Friday, December 20, 2013

Inner Beauty?

So if you've been following me for a while, you know that when I get stressed I binge watch a movie.  That movie has changed throughout the years; Aladdin, Tangled, Goodfellas, you name it.  I pick a movie and latch on and watch it multiple times a day.  This finals week I think I watched "The Devil Wears Prada" at least twenty times.  Yes I have a problem, no I'm not going to stop.
Anyways, one line in the movie really got me thinking about self image and whether I'm actually comfortable being me.  Nigel says "that's what this whole multibillion-dollar industry is all about, isn't it?  Inner beauty."  Is that all this is to designers?  To the fashion industry?  Is it just an industry?  I looked at myself with all my new clothes, obsessive need for makeup and the disdain I had at the little tummy I developed during my finals week diet of take-out and chips.  Instead of thinking about my time at home during my drive out of Boston, I kept thinking of how I was going to clear up my stress acne and lose the finals weight.  I almost had an aneurysm when my parents thought I didn't need makeup for going out to dinner to a small pub with them.
Wow what is wrong with me?  The more I thought of it, only a little of this thinking is new and I've been stressing about my appearance for years.  
I was a huge dork in high school.  I had Hermione Granger hair and my mom wouldn't let me wear makeup.  I thought the solution to the first problem was to cut it all off, and the second problem would be fixed by drying my face out because no oil meant no acne, right?  Well, wrong.  My hair turned into an afro and the dry skin only made my acne worse.  It wasn't until I almost graduated that I figured out that the weight of long hair keeps it flat and moisture actually keeps your skin from producing oil.  Turns out people aren't "naturally beautiful", they age into their awkward and learn some tips to look more put together.  Seriously, who looks normal in 8th grade and doesn't grow up to be a stripper or something?  At least that's what I tell myself.
Also to top it off, I was on the science team (loved it though!)
I was the entire nerd package.
The point is, did I really change much after learning these things?  No not really...   I'm still kind of a socially damaged chemical engineer at MIT.  Do I have more confidence?  Yes, definitely.  For me, looking put together tells people, "hey, I know what I'm doing".  Being put together is a way of showing that since I put the time into looking professional, you can put time into listening to my ideas.  Is this truly what happens?  No clue.  But it does give me more confidence when I go to a conference or a job interview.  
So back to Devil Wears Prada.  Can we really separate inner and outer beauty?  I'm starting to think not.  Yes one is artificially crafted by people making millions of dollars off of me being a sheep, but I think that having that beauty leads to the other.  Having nice hair and dressing in clothes that compliment you can increase your self confidence dramatically.  I have the confidence to walk up to people and present myself and my ideas without worrying what they're thinking about my appearance.  The point is, I'm not really seeing a need to differentiate "inner" and "outer" beauty, to me they go hand in hand.

Plus clothes are pretty ;)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Little Christmas Cheer

Hey everyone, I thought we could all use a little more Christmas, especially in finals.  I love online shopping, and typically it calms me down to look at fun things.  From now until Christmas I'll be posting some things that have caught my eye.



What's on your list?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Reprioritizing

Hey all.  I promised I'd be back and here I am!  I don't normally like to leave the blog completely dead for so long, but sometimes you have to drop everything and reorganize your life a bit.  The semester is winding to a close and I find that this is the best time of year to really think about life.  Christmas is coming, finals are closing in, and I'm slowly depleting my perishable food supply so I can go home.  I'll be back in Cambridge with 2014 fresh in the air, one year to go, and a blank slate.
I've been thinking a lot about priorities, what needs to get done, and what's really important in life.  You see my life ground to a halt about a week ago when a very close professor to me told me she has cancer.  I've been learning French with this woman for two years and grown very close to her.  I'll be honest, I was devastated by the news that something so horrible could happen to such a good person.
I've always been one to think that the universe operated through Karma.  What you do will come back to kick your ass, if not now then maybe in another life.  It didn't make sense to me that this kind, patient, and gentle woman could have something so tragic fall into her lap so suddenly.  It shook what I thought I knew about the world and broke down every safeguard around my heart.  I spent days crying for my professor, then cried because I couldn't believe I was taking it so hard.  It began to consume my down time.
Every day I heard her first words on the topic to me, "Remember that the most important things in your life are your family, your friends and your health".
What the hell was I doing with my life?  My health is slowly going down the toilet as I live a caffeine fueled sleepless existence.  My teeth are being ground to the roots and my stomach lining is slowly wasting away.
I do have the most wonderful friends here though.  I've met the most amazing people in Cambridge and have made truer friends than I ever had back in New York.  
But family.  Oh wow have I've messed that one up.  Yes I'm 20, I'm ok with the fact that I live 5 hours from my parents.  That's fine, natural, part of life, blah blah.  I spent my time with them and it's time to be on my own.  
But what am I doing living 300 miles from Doug, my new "family"?  Three years ago we sat down and made what is still the hardest decision of my life.  I moved to Cambridge to go to MIT, and he moved to Ithaca for Cornell.  We told ourselves that four years is worth the opportunity our educations would bring, we'd be back together soon.  At the time it was smart; we weren't sure if 18 year olds were capable of making life decisions and why sacrifice education for a high school relationship?  Three years later and still not a day goes by where I wonder if I made the right choice.
Where should my priorities be?  Have I brushed aside family for the sake of money?  Of my job?  Was this opportunity worth it?  Should I have stayed in New York?  Should he have moved with me?  I try not to think about it too much, with only a year to go there's not much point to changing it.  Still, I wonder as a 20 year old what I should be doing with my life.  Overall I think I made the right choice.  Maybe my Brass Rat will make life easier in the long run, letting us enjoy our life a little better.
That Rat can sure get heavy though.
Right now I'm just focusing on pushing through finals to get to my month of calm.  Five days until I don't have to worry about Reynold's numbers and radiation.  I can let myself recuperate from the strain I've put myself through.  This place is a disease.  The past months have held mostly exhaustion, stress, and disappointment for me.  It's feeling like every up has two downs and just when I think I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel something smacks me off my feet.  I know it'll get better, and I'm waiting for my work to pay off.  Maybe 2014 will be my year.
I'm sorry this turned into a long piece, but I've been away for a while and had some things I needed to air.  I promise the next post will be fun, but thank you for reading to the end if you did.  This blog means a lot to me and thinking about fun posts and new ideas for it definitely help me get through weeks like the past few I've had.
I wish you all the best, and good luck on finals!

