Monthly Archives: April 2012

Marathon (study) training

Top of the morning to you!

Today is our last biochem exam. Well, our last one of this semester. There are still two semesters to go of our favorite subject, but let’s not dwell on that fact. This is the last biochem activity in which I will partake for the next 4 months 🙂

My studying for this exam has been pretty minimal. I have yet to do much studying on my own, but am instead only studying with other classmates. I’m following the ‘less is more’ approach. Isn’t that a thing for marathon runners now? Instead of working on running super high mileage every week, they focus on cross-training and speed workouts, and end up running fewer miles during training but performing better on marathon day? Well, that’s exactly what my approach has been for this exam. Study hard with my classmates, but enjoy my rest in between study sessions and get other things accomplished (like writing all those other papers that have been due this week)!

So… the exam is in less than 5 hours. I energized myself this morning with coffee and raw cookie dough (and reminded myself that if I ate dozens of raw eggs, I could become deficient in biotin due to all the avidin in egg whites). Harley is looking at me with pathetic eyes, so my next stunt activity is to take him for a nice morning walk, biochem notes in hand. You can walk a dog while reading, right? Not sure I’ve attempted this before, but we’ll give it a go.

The exciting part of getting this biochem exam over with (besides finishing biochem for the semester!) is what I have to look forward to. Our class potluck is this afternoon/evening. That explains my raw cookie dough eating behavior – I have a batch of Hilary Clinton’s in the fridge, waiting to be baked this afternoon. As well as Matt’s infamous spinach dip that I made as his contribution.

After the potluck, I’m heading out of town for the weekend to reunite with some of my good RD friends from my Vandy internship. Plans include garage sale-ing, wearing fruit costumes at a farmers market, and lots of laughs. Can’t wait. And then Sunday includes computer shopping and a possible movie date!


Final sprint of the semester

I’m so close to the end of the semester. Just one exam (biochemistry) and two papers, and I’ll be done!

My plan for tonight was to spend it working on my obesity-related paper, until Matt called and invited me out to dinner at a wonderful Mexican place in Durham. Clearly I chose the Mexican food.

Thankfully, the paper isn’t due until 5pm tomorrow, and classes have ended for the semester, which leaves me with plenty of time tomorrow to finish things. Harley deserves a long walk in the morning first though. He’s been spending too much time cooped up in the apartment with all my end-of-semester business. Sorry Mr Harley!

Harleyhoodie3 A brief re-cap of other things in my life:

  • The snoopy fire king mug has already sold from my etsy store and will be off in the mail tomorrow.
  • Matt spent hours last night taking apart my laptop and trying to diagnosis it. No luck yet. Thankfully, I was paid today for one of my school nutrition consulting jobs, so I have money to buy another laptop if need be… which I think will end up happening soon.
  • Our classmates are hosting a celebratory pot-luck this Friday to celebrate the end of the semester. I wanted to make the delicious zucchini brownies that I discovered last year (when I was growing more zucchini than I knew what to do with), but sadly have no idea where the recipe is. This is my biggest problem with the plethora of online recipes – I do a terrible job of recording which recipes I use (and like/modify). It makes it near impossible to go back months later and find the recipe I used! My clever sister records all of her recipes in a large word document. Maybe this is why she’s going to be the one in the family with a PhD…
  • In the end, I may just make my standby recipe: Hilary Clinton’s chocolate chip cookies. They never fail to please.
  • I created lots of lists tonight for biochem review. List-making generally helps thinks sink into my brain…..

photo (1)

And now, time for bed. Good night!

Morning with snoopy

Started the day with a church garage sale. It has been a looong time since I’ve been garage sale-ing. When I was living at the farm it became a regular occurrence on the weekends. Of course now my weekends seem to be busier, and Chapel Hill hasn’t been quite the bargain-mecca that I might like. That being said, spring cleaning is in the air and lots of local garage sales are popping up. A church near campus was having their annual ABC sale (attic, basement and closets) but the line to get in was wrapped around the building and I couldn’t find a place to park. Darn.

