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Oh, how time does fly!

September 17, 2010

Wowzers. It has been tooooooo long since I last posted! Between my birthday, school beginning, and my many biking adventures, I just haven’t had enough time to do all of my homework, let alone blog!

I suppose the best way do this is make a write a little summary of everything:

  1. I have gone from enjoying biking to becoming a real cyclist! I have been biking upwards of 100 miles a week, and if I had more time, I would be doing a ton more! Last weekend, I did the long route of the tour, plus commuting, for a total of a single 45 mile ride! Woo! Minneapolis bike tour on Sunday!
  2. My birthday was a blast! I had a great time doing all sorts of fun with my best friends – from hanging in coffee shops to meeting in a really cool neighborhood pub. I even got a free pint of Guinness with my tattoo! Yay being 21! Its a ton of fun.
  3. School is going to be ROUGH BUSINESS this year. I’m taking Chemistry, Geomorphology, and Paleobiology – all lab courses. So, in addition to the roughly 9 hours of lectures I have a week, add on about 12 hours of lab! Ahh! Plus, I’m working on two honors theses, I sing in a pretty intense choir, and I’m a coach for my school’s mock trial team. Wooooooooo no social life. No good.

Hmmmm. I guess that’s it. Schoolwork is going to be crazy intense this year. No joke. But in the mean time, I am still enjoying some good stuff. Like this:

You can find the recipe here. Its delish!

Alright. Time to do some homework now. Yes, it is a Friday night. No, I do not have an option.


What a strange thing, love is.

August 31, 2010

Yesterday, I took my new bike out for its first ride, a respectable 10.65 miles. The ride was lovely, but as the day wore on I began to notice how incredibly sore I was. In places that no girl should ever be sore. The saddle is much harder and narrower than the one to which I’ve become accustomed. Oh boy.

However, after switching the the saddles with my other bike, I woke up excited to ride my new bike again. True love doesn’t come without pain, I suppose. I hopped on around 8:30 and rode the 8.5 miles to work. By the time I got there, I hurt something bad, but the ride was so smooth, so easy. I’m just going to have to build up some tolerance. I can do that. For my new bike, I’ll do just about anything. That is how much I’m enamored with it.

I was at work for about 5 hours, counting my pollen for my senior honors thesis. What does this look like, you may ask?

This is a piece of pine pollen, specifically Pinus flexilis. I count 500 grains of pollen per sample, with 9 different tree species and 9 different herbaceous species. Hurrah!

I had two little sandwiches instead of one lunch – both on Arnold’s Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins. One was almond butter and apples, the other almond butter with homemade blueberry jam. I like the Sandwich Thins, because the let the fillings shine through, but they do have a few added ingredients that I wouldn’t put in my own bread.

I left work, and biked home. For some reason, the trip back always takes a shorter amount of time…. 38 minutes instead of 43. Huh.

When I arrived home, one of my housemates had moved out, while another one arrived! There are only two of us sleeping here tonight – the other girl is moving tomorrow. By Thursday, everyone should be here. I’m glad I don’t have to move right before school starts. That would have been a pain in the rear end.

After biking 17 miles on very, very little sleep (only 2 and a half hours of real sleep, maybe 6 total sort-of-kind-of-half-asleep), I was exhausted. At 4:30, I was ready to call it a night, but I made myself push through. I took a quick trip to the local bike store and got a new bike lock which can fit through both my frame and tire, as well as a little repair kit thing. I want to get a bike stand and some sort of cushy cover for the evil seat tomorrow.

Now I’m sitting hear blogging, and pretty soon I’ll be in bed at a pathetic 7:30. But I’m tired. So. Whatever. I’ll wake up early tomorrow, take a ride, then go with my new housemate’s parents to the store for some various things.  Hurrah!

Alright. Goodnight!



From An Apple A Day:

Giddy giddy giddy.

August 30, 2010

The past two days have been something of a blur.

On Sunday, I woke up (well, I never was truly asleep), took a nice shower and went to ‘the coffee shop’ for breakfast. There have been many studies done that say that the best thing to eat for breakfast on days where mental cognition is important is a high protein meal that will provide continuous energy for a long time. Thus, I got my favorite tofu scramble – tofu, tomatoes, garlic, and spinach. It comes with goat cheese, but my non-dairy self and I got extra spinach instead. On the side – whole wheat toast and the best darn potatoes in the world.