Monday, December 2, 2013

And a good time was had by all

Hey everyone!  Oh it's good to be back behind my desk writing to you.  It's been a crazy week or so.  So many midterms, papers and traveling.  I promise I won't whine about those things for a while now.  Really, I mean it.
See I've been in a pretty good mood the past couple days.  I got to go home and see my baby Chippy, eat some food I didn't cook in a rush, and hand out with Doug.  Thanksgiving was a real rush this year and overall I think it went well.  I'm feeling well rested and prepared to take on the rest of the semester, what 2 weeks are left of it....
Thanksgiving was lovely, my parents actually made a turkey this year, which is rare.  My mom is an immigrant and my dad doesn't care too much for turkey, so what we eat varies from year to year.  It's always a feast, but is still really fun when we actually get a turkey.  Doug and I tried something new this year and split our time between our families (we grew up 3 blocks from each other. We're kind of Eric and Donna)  I won't go into it, but I'm not sure we'll do that again.  It was very tiring hopping from house to house, eating too much food, and each dealing with "inlaws".  We'll think of another game plan next year, but I wouldn't recommend two families in one day.
Did you find any good Black Friday deals?  Best buy ran a deal where Samsung Galaxy S4s are free with a Verizon contract.  I got this lovely here at midnight at Best Buy.
Samsung Galaxy S4
I thought I might get stabbed, but well worth it.  Oh baby is this phone nice...
I also got a brand spankin new pair of riding boots.  I feel so prep-tastic in them it's unbearable.
Bandolino Riding Boots
These were a real steal and the sale is still going on!!!  Marked down to $80, but the only pair left in my size was a tiny bit scuffed so they marked them down more to
$70.  I'm a happy girl.  The sizes run true, so you can buy them comfortably online during their cyber Monday deals.
Here are some of the deals I'm watching for today's Cyber Monday sales at Macy's

What sales are you watching?  I'll post a wish list soon for you.
Share your wish list with me!  I'd love to see what people are lusting after this year ;)

Monday, November 25, 2013

A more positive view: Guest Post from Mackenzie

Time has really been slipping away from me the past few days, so I'm making Tuesday a Monday and throwing a guest post your way!  Mackenzie is a good friend of mine now, we met a couple months ago and became fast friends.  As a freshman, she's kind of become my little sister over here in Boston and I'm thrilled to have her excited enough to want to post some thoughts here (she's one of the few people who reads this thing anyways).  So here's a less jaded view of MIT, and an experience very similar to mine.
~~~~~~
Being a college freshman in a university on the opposite side of the country from my hometown, 
I’m an old pro at meeting new people by now. The influx of anxiety hundreds of new faces in the first 
few weeks of orientation is something anyone who’s been in my shoes can attest to. It’s beyond 
difficult to even remember the guy with the blue shirt’s first name, much less try and form any kind of 
friendship with him. For weeks, I was terrified I wouldn't find anyone to hang out with. Everyone else 
was going to parties, hanging out in the dorms, and just doing normal “college” things. I was honest to 
God trying to make friends, but it’s a scary thing to do. I’m from a small high school where I had known 
my friends since we were in elementary school. The entire population of my home state isn’t even a 
fraction of the people in the Cambridge area. I had culture shock, and I felt like I was drowning. 
Through calling my sister crying, annoying my friends from home by asking to Skype too much, 
and feeling like the biggest loser at MIT, some of the best friends I could ask for snuck up on me without 
any warning. The group of people I have to call friends now has already helped me through so many 
firsts. Failed tests, relationship drama, homesickness, and countless other issues have happened in the 
three month period I’ve been in Boston. (Dear God has it really only been three months?!) I’ve banged 
on doors at 2 in the morning, ate everyone’s food, and been a total loser in general, yet somehow they 
still seem to like me. Thinking back to what I now call “The Dark Ages,” I can’t understand why I was so 
worried. I can’t imagine my life now without the people that have come into my life here at MIT. 
They’ve already become my second family. I know that sounds cliché and cheesy, but in a big, dark, and 
scary place some call the worst 4 years of their life, not to mention away from everything I’ve ever 
known, it means everything to me. So to all of them, thank you. You mean more to me than you can 
know. Keep doing what you’re doing, because you’re all amazing, and some of the best people I’ve ever 
known. And if you’re reading this and feel anything like I did during those dark weeks, just keep doing 
what you’re doing. The best is always yet to come.

"Thanksgiving" dinner
~~~~~~
Want to hear more from Mackenzie?  How did your freshman year go?  Let me know ;)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Impostor Syndrome