I did, however, score a few items at another church garage sale, including this 1950s Fire King mug with Snoopy!

It might just have to go in the shop, since I know how highly collectible these old fire king mugs are!

The phrase “I think I’m allergic to morning!” would probably suit many people and is fitting for a coffee mug. I, on the other hand, am definitely an early bird and enjoy my productive mornings!

Now I’m off to tackle my long to-do list, including:

  • biochem study group
  • gym
  • laptop repair?
  • work on my nutritional epi final paper
  • school menu proofs
  • finishing my energy drink paper


Tired of energy drinks

Happy friday evening to you all. I am currently sitting at my kitchen table working on my nutritional biochemistry paper about energy drinks. And is oxymoronic as this sounds, it’s exhausting. I don’t particularly care for energy drinks (never have) and writing about them is even worse. Basically, if you want energy, this model seems to be coffee + lots of sugar + multivitamin = energy drink. I’m leaving out all the herbal stuff, that I don’t trust anyway. And if you’re heart isn’t working at 100% (like Harley and me), you’re best to leave them alone.

So, although it’s 9:32pm and I’d like to be crawling into bed with my book or magazine, I am determined to keep writing. After all, I still have 3 more papers to conquer this weekend (or at least make significant progress on)….

However, here are some happy thoughts to leave you with tonight:

  • my baby whispering skills continue to improve – I was able to spend a pleasant evening with my favorite 6 month old that I babysit for without any crying
  • dinner was provided by Whole Foods hot bar – asparagus, brussels, roasted butternut, mac’n’cheese and cajun red beans and rice. yum but $$$
  • I have a potentially exciting (or maybe exciting potential) job for this coming fall. If things continue to look positive, I will share with you in the coming weeks!
  • And Matt had a phone interview today for a new job in the area. All thanks to me and my genius internet-job-searching skills. Seriously, if my dietitian skills are ever not needed, I could do quite well in job finding and travel planning 🙂

Good night!

Staying busy and poor

Happy Thursday to you all!

I had a productive day of class today, and finished an hour early from my last class, which was a nice surprise. So nice, in fact, that my 30%% off Kohl’s coupon begged me to take him shopping. So I did and picked up a few items off the clearance rack including new workout and work pants (for the gym and summer internship, respectively).

And then I came home. And printed out my final exams (most are all written assignments/projects to do at home). And got the mail (=bills). And I realized that the next few weeks are going to keep me extremely busy and poor.

Why busy?


Because I have to write all of this in the next 1-2 weeks:

  • Nutritional biochemistry paper on energy drinks
  • Nutritional epidemiology critique of a meat/mortality study done at Harvard
  • Obesity final exam (5 pages explaining concepts such as energy balance, causes and determinants of obesity, surgical treatment, disease research, etc)
  • Theory-based paper focused on a childhood obesity prevention program

So, yes, that should keep me busy. Fortunately I have a completely open and free weekend, so I am planning to buckle down with my little netbook and get writing!

Yes, the little netbook. His big brother Dell is still lying in a coma. If I ever get a morning or afternoon free, I’m still planning on taking him into the local computer shop for a diagnosis before pronouncing him officially dead. But, if he doesn’t make it, then it looks like I’ll be going computer shopping in the coming weeks. Which means I’ll be stayin’ poor.

Why poor?

Because April has brought these unforeseen expenses:

  • New computer (potentially) $750
  • Car insurance $300
  • eHarmony (because I forgot to close my membership and they renewed it!) $100
  • Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Membership $200
  • Personal Training (because I forgot to close my membership and they renewed it!) $100

= close to $1500 that wasn’t planning in April’s budget. Yes, I budget carefully every month and have an iPhone app to track every dollar that I spend.

Looks like I better start doing more school menu reviews to make up the difference! And, of course, be thankful for the unexpectedly large tax return that I received a few weeks back. Every penny helps!


