Thursday, May 17, 2012

So much festival goodness :)

First, before I start attacking the past two weeks, I'd like to post some pictures from way back when.
Remember when I posted about Easter brunch? Well here is a picture, finally! You might be able to see in the background- little Easter eggs where hidden all throughout the restaurant, including on top of some of those picture frames!

This is the beautiful tulip explosion that has happened all throughout campus. We are hitting some rainy/overcast weather currently, but it was beautiful when the sun was out.
Now, on to some updates. The big news of this post is that the Brighton Festival is currently running. As is Brighton Fringe (the non-selective festival). And a three day music festival, called The Great Escape, just ended. My first festival adventure was.... well, not what was expected. We were planning on seeing Barricade, a circus performance on the opening night of the festival. However, it was in the middle of Hove. And being from Falmer, I wasn't quite sure where the exact location was. In the end, we arrived a few minutes after the show had ended. Why, you ask? Because we accidentally took the connecting bus the wrong way. And ended up taking that bus's entire route before ending up in Hove. So while we didn't get to see the performance, we did get to see a part of town that I've never seen before. And I'm ok with that, I always love a little exploration. Now, I want to spend more time in the heart of Hove!
When all three festivals were running at once, Brighton was CRAZY! Especially at night. There were people EVERYWHERE and they were drunk and excited and there was live music outside. It was really nice. I'm happy the city isn't always like that, but the atmosphere was amazing.
I didn't buy tickets to The Great Escape. I thought they were 150 pounds for a 3 day ticket to up-and-coming bands. So that was not something I was going to buy. However, it was only 35 pounds for the cheap tickets, so I want to go next year. Since some of the venues were outside, I did end up seeing one band called Me and The Bees. They are from Spain and the lead singer apologized, saying "I have the broken English". Adorable. Anyway, they were quite good and really solidified my desire to go next year.
Besides that, I haven't done much festival-related stuff. Starting tonight and throughout the entire weekend, I have a lot of festival activities, so on the next post there will be a lot more :).

I've been enjoying lots of time with friends, especially since I'm focusing mostly on this First Year Report so I have nights off. And multiple times within the past two weeks, I've gone to The Mesmerist. I've really got to tell you about it. Its set up like a restaurant with a bar. And the menu looks good, I'd like to go for food sometime. However, at night the tables are cleared away to make room for a dance floor. And the music they play? Big band 50s. Its AMAZING. The decor is... strange. For example, there's a mannequin behind the bar wearing a skeleton pelvis as a mask. But this place is great. You can sit and chat. Or you can dance to great 50s music. And the crowd is always chill.

I've also been able to explore a little bit of the surrounding East Sussex area. It is SO beautiful here. There's a lot to see around the coast line, there are a lot of natural foresty areas, and there are tons of adorable quaint towns. I went to Rye and Camber, where they have sandy beaches!!!!, this past weekend. It was SUCH a good day. I hadn't realized how much I've missed sand beaches. In Brighton, its rock beaches. And that, my friends, doesn't even touch a sand beach. Camber reminded me a little of Monterey, which of course made me nostalgic. Here's a map to figure out where I am. I had to roughly guess with the stars because my English geography still isn't very good. But the green star near Brighton is where I am and the green star near Rye is where I went to.

 Speaking of maps, I found a HILARIOUS Brighton-play on the Tube map. Those who know what the London Underground map looks like should appreciate this:

I know for the past few posts I've been moaning about my abstract and my report. Well, I'm happy to say that my abstract is IN! I'll have to make a poster, but the conference isn't until October, so I have plenty of time for that. I also think I'm pretty ahead of the game for my first year report, but it is taking a lot of time to complete so I try to keep working on it every day. I've been having some failed experiments lately, which has been a downer. My new TEM experiment didn't really answer the question I was hoping it would. And it seems like I might need to use a different form of microscopy to get my answer. Which means more time off to train, because I don't know how to use it. I've also had some trouble with the snails cooperating and with getting the gels to work for me. It's frustrating. And slow. But that's science. On a better note, I have applied to be a tutor for bright, low-income students in East London and have made it through the first round of qualifications! There are two more rounds, so hopefully I can get the job. I'm also hoping to be a tutor (TA in the States) for the University, but this other program will let me create my own program to teach the students.

And finally, a Paleo update. First off, let me say that this is my favorite diet I've ever been on. And not just because I'm allowed to eat bacon! I recommend it to anyone who's looking to be healthy without frantic calorie counting. My diet has become less strict as the time has gone on. For example, I've incorporated yogurt back into my daily diet. I like it too much to get rid of it and yogurt is pretty good for you. Have I reached the weight I've wanted to reach by the time I wanted to? No, unfortunately. However, since I moved here, I've gotten my BMI under control and have dropped three pant sizes. And I can't be too upset about not obtaining a number when I'm so happy about the other two. Although, buying new clothes doesn't really fit into my budget... but my clothes are getting too big to really be able to wear anymore. ...oh well. I've really done this to be healthy and I think I'm really moving in the right direction for that. Paleo has helped me understand what my body actually wants. Not only can I distinguish between hunger and boredom/craving/whatever for the first time in my life, but I realize specifically what it is my body wants. And when I do have an especially bad day from the diet, I feel awful the next day. Which is even more initiative to really keep the grains and dairy down. I used to have terrible cravings for grains. And while I still get a craving for toast, or would devour cheese manicotti in a heartbeat, I'm not so keen on the everyday grain intake that I used to have. Pasta is pretty boring to me now, unless it has an epic sauce to go with it. And that's a big step for me! Besides feeling better, I think I'm looking better too. And I'm feeling stronger. That's because of the increased exercise I've been doing. I'm on a good routine and I'm actually enjoying working out! The Paleo has helped with my weight lifting- the diet make my muscles feel amazing while I'm lifting, instead of the normal fatigue. I'm not looking to become super strong, but the health benefits of weight bearing exercise are too great to overlook.
Here are some Paleo-friendly recipes I've tried and really enjoyed. They aren't all completely Paleo, but with a few substitutions can easily be made for a strict dieter. However, I'm not that strict. So there wasn't much deviation from the original recipe: Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps- so ridiculously good and easy that I'll probably be making this time and time again. Spinach, Squash, and Zucchini salad: I'm usually not huge into salads. I find most are either too boring or too crazy and over-the-top for my liking. However, this has BACON. And butternut squash. And zucchini. And I used arugula instead of spinach for an extra peppery flavor. But this salad was phenomenal and I'm planning on making it again this week. Lighter Sesame Chicken: This was great. A take on Chinese food, but no grease and way more filling. Chia Seed Pudding: This one might be a little strange for the average individual. But if you LOVE pudding (like me) but need it healthier, then this is a good recipe. It lets me eat chocolate while on a diet while adding fiber. Ummmm, yes please! I've made this at least 3 times so far :)

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