It's days like today when I question every decision I've ever made.  I'm sick, I'm tired, I'm overworked, and getting kind of sad.  I got so stressed that I proceeded to throw up the coffee-Dayquil cocktail that was the entire contents of my stomach.  I've been up since 8, gave a presentation, went to lab, am currently waiting to go fail a midterm, and then am going to stay up all night writing a paper due at midnight that I haven't started yet.
In short, I'm a wreck.
We all are.  Going through this school is the most demoralizing thing I have ever done.  No matter how hard I study I still feel like a failure when all is said and done.  You've probably guessed from the title of the blog that this is not a rare feeling for me.  Just when I think I have things figured out, I get slammed with a C- on an exam I thought I aced.  Gone are the days when I could walk out of an exam and know exactly how well I did.  Now I sit patiently for a 38% wondering if the average was a 60% or a 25% (both have happened).  
No matter what you can't win.  You either sacrifice all of your happiness, or sacrifice some of it and throw your grades down the toilet.
No matter what you're never as good as they think you are.
There's actually a phrase for this which I just learned recently: impostor syndrome. This is the idea that you are pretending to be the person people think you are, when really you're not as good as that.  I think we each have it to some extent, but I think it's pretty contagious here at MIT.  We often think we're stupid, falling behind or just not good enough  In reality it's quite the opposite, but when you're in an environment consisting of the "best of the best", of course a hierarchy will develop.  It's only natural that some people are "better" than others.  There are too many people in the world for it to not be that way.  Being in an environment where you're constantly judged and graded is incredibly difficult.  It begins to take a toll physically and emotionally and sometimes you'll feel like the lowest of the low.
This is when we need to take a step back.  We need to ask, "am I really dumb? Or is it just because I'm constantly in stressful, difficult situations?"  College is the worst because even when you don't have midterms, everyday is a test.  It's a test of endurance, a test of nerve, and ultimately a test of will.  I've thought about quitting countless times.  I question why I'm here, what it's worth, and whether or not I even like this anymore.  I've realized you can't question it.  Anything worth getting is going to suck along the way.  The only way to make it suck less is to step back, take a breath, and realize you're not the bottom of the bottom. You're not doing even half that bad, and maybe should even give yourself more credit than just bottom of the top.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dunkin Donuts Challenge

On Sunday a few of my friends and I ran the Dunkin Donuts Challenge.  For those of you who don't know, the DD challenge is run 2 miles, eat a dozen donuts, and run another 2 miles.  We decided we couldn't handle that (most of us are girls)  so we cut it in half to run 1 mile, eat 6 donuts, run another mile.  I first came across this idea on Jenna Marbles' Youtube channel (if you're not subscribed to her channel I can't talk to you anymore) and I think she did it about 3 years ago. (If you're interested watch hers here)
I pitched this to my friend, Veronica, over the summer kind of as a joke and she took it very seriously.  Of course once the idea gets going, no one wants to be the wuss to back out.
Luckily we documented the entire thing for posterity and eventually we'll be able to look at the footage without throwing up. 
So without further ado, here is our Dunkin Donuts Challenge:






Hope you enjoyed it!  In the end, it wasn't that bad.  It's a good story we can laugh about, though I think Mackenzie might not be laughing yet.

What's a dumb fun thing you've done?  Ever ran the DD challenge?  Let me know ;)
(this post was not sponsored by Dunkin Donuts.  However, if they'd like to sponsor me I'm totally open to that)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Outfit inspirations

So I've recently discovered Polyvore which has been exciting for me, and also should be exciting for you because it means I can share my outfits more easily without you having to look at my horrible Photoshop skills.
One of my biggest problems concerning somewhat formal-ish wear for me is cash (isn't it everyone's problem?)  So it's really important to me to have a few key pieces that are pretty versatile and that I can wear over and over without worrying that people will notice that I've worn the dress before.  I was recently at an initiation banquet for a friend's fraternity and had a little trouble picking what to wear.  I had to look nice (duh!) but it wasn't that formal an event.  Here was my solution:


You can check out the outfit here
The dress shown above is from French Connection, which I really love but honestly can't afford.  I found a really cute look alike sweater dress at H&M a while ago that is perfect!  I paired it with some fun sheer leopard tights I found at Target for around $5.  My pearls are from my grandmother and the shoes I got on sale during Black Friday last year ($40!!!)
The dress has been super easy to take care of, and with different tights, shoes and a belt, it's a new outfit!
It may seem boring, but I've been a huge fan of tans and browns this season.  There's something kind of chic yet calming about the color.   From sweaters to dresses I've been putting a lot of beige in my wardrobe lately.

What have you been wearing lately?  Let me know ;)

Friday, November 15, 2013

House Envy

Living in a dorm I've started to realise that I took a lot of things for granted when I lived with my parents.  Aside from the whole, you know, having someone take care of you, the biggest thing has been having a house that's mine.  My kitchen faucet broke today and started shooting water everywhere and I actually started to cry.  Like, sat down and cried because I was so frustrated with living in a shitty dorm.  The heat breaks, the bathroom is dirty, the kitchen sink leaks and we have mice.  As far as dorms go it honestly isn't that bad, but I am counting down the days until I have a place of my own.
This is as close to decorating as I get these days

