverware, our awesome napkin rings and new birthday napkins from Mom. So fun to have matching things finally, I felt so grown up!

Started cooking around 1pm. We were doing half and Stephen and Amanda brought the rest. In reality, we both cooked tons and tons of food. Again, having nice pots and pans, knives and bowls was so exciting and helpful!

Making mashed potatoes in the LeCru.

Sadie waited patiently for any snacks to drop her way.

Our appetizer cocktail was champagne, cranberry juice, garnished with pomegrante seeds. Delish!

We got a fancy all organic and happy life turkey from Weaver Street this year. Trent cooked it and it was gorgeous! It got to be served on a platter my great aunt Sarah bought on her honeymoon. Nice little family connection.

Amanda and Stephen arrived with all their goodies. They brought sweet potatoes with greens and lentils, asparagus, tons and tons of spring and summer rolls, and a pumpkin pie.

Table almost ready. I made a delicious broccoli and brussel sprout gratin with Gruyere cheese. So good!

Trent carved the bird!

Sadie continued to wait patiently.

While last minute cooks were crowding the kitchen, I took a break to open my birthday present from Stephen and Amanda... which will be revealed soon. Awesome!

The turkey ready to be served.

Our holiday party. It was a smaller group than we expected, we had some last minute cancellations, but it was lovely to sit with good friends and eat a whole lot. Our neighbor from the cottages, Patrick, joined us.

Sadie was still sure she'd get snacks eventually.

Dinner was awesome, we all ate a ton and then crashed on the couch to watch Monsters vs. Aliens. Very cute and full of California inside jokes. We rallied about halfway through to start on the pies. Patrick brought this cranberry walnut beauty.

I made a maple syrup pumpkin pie (even the crust!) and Amanda brought another pumpkin pie from a bake sale. I love pie!

And then down to business. Amanda and Stephen got us Dance Dance Revolution game! I love it. We proceeded to dance for several hours. Apparently I am a total spaz while playing, but I don't care, it makes me very happy!

Trent was really good.. and much less jumping around required. I didn't believe this.

Stephen gave it a try. I am thrilled about having this game, it will be great to get out pent up energy on cold days and definitely fun for get-togethers. Love it.

Then one thing (one bottle of wine) lead to another and soon we found ourselves rocking out to karaoke. I just love to perform... not really the singing as much. Stephen and I played this for hours, while Trent played guitar and Amanda took a little snooze on the sofa (amazing with all the singing and hullabaloo). Finally around midnight we called it a night and everyone headed home. Some dishes, a few more bites of pie and we called it a successful day!

Monday, November 30, 2009


This weekend was amazing. Giant turkey dinners, dance dance revolution-ing, karaoke-ing, Christmas tree cutting, indy film watching, christmas shopping, forest running, crew rowing, birthday tequila and dancing... it was epic. Tons of pictures and details to come.

But for now, Muppets singing Bohemian Rhapsody. Which may be my favorite song to karaoke to.

This brings a whole other level of joy... especially the shrimp!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Favorite Wedding Pic of the day...

The gorgeous sun poking through the walnut trees, the amazing dress in all its glory, and I am standing up straight! A winner all around.

I am trying realllllly hard to not let bad science luck get me down. I am thinking either, yoga class, mani/pedi, going home to cook and clean with Trent, will remedy the situation.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Forgive the slightly ugly picture, but goodness.. these are some of the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had. Just saying. Here is the recipe, if you are interested. I think the sea salt makes it shine.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

from Ashley Rodriguez, Not Without Salt

8 oz butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 lb good-quality chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 360°.

Cream the butter and the sugars. Add eggs, one at time, then vanilla. Mix well, then scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl. With a whisk, stir to combine. With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate.

Before baking, sprinkle with a very fine dusting of good quality sea salt. Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are lightly golden on the outside and a bit gooey on the inside (they will continue to cook as they cool).

Favorite Wedding Pic of the Day

Pretty much speaks for itself.

Weekend Recap!