I hopped in ‘my car’, or rather, the car I was using, and drove over to Edina, where I was taking the test. I wanted to be right at the facility early… but since I arrived 2 hours early, I stopped by the local Caribou Coffee, drank some tea and read my book for a while. I was totally (well, almost) relaxed by the time lunch  rolled around. I had a quick ‘snacky’ lunch of hummus, celery,  carrots, grapes, and half of a Koka Mocha ProBar.

11:40 came, and I went over to the testing facility. I registered, and before I knew it, I was sitting in front of the computer, ready to take the dreaded test! I was graced with two essay questions that I was able to not only work with, but rock. The math section was first, and I was pretty confident of how I had done, so I went straight into the verbal section with a small smile on my face. It seemed to fly by, and all of a sudden, I was presented with my scores for the math and verbal sections.

Let’s just say I walked out of the testing center with a little skip in my step. (For specifics, feel free to ask as I’m still on top of the world and will gladly share numbers. However, I don’t want to put them on the blog for bragging’s sake)

On my way home, I ‘had’ to pass REI, only my favorite store ever. In light of my tests, I decided I had earned a little treat, so I went in with the purpose of getting some real bike shorts, along with a few things that I actually needed.

I walked out with all that and a beeeeeeautiful new bike. Yes, I’ve gone over how much I love Philipe Henri… but when I laid my eyes on the new beauty, I knew that this was love at first sight. Its a Novara Buzz. Light as a feather. Oh man. I have a little bruising in a very unfortunate area because of the new seat, but oh. Oh oh oh. The speed. The flexibility. Oh.

After I left REI, I stopped at my voice teacher’s home to say hello to her, her partner, and the best dog in the Minnesota. We had dinner, which consisted of hummus and veggie wraps… and some sorbet and coconut milk ice cream for dessert, of course. She truly has become family to me and I always enjoy her company.

I went home, relaxed a bit, and finished the book I was reading. I went to sleep… or as to sleep as I could be in this godforsaken heat. Really. Minnesota? Not supposed to be this hot.

I woke up today, took my new baby out for a spin, and loved almost every minute of it. I’ll have to get used to some of the idiosyncrasies of it, but oh. I passed my music adviser on his run, and stopped to chat for a minute. I then finished the 10.65 mile ride, showered, then went to give a tour at my college.

After the tour and a short nap, I had a meeting with my adviser about my capstone paper. Its going to be a lot of work, but I’m excited about it! Yay, Schubert!

This afternoon has been full of lazing about, due to the unreasonable heat. Just sitting here is making me sweat. Ugh. Its going to be a night full of tossing and turning. But tomorrow I want to get in a good ride before a long day of work. Hurrah!

My 21st Birthday is on Sunday – any suggestions?


I’m not stressed… I swear!

August 28, 2010

Tomorrow is the big day. I’m taking the GRE at noon.

Does my entire future rest on this test? No. But does it feel that way? Sort of.

I woke up today at 8, then took a nice 14 mile bike ride in the cooler weather. My knees are a little sore, most likely due to past injury and all of the mileage I’ve racked up in the past week or two. I did manage to pass a group of bikers, all of whom were on light little road bikes, on my less-than-speedy hybrid. Although I’m no super competitive, I have to admit it felt kind of nice. I am going to be so sad when winter comes and I can’t ride any more.

After I got home, I showered, then went back to my favorite coffee shop, not to study, but to look at graduate schools. I am able to send my scores to 4 schools for free, and so I wanted to narrow down the schools to those I know I’ll be applying. I was there for four hours… but never fear! A good friend of mine stopped in, and I spent an hour and a half chilling with him.

I came home, finished the soup, reviewed my vocabulary flashcards, and now I’m going to watch some tv and read before going to sleep.

Really, this soup is lovely. I recommend you try it!

Off to relax… then the big day is tomorrow!

– Emma

Yet another ‘change’

August 27, 2010

Hello readers (Who are you? Let me know!)!