Aside from day to day mechanics of the house never failing, the thing I'm looking forward to most is being able to decorate.  It's hard to decorate a brick walled dorm room without it looking cluttered.
So I was kind of a weird kid, but I've always LOVED Pottery Barn.  When other 12 year olds were begging for video games or dolls or whatever 12 year olds like, I was begging for a Pottery Barn duvet cover.  I don't know how long I begged my mom before she got it for me, and for months I wouldn't let anyone sit on my bed because I was so anal about keeping it clean.
I actually found a picture of the one I had!  Unfortunately it's at my parents' house because I'm now sleeping on a luxurious Twin XL dorm bed.
Anyways, I've been having some serious house envy these days and have not been able to get off my "Home is where my heart (and junk) is" Pinterest board.  To tide myself over for a while I've been designing rooms of my "future house" on Polyvore (totally cool website I just discovered because I'm always fashionably late to these parties).  
Here is a bedroom design I've been ogling over lately.
Duvet || Vase || Curtains || Lamps || Bedside Table || Persian Rug
I can't wait to have space and money.
A few notes on the items I've picked:  I love duvet covers!  It's pretty covers without the commitment.  You get a really fluffy warm comforter as a base, then change the duvet whenever the mood strikes!  Perfect for me because I'm kind (very) fickle.  I'm also kinda wild about the glass table.  Maybe it's because my siblings and I were destructive kids (read: Malcolm in the Middle style crazy) so we never had anything glass in our house.  It's so shiny and sleek I really am in love with it.  Finally I know the persian-style rug seems a little out of place, but I really like them.  My grandparents are from Iraq and my grandmother had a lot of Persian rugs in her house (my sister and I were convinced that at least one of them could fly) so they've always had a special place in my heart.
I'm really enjoying getting used to Polyvore, it's a pretty cool site I think I'll be procrastinating a lot on ;)
Also in case you missed out, I have a Youtube channel now! I'm very excited about it and am seeing it as a fresh canvas for interacting with all of you so feel free to comment anything you'd like to see go up there!  I've got some awesome things cooking up that I can't wait to share with you!

Anyone else out there with house envy?  Have a house of your own?  Comment me some links to how you decorate your place! ;)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Feeling kinda sick lately

Hey so kinda short post today.  Long story short I've been kinda sick lately and falling behind.  Crazy week but I've been planning a lot for you guys and growing the blog.  Look forward to Friday and next week.
For now enjoy this picture of me with my heart monitor.

See you in a couple days!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank you Lilly


Yesterday was Lilly Pulitzer's birthday and I thought I'd take a moment to say some things about how she changed my life.  It may seem stupid, but before I knew who Lilly Pulitzer was I was a completely different person.  Her playful designs pushed me from being an apathetic teenager to being a fashion forward driven young adult.
Me back in 2011
Just to get things straight, I've always been awesome ;)  I tried to stand out as playful and energetic and I let those qualities define me.  I found a wonderful family in the jam community (as in jam music like Phish and the Dead) and I got lost in it completely.  I was a tie-dyed, dancing, bright eyed modern day hippie.  Looking back I still see nothing wrong with that, but I grew up and acquired responsibilities and had to move on.  I had defined myself as a Deadhead first, and a professional second.  I loved wild colors and in the midst of that threw style out the window.
Then I met Lilly.  Or rather, I met Lilly's clothes.  I was a little behind on that bandwagon and only discovered her style in college.  I was in LOVE though.  The color, life, and professionalism of the dresses really drew me in.  
Cherry Begonias has always been my favourite print
I had to have it.  All of it.  I started small with an agenda, then a belt, and more and more and more.  Soon my paychecks were almost being directly deposited to the Lilly store.  It was then that I realized that I could look bright and playful, but still professional.
But not too "professional"  in the traditional sense.  To me, as a woman in a man's world (i.e. in engineering), it became very important for me to maintain my femininity, especially in a lab setting.  I craved color, but also needed something that said "yes you can trust me with your multi-million dollar plant".  Bright shirts and dark jeans with heels, a sleek tea dress and boots; I became part of a world I barely knew existed. 
The more Lilly I got the more I figured I should spice up my entire wardrobe.  Enter Kate Spade, J Crew, Ivanka Trump et al.  So long story short, here I am a Deadhead engineer running a fashion blog and nearly going broke getting "free" gifts from Lilly Pulitzer.
Me in April
So I guess yes, I am a Lilly Girl.  I don't dress head to toe Lilly, but I feel like I've gained the spirit all Lilly Girls have.  It's the fashion forward fun and color we add to our lives that makes us stand out.  Bright eyes and a laugh are as essential to an outfit as bows or lace.  Clothes don't make you who you are, but a bright dress compliments a smile so well.
So thank you, Lilly.  Thank you for helping me into a world where I can be taken seriously without being too serious. And most importantly for teaching me that "life is a party.  Dress like it."