Random note: Starbucks is giving out free hot coffee/tea this Sunday in honor of Earth Day if you bring in your own reusable mug! Might interest anyone else that might be at a coffee shop studying…. 🙂

news from the hill

Chapel Hill, that is 🙂

Today has been a busy day. Finally retrieved Matrix from the collision center again, and received a ‘random’ audit from an insurance guy to come inspect the repair again. Hopefully this time everything looks up to par, and no more rental cars for me!

Biochem today was all about iron and zinc, and took me back to my iron-deficiency anemia days of my youth (living in England during the mad-cow epidemic, we stopped serving beef in the house, and my juice and noodle diet lead me to daily iron supplements). In support of the important mineral, I featured spinach in my dinner tonight: roasted mushrooms and potatoes tossed with garlic and pesto, atop a bed of spinach, and a crispy fried egg. Yum yum.

I received my scholarship award today at UNC’s annual nutrition department awards ceremony. It wasn’t a huge, exciting scholarship, but did provide for my trip to Charlotte this past weekend for NCDA. You might even see my picture on the nutrition dept’s website soon!

Too bad there isn’t a scholarship to buy a new laptop! Mr Dell gave me one last goodbye yesterday morning, and worked long enough for me to do a final back-up, before the screen faded out. It might actually be just some electrical/wiring issue, so before I completely pronounce him dead I’m planning on taking him to a computer repair shop behind my apartment complex. Even if it’s non-repairable (or would cost more than $200), I still have this little handy netbook to keep me going through the rest of this semester. And then I’ll start shopping around for a replacement.

I’m about to pour a glass of locally-produced chocolate milk, watch the last episode of Glee, and escape school work for a little bit. Less than 2 weeks to go until the end of the semester!

weekend in the queen’s city

Matt and I enjoyed our weekend in Charlotte. Sadly, no IKEA shopping happened, but plenty of other fun things did, including:

Playing at Discovery Place (Charlotte’s children’s interactive science museum)

nails I can officially say that I have laid on a bed of nails – felt very weird!

structure At the Build It! exhibit, a museum staff member commended Matt’s structure with a comment: “very good, a wide base helps make a stronger structure”. I’m not sure the competitive Asian girl at his table was so impressed.


Watching 3+ hours of professional bike racing during the Charlotte Criterium

Matt has now declared an interest in road biking. From my observations, I have learned that apparently the cost of bicycles is inversely proportional to their weight – these pro bikes all seemed to weigh no more than 5 lbs! It would certainly be nice to have such a light and portable bike (also easier to steal I would imagine). I also learned that many of these world-class athletes shave their legs, although we debated whether leg-hair can really lead to a loss of aerodynamicness (sp?).

Being updated on the state of dietetics in North Carolina, and all the work behind the scenes of the Dietary Guidelines.

The main reason behind this trip was the NCDA annual meeting. I won’t bore you with all the details, but it’s always fun to be in the same room with hundreds of other RDs! This was my first state-level meeting in North Carolina (I’ve been to the meetings in Georgia and Tennessee) and there was an impressive turn out – way to go NCDA!


In unrelated, sad news – my Dell laptop appears to be in a coma. He worked just fine this morning, but after a full day on campus, I came home to a laptop that wouldn’t turn its screen on. Not sure it’s even able to turn on at all anymore – how can this happen without warning?

laptops Me and my “new” laptop in 2008, after just moving to Nashville

Thankfully, I faithfully back-up my hard-drive regularly (last time was just 10 days ago), so I have almost all of my files intact. So… if it comes time to buy a new machine, I won’t be too lost. This laptop did last me 4 good years, so I can’t really complain. And no, I have no interested in switching to a mac. I am just debating whether to stick to a laptop (when I have a netbook that I prefer for portability) or possibly one of these new all-in-one machines that would be great on a desk?

returning to gangster life

Sad news: the insurance man came to “audit” the repair work to Matrix and found some issues with the paint job. So I had to make another trip to Durham to get it checked out, and they’ll need it back next week to re-paint that area.