When I restarted this blog earlier this summer, I thought it would just be a place for me to talk about some recipes now and then. However, I have forgotten how cathartic writing my thoughts and activities can be. Thus, I will continue to post recipes, but I will also use this space as a place for me to reflect on my days.

Waking up for the past couple of days has been difficult. I want, no I NEED to start waking up early again so I am able to do so during the rapidly approaching school year. However, through the amount of biking and studying I have been doing, I have worn myself out. I figure that sleeping in for a few days will better prepare my mind for Sunday, when I take the GRE.

Oh dear Lord, that is in two days.

Anyway, I woke up this morning at 8 am, grabbed a bowl of cereal, checked some emails, and then took another practice GRE test. I had promised myself that I wouldn’t do that today, but the website wasn’t working last night… so. I paid for these tests and goshdarnit I like to get my money’s worth.

After taking my test, I needed to get out and get some air. I wanted to take a bike ride, but I didn’t want to do the same route I have been taking for the last month. The ride to my research lab is lovely, but I needed some new sights. Summit Avenue, which runs parallel to my own street, is the longest stretch of Victorian housing left in the country. Beautiful mansions and homes line the street, and each one’s unique character and design is a true work of art. I did one full 7 mile loop, then 2 loops of a 4 miles section for a total of 15 miles.

Its funny how quickly a body can adjust to activity. Just one month ago, a five mile ride seemed like torture, but I now shrug off anything less than 10 miles. I am saving up for a car, but gosh, getting a REAL, DISTANCE bike is so tempting.

After my ride, I met a friend at Nina’s Coffee Cafe, a cute little place in Saint Paul. I haven’t seen her in over a year (mostly my fault) and it truly warmed my heart to see her again. After two hours of talking, we split ways. I biked home, then completed the first step in making my favorite soup of all time – Potato and Leek.

Purple and white onions, leeks…. and PURPLE potatoes. I’ve never cooked with them before – nor seen the insides! I figured since brown, golden, and red potatoes are all white on the insides, these would be as well. I was wrong. The final soup, which I will complete tomorrow, will most likely be a very unfortunate color, but it will be delicious!

After I started the soup, I went to my favorite coffee house, where I’ve spent a good 25 hours the last two weeks while I’ve been studying for the GRE. I ordered a veggie sandwich – lettuce, tomato, sprouts, onions, and avocado on wheat – and did some more reading. I don’t count reading essays as studying, so I’m in the clear. Right?

I am now at home, and I plan on doing some ‘fun’ reading now. I recently got my hands on the newest book from Tamora Pierce, my favorite author from my childhood. I even wrote my college entrance exam on a character from her very first series. If you want a fun, enlightening read that will warm the cockles of your heart – check out the Song of the Lioness Quartet, the Immortals Quartet, or any of her books set in the land of Tortall. Seriously  these books got me through middle school – not an easy feat!

Okay. Really. Good night!



August 26, 2010

I was diagnosed with ADD when I was about 14, but I had been telling my parents that I was an ADD kid for years. Now, this does not mean that I have the normal hyperactive or bad behavior symptoms that are normally associated with ADD/ADHD. Rather, I simply have always been incredibly disorganized, and I tend to get overly involved in a small number of usually recreational things, sometimes to the detriment of other things or my time. Some would call what I have ‘an addictive personality’. Perhaps that is true. Perhaps I just really like certain things a lot. Any how, this is what I have been into (or obsessed with) lately.

1. Getting organized

Even with the ADD, I have always managed to maintain high grades, but since entering college, that has taken a lot of work on my effort. I have developed some hardcore time management skills, and I am sure to give myself ample time to complete projects that my friends normally cram/complete at the last minute. I have tried to become more organized, but having lived in dorms, either sharing a small room with someone or a small single, I simply was not able to pull it off.

However, since moving into my house with a larger room, I suddenly have  a very put together, organized room. I have spent a great deal of time putting together a space in which I will be able to live happily and productively. My duvet cover is a lovely black/cream/gray geometric pattern, and the bookshelf and clothing storage units are both black, with either white or gray accents. My dresser is white. Some would say boring. I like it. And I intend to keep it organized.