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thoughts on Love

This post has been a while in the making...
Love is one of the scariest things in the world. Ever. Period.  I usually like to think I'm thick skinned, but when it comes to love I break.  I'm not talking about Disney princess love story love.  I mean real life painful love.  This kind of love has the power to make you infinitely happy or painfully aware of solitude.
The reason I've been thinking about this is because a lot of my friends have been coming to me lately for relationship advice.  It seems like love turns the smartest people stupid and tests our ability to care about other people more than ourselves.  It's scary as hell.
Why does love scare us?  We're afraid of losing it.  Once you find your other half you'll do anything and everything to keep it.  It's not that easy though.  Movies say you'll know if he's the one and when it's right love is easy.  You never know and it's never easy.  I've found that humans crave a companion but also aren't suited to it.  It's hard to give up parts of your personality to accommodate your partner, and it's hard to grow together.  If you grow together too much you have nothing new to tell each other; grow too far apart and you no longer have anything in common.  Striking that balance is hard and I've had almost six years of working at it and am still learning.
I don't normally like to talk about my very personal life here but this might make more sense if I do.  I've only had one boyfriend, we've known each other since we were like 10, became friends and started dating our freshman year of high school.  Since then we've broken up three times, gotten back together within a week, and never dated anyone else.  We now live 300 miles apart at different schools (MIT and Cornell) and only see each other once a month.  Through it all I've learned a lot about myself, my relationship and love in general.
The most important thing I've learned is honesty.  I'm not talking about just don't lie and stuff like that.  I'm talking about complete, open, peer into your soul honesty.  You need to know everything about each other.  Obviously this comes with time, a lot of time.  You slowly build trust and just as slowly open up.  Eventually you know everything in each other's heads.  It's an incredibly vulnerable feeling, but also comforting that you have someone who knows you, the real you.  Even your family doesn't know your head this well.  The result?  Pure honesty.  If you have a problem, you have to tell them.  Doubts about the relationship?  Share them.  They have a habit that bothers you?  Tell them.  These little things build up and honestly, if you feel it they probably do too.
The scariest thing for me was expressing doubt this past summer.  We were living together and I felt like things were slowly going south.  I kept my fears to myself, got bitter, and things continued to get worse.  I was afraid if I even hinted that I thought it wasn't working then everything would crash down and it would cause more problems.  With a lot of prodding I finally shared my doubts.  We talked through them in about 4 hours, and everything was on track to go back to normal.
I shouldn't say normal though, there is no normal.  Relationships grow and change, it's only healthy.  Never expect things to "go back to normal", just make them go back to good.  You're never the same as you were 3 months ago, don't expect that of your relationship.  All you can do is grow into what you both need.
I'm still growing, we're both still growing, and I don't really know what the end result is.  I think that's the best part though.  Every day is a comforting norm and every tomorrow is an exciting mystery.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Chemical Engineering

One major "theme" of my life is chemical engineering. I recently wrote about how my homework and exams have been killing my love of it, but like it or not, engineering is still a huge part of my life.  I realised however that not a lot of people actually know what chemical engineering is or what we do.  Well gather 'round my possum pals and join the jamboree, because I'm here to tell you all about it.
First off, we are not chemists.  It's actually kind of mean (and we joke that it's degrading) to call us that, so don't do it.
This is a chemist
and this is a chemical engineer
notice the hard hats and way cooler apparatus.
The main difference is best summarized like this:  chemists will spend millions in a lab to produce a few micrograms of a substance; a chemical engineer will take the substance from the chemist, find out how to make 3 tons a minute of it really cheaply, then sell it and become rich.

What I actually do is scale up.  Chemical engineers take a small, experimental process and make it big.  It's like the difference between baking cookies at home and how Keebler does it.  Chemists are you, and I'm Keebler.  I also make it possible for things to be produced safely, cleanly, and cheaply.  When I do my job right, your aspirin is purer, your energy cleaner, and your overall quality of life improves.  You can look at almost anything in your house (including the electricity and gas and water lines)  and thank a chemical engineer for it.  If it is heated or flows through a pipe I can tell you how it works.

So what does this involve and why do I whine about it so much?  It involves a lot actually.  ABET (the board that accredits college degrees) has the strictest policies for chemical engineers.  We have the most required classes of any major and none of them are a walk in the park.  I've been a chemical engineer for 2 years and have already done 2 classes in thermodynamics, a class in fluid mechanics, biochemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, MATLAB coding, transport phenomena, polymer science, plus a few more that all MIT students have to take.  The result?  I don't have to go to grad school.  My undergraduate degree is considered a "professional" degree.  This allows me to register as a professional chemical engineer with the state and hold the same status as doctors and lawyers.  I can give expert testimony and be considered a valuable source of input in my field with only a BS.  Pretty sweet gig.

Why do I like it? I'm not sure anymore honestly.  I grew up with a chemical engineer.  My dad works in a nuclear plant and I grew up hearing stories of the cool projects he worked on fixing things around the plant.  He also inspired me with his ability to grow his own consulting company.  The freedom that comes with being self employed is something I really want from my life and I feel like being an engineer is a good path towards that.  Overall I do like my major.  Yes it's hard, yes I'm almost failing, but if I went back and told myself what I know now, I'd do it all again.
I like learning how fluids behave, how heat goes from one place to another and how to keep reactors from clogging when you run them for days or months on end.  It's one giant puzzle, chemical engineering is finding out how to make processes bigger, how to fix new problems, and of course how to make lots of money doing it.
Studying in places other than at my desk feels like a vacation.
Like I said before, I'm an engineer.  I always have been, I always will be.  I'm starting to be happier about it and look forward for what new challenges face me.

I love talking to other students!  What do you do?  How do you like it?  Let me know ;)

Monday, November 4, 2013

J Crew Haul

Popped over to J Crew a couple weeks ago for their Columbus Day sale and FINALLY got a Stretch Perfect Shirt.  I'd been really wanting one for a long time but let's just say I'm a little... disproportionate when it comes to buying shirts.  I decided I wasn't going to leave without one though.  After pulling every size of shirt into the dressing room and asking the opinion of the fitting room attendant over and over again I was surprised to learn I was an extra small.  WHAT?  Extra small?  I've never been an extra anything in my life!  It's true though.  The fitting room attendant had some wonderful advice when it comes to dress shirts.  She told me to always fit them to my shoulders because that's the hardest part to tailor.  If it fits your shoulders, it'll fit your waist and then you can deal with the rest.  
Excuse the lack of makeup, but yeah, pretty bad

That almost seemed like a lie though, because you could absolutely see through the gaps in the shirt from my genetic lottery win.  But I found a quick fix online.
I bought these small Sew on Snaps and carefully sewed them in between the buttons of the shirt.


Voila! No more gaps and I now have a beautiful fitted button down.  It's not my best sewing accomplishment (I'm more of a cook), but whatever, it got the job done.
Definitely needs ironing, but the slight stretch is definitely better than the gaps!
I'm really excited to put the miles on this one.  It's a stretch shirt, so the more I wear it the less the obvious the pull marks will be.  I got the light blue so I could wear it with jeans, or a nice pencil skirt.  Instant class!  