It was a fabulous birthday week weekend. Started off strong with a drive out to Durham (after breaking in to the Frazong's house to drop off the guitar and mandolin so Trent and Stephen could jam, and nearly setting the lab on fire while trying to finish an experiment while my boss chatted away. Whoops! And I got lost on the way to Durham, but that was expected. Finally made it and met up with Amanda by her office. She took me on a lovely, historical walking tour of the town and we made our way to Rue Cler for a delightful French dinner. I had moules frites with a side of asaragus and she had chicken coq au vin.

Quick stop to visit her office and then off to Raleigh. Again we got lost (I am an excellent driver) but managed to find Furbish, Jamie's store. And it was SO cute. Here are pictures she took, I spaced and didn't take any. I wanted nearly everything and was so impressed that she was making it work. Great to see her. After sampling some delicious cupcakes and wine, we took a stroll around the neighborhood, very cute. And then headed home to our sleepy, jammed out, husbands.

Trent was up early for "Class Day Races" where each year races the others. His freshman (dressed as frat boys) beat the sophmores and tied with the juniors. And did pretty great against the seniors (Star Wars themed). While he was off racing, I had a lazy morning and long run with Sadie. Felt great. Met Trent at Weaver St for a big breakfast. Then we just happened to stop by the Recyclery, where I got myself a new birthday bicycle!

Adorable. And way faster/lighter than my current bike. They threw in new tires and new brake pads and Trent fixed it all up for me on Saturday afternoon. I rode it to work today and it was terrific. Happy birthday me.

Then the day started to get crazy. We dropped off my pants to get hemmed, dashed home to start making the most amazing cookies (next post). I was running out of time, frantically wrapping the lab baby shower present. But I managed to meet up with an ex-lab mate to help her pick out a present and enjoy a little snack and conversation while Trent finished up the cookies. Picked him up and headed to the shower!

It was at my labmate's apartment complex and she did a great job of coming up with games and favors. Above, from the left, is Anne, the host in the foreground, our lab manager Pam, my Boss, mom to be Harmony, her husband Mike, Trent, and ex-lab mate Ashley. Here everyone is trying to estimate the yard needed to wrap around her belly. Trent nearly won, I was wayyyy off.

We guessed how many diapers were in the tupperware, filled out our guesses for recessive and dominant heritable traits based on their parents and their traits (nerds!) and tasted babyfood. Lots of fun silly games. Then we opened presents, our lab went in on a Pack n' Play, that of course we had to see if we could set up.

Very cute. We struggled for a bit but finally figured it out. Their baby is due right after Christmas and it was fun to socialize outside of lab together.

My boss's 4 year old daughter thought the whole party was very cool. And the balloons especially. We all headed out around 4pm and after a quick visit with the Frazongs, headed home and were ready to work. We raked and dug and cleaned up the yard. It was excellent. And Sadie was a big help.

We enjoyed a fire in the firepit as we raked, though I don't recommend trying to burn leaves... quite smokey!

Trent started to get all sorts of exciting calls about his Rhode Scholar successes, so we opened a bottle of wine and snuggled on the sofa to watch Big Fish to celebrate. Cute movie!

Sunday was supposed to be very stormy, so we started working in the yard early to get things done. After a quick trip to two hardware stores, where I had to get Sadie an early Christmas present. The new bed is SO fantastic, she loves it. And her collar was starting to get gross.

We worked on fixing up the drive way and Trent dedicated more space to my garden. We are slowly reducing the amount of lawn we have, which I am totally happy about. I mowed lawn and pulled lots of weeds. Here is my newest garden space.

Trent dug out a trench for a big railroad tie wood border on the driveway and we rearranged the gravel to finish it up. Looks great. I made some holiday decorations with plants I found around the yard. Sadie continued to be a great helper.

It started to get stormy, so we headed inside for hearty lunches and a bit of recovering before heading back to Raleigh to go to Crate and Barrel. We finished off our registry, got lots of frames for our amazing wedding pictures and were very very successful. Picked up some chinese take out and Trent joined me at lab. He did homework/Re-Neset/Unplggd posts while I tackled some experiments. Home, some cleaning, long showers, and to bed!

It was great to work on our house, there is still a daunting amount of projects we want to complete, but everyday it is improving and it is so satisfying to see how far it has come.

Birthday weekend continues! I've been enjoying lots of coconut lattes as extra treats. Love it!