Pro of this situation – the trip to Durham allowed some much-needed thrifting, which resulted in an update in my wardrobe (and new items for this weekend’s trip to Charlotte!)

Con of this situation – I may be back in the Chevy Impala with NY plates next week (= my gangster life).


In other news, today is Friday the 13th. Luckily, the only bad news was about the car having to go back to the shop. Biochem, in fact, delivered incredibly wonderfully awesome news today – the cumulative final is now optional!!! I mean, that’s pretty hard to beat, right? So now, I don’t have a single cumulative final to study for – they are mostly written papers this semester, which is still a lot of work, but not as much on the preparation side.

Matt and I had a decent dinner out at Carmine’s in Chapel Hill – like a family Italian place. I demolished my veggie pasta dish, and he had a southwestern pizza. I will just point out, as a former tomato farmer and all, that if you’re going to put slices of fresh tomato on a pizza, don’t use green, unripe or partially-ripened tomatoes. Who do you think you’re kidding? We can clearly see that the tomato slices are half red / half green. Doesn’t look good; doesn’t taste good. So don’t do it. And while I’m speaking to this restaurant directly – don’t allow your employees to clip their fingernails in the restaurant while customers watch. That’s just gross.

As I said previously in my gangster-life-discussion, we’re heading to Charlotte this weekend for the North Carolina Dietetics Association’s annual conference/meeting. Tomorrow is our fun day in Charlotte ( = IKEA shopping) and Sunday will be nutrition time. Harley has his bag packed for the kennel, and Matt has pancake batter left to rest overnight in the fridge for a delicious breakfast tomorrow before we hit the road!

Later gators!

carrboro food truck rodeo

I spent my afternoon in Carrboro, Chapel Hill’s red-headed hipster sibling. After my personal-training session, where I learned that my lower abdominal muscles are sadly lacking, I headed to a local coffee shop and worked on some essay questions related to cost/quality/access of the US healthcare system. Fun stuff.

As 6:30 rolled around, I met my friend Heidi (the other RD in my cohort of classmates) and her adorable son Max and headed to the Carrboro Farmer’s Market (proclaimed to be one of the best in the country… by Martha Stewart!). They were starting up their Wednesday markets this week, and kicked-off the season with a food truck rodeo. There was representation from Boxcarr Farms, Baguettaboutit, Monuts Donuts, Chirba Chirba dumplings, and the Triangle Raw Foodists. I selected the fast-moving line for Boxcarr Farms, and had a delicious dish of spaetzle with pea shoots, swiss chard, farmers cheese, and wonderful flavor. Well worth the money! Also worth it to hear everyone’s pronunciations of spaetzle 🙂

Dessert was a strawberry balsamic donut from Monuts Donuts – delicious! In the words of 4 year old Max “It was sweet!”.

The fun and games are over now… time to finish that healthcare cost essay… 🙂

french press hopes and dreams

My roommate got a nice Keurig coffee maker as a Christmas gift, which we have enjoyed using in the apartment in 2012. I, being the frugal and treehugger personality, bought a reusable cup to use instead of purchasing mass quantities of K-Cups. It has worked great for the past few months, but is now starting to make really weak coffee. As in, tan-colored water. We can’t decide if this is an issue with the reusable cup itself (I bought the ekobrew) or if something is wrong with Mr. Keurig. We’ve tried to clean out a few parts with a paperclip in case there was mineral build-up, but nothing has really helped.

So.. this past week I went back to my vintage, Corningware stovetop percolator that I found at a garage sale for 50cents. It may take 20 minutes to brew coffee, but it works.

But now I am longing for these sleek and colorful Bodum french press machines.

imageI’m thinking the green or red would look lovely. The 12 oz would be perfect for just me during the week, but for Matt’s weekend visits (or my enjoyment of multiple weekend cups of coffee) the 34 oz is probably more practical.

And then…. I saw this guy, and remembered that in a few months I will be preferring iced coffee to hot coffee.


Choices, choices. And I have a $10 Amazon credit for a recent groupon-like deal that I purchased.

Anyone have french press recommendations??