Ever have trouble fitting into clothes?  How do you take action?  Let me know ;)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Clarisonic Review

I bit the bullet and bought a Clarisonic Mia 2.  I had been finding that if I didn't take my makeup off right when I got home at 4 it would really start to sink into my face and clog my pores.  Getting it out was becoming a chore that was turning my face into a desert.  Dry skin leads to more oil production leads to more acne. Ick.  I was going to buy a knock off Clarisonic from Olay or get a Neutrogena Wave, but I decided to see what all the hype was about the Clarisonic and just went for it.  I'm using it twice a day (in the morning and before I sleep)  with my own face wash.  In my eyes, one try isn't enough to give you a comprehensive review, so here's seven thoughts from my first seven days with the Clarisonic Mia 2.  


Day 1: The brush is so gentle!  My face feels so clean without the harsh scrubbing.  My pores are cleaned out but they seem more exposed because they're empty.  At least they aren't filled with dirt right?
Day 2: Geeze my pores are huge! But they're so clean!  A lot of my little whiteheads are completely gone and my skin is so smooth after just one day!
Day 3: My pores are finally smaller!  But wow, if you pick at your skin Mia definitely punishes you for it.  I have a couple bright red spots on my face now.  New rule: hands off!
Day 4:  It seems to work better if you put the facewash on your face (it puts the lotion on its skin!), not the brush, and don't wet the brush before you use it.
Day 5: Wow my skin is so smooth!  My cheeks used to be really red but now the whole tone of my face is more even.  Most of my trouble spots on my chin and forehead are calming down too.  Today I started wearing just my foundation without the heavier color evening primer and it looks pretty good!
Day 6:   My face is almost completely cleared up and I've stopped using acne cream.  I don't think my face has been this soft since I was 12.  Even with the weather getting cold and dry my face is barely flaking like it normally does.
Day 7: All that's left on my face is the remnants of really bad old acne.  No new blemishes have popped up since I started using the Clarisonic and the old ones are going away fast!  My face routine is down to just face wash with the Clarisonic and some moisturizer.  Big time and money saver!

Overall:  Worth every penny!  I think this will save me money in the long run on acne creams, concealer, and primer.  I'm wearing less makeup and my face looks fantastic!  I HIGHLY recommend you buy one of these if you've been on the fence.  The price is steep, but it makes a world of difference.  My skin is clearer and much healthier.  I'm even starting to feel confident enough to walk around without makeup.  It's that good!

Are you a Clarisonic convert?  Any questions about my review?  Let me know ;)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Study Skillz

Studying has never been something I'm good at.  I never had to in high school but oh boy is MIT a different story.  It seems like all my time is spent doing problem sets and studying.  Thing is, I never knew how to study.  I'm a master at getting work done, I can power through papers and problem sets like nothing.  Studying is a different story.  It lacks structure.  It lacks instructions.  It lacks a to-do list.  It lacks an end.  That was the key, without a clear end I never knew how to start.  From the beginning of course.

Yes I'm aware how neurotic I am that I make lists of everything...
I started a system where I go through all of my notes from start to end, and on a blank piece of paper put down any equation, constant, vocab, anything I'd need fast and often in an exam.  This is my cheat sheet.  Each exam I make a new one starting from scratch, and modifying it based on what I figured out I needed to know on previous exams that I failed at.  (It may be worth pointing out that all of my ChemE exams are open note, open book.  Don't be envious, it just means they can ask more obscure things.)

Then I go through and tab my textbook.  Any table, equation, sample problem that looks useful gets a sticky note label on it.  I usually do this as I go (yes I do read the book during normal weeks.  I'm a goody goody), but sometimes I fall behind, so I make it task 2.

Lastly is practice problems.  First I redo all my old problem sets.  These have the most potential of having material you will see again.  It's why they give you the problem sets.  Often they're also harder than the exam will be, so if you can do these you'll likely pass the exam.  Lastly practice with old exams.  I say do this last because if your professor is anything like mine they switch the covered material drastically each year.  Old exams are almost guaranteed to either not have enough material, or have things you didn't cover.

The end.  That's when I stop studying and relax.  Rereading and rereading and doing the same problems over and over and over doesn't help.  Spending too much time on one thing just makes you nervous.  So relax, do other work, and walk into the exam like what up I got a big, erm, you know (keeping it PG!)
Good luck and happy studying!

Any study tips you have?  I'm always looking for more.  Let me know ;)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sweater season

It's finally getting cold in Boston!  I love this time of year, reminds me of Syracuse with grey skies, unpredictable weather and seasonal affective disorder.  Joking aside, I am happy I can wear long sleeves without getting super overheated.  That also means it's time for sweaters!  I love sweaters, so soft and comfy.  They're like super classy pajamas. Unfortunately with a couple exceptions, my sweaters are all super old and mostly cotton.  I think it's time to get some grown up sweaters.  Here's what I've been looking at.

I may have to go shopping this weekend and stock up.  The weather is getting a little unfavorable.  

What are you wearing this fall?  Let me know ;)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Current Loves

As I've said before, my love is fleeting.  It seems like a good time to update my Current Loves and introduce you to my latest obsessions that I use as crutches during the week.

2 Broke Girls:  Now that Breaking Bad is over I need something to fill my braindead times and this is quickly becoming my new favourite.   I've been with this show since the beginning actually and I really like the direction it's gone in.  Now that the girls have a more stable work situation the writers are more free to give Max witty one liners and show off Caroline's Wharton skills.  Rather than asking myself each week "I wonder if the shop will close" I've been asking "I wonder what crazy marketing scheme they'll come up with next" which is always a better way to start an episode.  Here's to another great season!

