Sunday, May 17, 2015

Thoughts on finishing my thesis and other bits of life

Hello again all. I have to tell you from the get go that there are no travel stories or travel-based pictures on this post. But there are musings.
Let's begin.

One of the things I try to make sure I do is immerse myself in culture. I think it is very important for individuals to experience different things, including culture, and to continue bettering themselves for the pure purpose of being a better person. I'm 100% convinced that the more you explore and learn and listen to others, the more open-minded you are and the better perspective you have on ideas that really matter. Because of this, I really enjoy listening to podcasts. They are a great gateway for a layman to get interesting information in any field. I particularly like podcasts like This American Life and RadioLab which tell anecdotes of peoples lives. The different perspectives of the storytellers is important for understanding societal differences. Recently, RadioLab won a Peabody award for their episode 60 words. It is about the wording used to declare war/ change criminal trialing after the 9/11 attacks. It is definitely worth a listen and I believe it will change your life (yes, YOU) for the better.

(if you are interested in podcasts but have no idea where to start, may I suggest This American Life and RadioLab and Everything is Stories for amazing anecdotes, Science Friday for laymans science from the scientist themselves, and Stuff You Missed in History about off-the-radar events in history)

Speaking of culture, Brighton in May is FANTASTIC for it. All month long you have exposure to everything art-related. The Festival, the Fringe Festival, Artist Open Houses, and The Great Escape Music Festival all occur in May. So far, we have been to a Fringe Festival party at a pub that included canvas and human painting competitions between amateur and professional artists. Our group wore sombreros and mustaches, because why not. We also went to a concert, part of Great Escape, and listened to the AMAZING Alabama Shakes. I can't even begin to explain how amazing they are, so I'll just leave a link to their music. We also enjoyed some of the free outdoor venue events of Great Escapes, as well as local artwork from Brighton during the Artist Open House. Bonus, I got a free Dark and Stormy and Salted Caramel Banoffee Pie for visiting one of the open houses! I love Brighton.

For some more me-related news, my first first-author paper has been published in Scientific Reports!!!!! It is Open Access, so feel free to read it if you are interested. Some may be wondering why this is important- In academia-based scientific careers, your publication record basically tells future employers and funders how "good" you are as a scientist. The more high-impact publications, the better for the scientist. So this is a very exciting step in the right directions for me! I've also finished my thesis and submitted it.

Why this is important- my thesis is the cumulative work of my PhD. I will have to verbally defend this work in front of examiners during my Viva. Depending on how well I do during my Viva determines if I receive my PhD or not. So this is very exciting as well!!

I've received many thanks on social media for posting tried and tested recipes, so I will continue with that tradition! The ones the made the cut during this month were:
Bar Ama's Super Nachos
Definitely not healthy, but oh so delicious. Never again will I melt cheese onto chips in the microwave.

Pumpkin thyme macaroni and cheese
So bomb. So so bomb. I love pumpkin. I also love mac and cheese. And since Ben makes a mean bechamel, my macaroni and cheese dreams can come true.

Paleo granola
I subbed a lot of ingredients here with what we had in the cupboard. Anyway, since wheat hates me, cereals are mostly out of the picture for me now. And really, cereal is horrible for health. This granola is nuts, seeds, and fruit, sweetened with maple syrup. Soooo, only goodness and full of nutrients.

Spring Salad
This salad, you guys. THIS. SALAD. Is amazing. All the right crunch, little bit of creamy, tons of flavor. Sub the mayo for greek yogurt (obviously), and you're in for a treat. Bonus- if you keep the dressing and salad separate, this salad keeps in the fridge for about a week without getting limp. Which means salad as a quick snack. Can't complain with that.

Lucky for me, Ben and I both find Cali-Mex breakfasts to be the best in the whole world. So of course, chilaquiles needed to happen.

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