2. Biking

I had a bike as a kid . I sometimes rode to school, but since going to school involved going up hill, I usually avoided it. Those were the days in which I avoided physical activity as much as possible. In addition, I was hit by a bus when I was in 6th grade while riding my bike, which sort of deterred me from even wanting to ride for many, many years. And then, last summer, I had two bikes stolen from me. I thought I was done.

But then I bought a bike again. I needed a form of transportation to get around the cities for a couple of days. I found a relatively cheap bike at Target – a Schwinn Midmoor with 28″ wheels – and goodness me. Even on this relatively cheap hybrid, my thoughts on biking have been transformed. I think this is the first time I have ever had a bike that was actually made for someone as tall as I am. I love it to pieces. Meet: Philipe Henri III.

There are several different stickers on him: an Ireland sticker, a couple Glacier National Park sticker, and a few 18 Rabbits Stickers that I liked from the amazing and lovely Meg.

In addition, biking is a great double whammy – not only can you use it as a mode of transportation, but its great exercise. Look at how gross I get, after just 9 miles. I went on to do about 14 more later in the day.

It then proceeded to get worse… that always happens, it seems.

3. Mumford and Sons

You’ve probably heard their single, Little Lion Man, on the radio. Maybe. I’ve listened to their album 4 times today. Just today. I’m totally in love. I blame my friend Katie completely. And she says her friend is to blame. So. GO. LISTEN. NOW.

The Cave by Mumford and Sons

White Blank Page by Mumford and Sons

Those are just two. I love them ALL. Youtube them. GO.

4. Carrots

I know this is a silly one, but I am. I’ve polished a three pound bag off in a few days. I’m pretty tan from all my biking, but the new calluses on my hands (from Philipe) are a subtle shade of orange. That makes sense since they are the area of the most new skin growth… somehow, I just don’t care.

5. Other Simple Foods

I had the first bowl of oatmeal in months this week. Granted, they were cold when I ate them because it is just too hot for oatmeal in my opinion, but still. I missed it. “Recipe” soon, I promise.

I know in my last post I had mentioned I was in an Italian phase (ironic, since I’m partially Italian in heritage). But I love how recipes can be simple, easy, but full of flavor. Check out my new, delicious and simple dish: Warm Italian Tomato and Leek Salad.

And my last obsession? Getting a good score on the GRE. I take it in 4 days (Sunday). EEEEEEEEK. Today is the last day that I’m ‘allowed’ to study, so I’m going to go cram cram cram it all in my head.

What is your newest obsession?

– Emma

Stress, Dairy, and Peppers

August 17, 2010

Hello Readers!

With the rapid approach of the GRE, I am definitely stressing. I’ve taken practice tests, and there is just no pattern to my scores or what I miss. Its causing some serious stress thoughts – this test is a huge factor in where I go to graduate school…. and thus my future education, career, and life. I am studying approximately 4 hours a day, and it just doesn’t feel like enough, which must sound crazy. The stress is making me terribly anxious and tired. ALL I want to do is sleep. And eat sorbet. And bike. And sleep.

Stress is such an ugly emotion to be experiencing. Is it even an emotion? The negativity of stress spreads to all aspects of my life – I am more easily annoyed, I feel lethargic, and it simply frustrates me and my studying. I try to relax by thinking positive thoughts, doing some yoga poses, riding my bike, and eating well, but the importance of this test is just looming over everything.

One thing that made me slightly more stressed this weekend was the accidental ingestion of some dairy. I have suspected for quite a while that I am lactose intolerant, but wow. That little bit of goat’s cheese did me in. Dairy and I simply do not get along. From this moment on, I suppose am going to be an ALL dairy free girl.

On a much more positive note, my voice teacher, who has become like family, took me to the St. Paul Farmer’s Market on Sunday, and I picked up some gems – string beans, lovely grape tomatoes, and 5 beautiful peppers of three colors: yellow, green, and purple. I made some vegan stuffed peppers with my findings, and woah buddy. Delicious (not to mention aesthetically pleasing!). You can find the recipe here.

Alright. Off to do more studying. Oh vocab, algebra, and geometry, how I …. love thee.

– Emma


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