Warby Parker:  They made my list last time, but I didn't actually own their glasses yet.  I've had the Baxter pair for about two weeks now and I only take them off to sleep!  They're so comfortable, it's nice to go the whole long day I have without my eyes drying out.  They're also adorable!  I've gotten so many compliments from my friends and random strangers.  Nothing like a random gay guy on the street telling you he loves your glasses.  That's when you know you're a winner.

Reeses Peanut Butter Pumpkins:  So my secret (not really)  ultimate joy in life is Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs that they sell during Easter.  I'll buy no joke like 10-20 bags of them.  Frozen Reeses is the best thing on Earth and I love them so much that Doug has actually taken to buying Reeses Eggs in April, freezing them, and giving them to me for Christmas (which is totally awesome).  The pumpkins are almost as good, but the peanut butter-chocolate ratio is a tad off.  They'll work for now though.  That'll do pig, that'll do.

Green Tea:  I'm not too good at handling caffeine, so tea is a must.  This green tea has been a life saver.  There's nothing better than having something warm to drink right after you wake up.  Green tea is also supposed help promote long life.

Tangled:  Guys, this might be the next Aladdin.  I LOVE this movie and may or may not watch it on repeat occasionally.  See my review of it if you aren't convinced it's amazing.

Jenna Marbles:  I don't know if it's because I need something mindless on when I'm working or whatever but I freakin love her videos.  I've seen all of them.  I especially like her Miley Cyrus video.  Dude also don't even get me started on Miley Cyrus, but I do love the parodies she's inspired.

What are your loves lately?  Let me know ;)


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Passion

I've been realising that school and classes have this uncanny ability to really kill your passions. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sitting in my room all depressed with all the joy sapped from my life, but I am starting to see how doing something for credit and full time can ruin your enjoyment of it.  
I am an engineer.  I always have been ever since I was small.  I'd observe the world around me, see how it could be made better, break things that worked and fix things that were broken.  My mom loves telling me how as a six year old I told her how spoons make your reflection upside down because of the way your picture bounces off the angles (not bad for someone who can barely read!).  I'd read about nuclear plants, ethanol fuel and cloning.  I was truly interested in engineering.  I joined the science team in high school and would look forward to it every afternoon as a way to explore and go beyond the trivial material of a high school student.  My favourite memories of high school involve my team, and I'll never forget how proud I was to be on a nationally ranked team.
Me and my coach.  I still keep in touch with this wonderful woman.
 Without her I wouldn't be where I am today.
And then I got to MIT.  Engineering became my life.  I'd wake up to it, stay up all night working on it, and sometimes it even haunts my nightmares.  I used to jump at any opportunity to learn more, now I pine for a chance to give my mind a break.  I'll be frank, I hate school.  I'm counting the weeks until I graduate and I'm going to leave Cambridge and never look back.  Graduate school is absolutely not an option, I'm getting out of academia as fast as I can.  On that note though, I have nothing but good memories of MIT in terms of my personal life.  Classes are murder though.  I'd have killed in high school to be able to learn Transport Processes or Fluid Mechanics, and now I'm finding any way to take as few classes as possible.  This makes me a little sad that school somewhat killed my passion for engineering.
My nights now look like this
I'm starting to be ok with it though.  I know I'll love my work when I'm away from school (and making boatloads of cash won't hurt. As my dad used to say "money can't buy happiness, but it's more comfortable to cry in a limo than on a bike").
I've also found new passions.  I love writing this blog.  It means so much to me that so many people are interested in my ramblings.
I'm planning an amazing vacation as well.  You wouldn't think it could be time consuming enough to constitute a new passion, but trust me traveling abroad takes a fair amount of planning (especially when you're poor!).  I've also started taking more time to learn French.  I want to make it more than just my minor, and I've been taking time to read up on history, cinema, and other cultural things.  Reading websites in French has also definitely improved my skills, which is such a plus.
I've also decided to become more serious about sporting clays.  I've been taking practices more seriously and reading theory behind how to shoot well.  You'd be surprised what a mind game skeet is, but it's been satisfying to see improvement.
I'm slowly starting to find new passions while accepting that engineering is a job for me, not a lifestyle.

What are your passions?  How are you keeping sane in school? Let me know :)



Monday, October 21, 2013

Head of the Charles

Head of the Charles was this weekend!  This and Marathon weekend are the two big to-do's in the area that I look forward to every single year.  With a lot of my friends being current or former rowers, it's always a big weekend for us.  I live right on the river near the starting line, so I'm always in on the action right off the bat all weekend.  It's lovely to see all the boats getting ready to go and see all the teams from all over the world get pumped.  I took yesterday afternoon to go hang out near the water and see the races.  I ended up walking the entire course and taking a seat right near the finish for most of the afternoon.
Found an amazing place to sit
I got a nice cup of hot cider and watched our teams cross the finish line.  In between races I had a chance to walk around and see some of the booths set up.
And that's when I saw it, the Brooks Brothers booth.  While it is somewhat beyond me who would be at the regatta and be like "you know what I need?  A $300 sweater to carry around near the world's grossest river", I felt compelled to go in.  The reason?  The KJP table of course! 
I'm not going to lie, I was slightly star-struck when I saw Sarah Vickers in real life in person.  My friends laughed at me as I took about five minutes to build up the courage to go say hi.  You see, I'm a kind of shy person deep down, and it felt slightly stalkerish to be like "oh hey, I know you from the internet and you have absolutely no clue who I am but let's take a picture together."  Truth is though, she's kind of a role model for me.  Not only is she wonderfully dressed, but she and Kiel grew a company from the ground up to an incredible level of notoriety.  What is there for a 20 year old not to look up to?  I've followed her blog, Classy Girls Wear Pearls, for a couple years now and am always impressed, so it was a real treat to meet her in person.
Who'd have thought one day I'd be courageous enough to ask
a stranger to take a picture with me?
She was so nice and even took a moment away from her booth to take a picture with me, which was very generous because their custom HOCR bracelets were selling like hot cakes.  Personally though I was in love with the Vicker's Bow bracelets.  One day when I'm not student poor I'll get one!  They are just too cute!

In short it was a lovely weekend, and I'm looking forward to what the rest of fall has in store for me.

Have you ever been to HOCR? Dropping by Boston sometime soon? Let me know :)


Friday, October 18, 2013

Tangled

I realize I'm really late to the game on this one, but I've recently fallen in love with the movie Tangled.  Like I've said before, I have no shame when it comes to watching movies repeatedly in the same week (or day #sorrynotsorry).  Even though it came out years ago, I only just now got around to watching it.  Honestly, if you haven't seen it you need to.  I don't care how old you are; my boyfriend and I are 20 and we both love it.
how adorable right?
Aside from being just absolutely freakin adorable, it's also very relatable.  One of my favourite scenes is when Rapunzel alternates between having no regrets about leaving the tower and being incredibly guilty about it (I've totally done that on more than one occasion)


I think Rapunzel is now my favourite Disney princess.  She's so innocent, yet sassy.  Somewhat helpless in the classic Disney way, but so resourceful at the same time.  She's definitely a more three dimensional character than Disney usually churns out.  I was really impressed at the complexity of the storyline, as well as how dark it got.  For once Disney stayed somewhat close to the original story (they don't stab Flynn's eyes out though, thank god, he was adorable).  I think since the story was a little darker than normal it made it easier for an older audience to stay engaged, but the humor and Rapunzel's demeanor were still light enough to entertain children.
Yeah I've had conversations like this too
I recommend everyone watch this movie.  The end made me (and Doug) cry, it was that cute!  Besides, you'll learn just how useful a cast-iron pan can be.

Have you seen Tangled? What did you think? Let me know ;)

Minimergency Kit

I've been eyeing these minimergency kits every time I walk into J. Crew.  They seem like the most genius idea ever.  There are so many times I've needed something in a pinch but left it in another bag.  I am a serial bag changer, I hate carrying the same bag all the time but I ALWAYS forget something I need in the bag I last used.  $13 for a little bag seemed way out of the question for me, especially because I couldn't see myself needing some of the things in there.  The solution?  DIY of course!
I have TONS of little bags that I get for free from Clinique during bonus days, so why not make my own personalized minimergency kit?  It worked out wonderfully and I love having a little kit that I can easily transfer from one bag to another.
Check it out. (I'm experimenting using my own pictures, bear with me)

Clinique Happy Travel Perfume:  I got this from a Bonus day and I never leave without it.  I hate going out without wearing some perfume, but I always forget it when I'm in a rush.  This travel size it barely a burden at all and has plenty in it so I can forget as often as I do with no problems.

Tampons:  Ok, this is a personal one that I have a problem with.  I am a tampon hoarder.  I usually keep 3 or 4 tampons in each of my bags like a squirrel hides acorns for the winter.  In an attempt to only have a normal amount of tampons on my person, I stashed 2 in my kit and took the rest out of all my other bags.  So far I'm doing well.

Band aids:  You NEVER know when you or someone else will need a band aid.  It's good to be the hero and always be prepared.

Friction Stick:  I recently discovered this stuff and it has seriously been a life saver! Swipe a little on your heels and no more blisters!  If you're walking a lot (read: if you live in Boston or NYC), you will need to use it like once an hour, but at least it looks nicer than bandaids on your heels.

Five dolla dolla bill:  You never know when you'll need cash.  $5 is small enough you won't miss it, but could get you out of a pinch.

Sewing kit:  So I stole this fro a hotel (you do it too, at least I didn't take the towels!) and have needed it a couple times.  Buttons pop, and once the strap on my shoe tore.  It's nice not to be the girl with her shirt stapled shut.

Hairties! I work in labs and have Hermione Granger hair.  Hair ties are a must and it's great to always have backups.

Chubby Stick in Mega Melon:  Lipstick is another thing I forget before I leave the house.  This shade is pretty neutral for my skin and matches most of my clothes.  It's nice to have when I realise I did all the rest of my makeup and left without putting on lipstick.  Additionally, it's super moisturizing, so always looks smooth and feels nice to wear.

Mini makeup bag:  I stash it all in this adorable little makeup bag I got from a Bonus Day.  Super handy right?  As they say, the best things in life are free.

Have a minimergency kit of your own?  I'd love to know what you have in it!  Let me know ;)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day-cation all I ever wanted

I went on my first day-cation on Monday.  Sure I've been on day trips with my parents and such, but there is nothing that makes you feel more independent than renting a car and just driving.
We decided on a whim to go to Maine for the day, see the coast, and pop by L.L. Bean.
I am such a great driver
I had an absolute blast!  We drove up Route 1 from Boston into New Hampshire and onto Ocean Boulevard.  The houses there are gorgeous though I'm not sure I'll ever be able to own waterfront property.  It was nice to walk around and see the water, enjoy some quiet outside of the city.  The trees were absolutely lovely!  I lost my appreciation for fall when I was still living in New York, but now that I don't have them anymore they are once again unimaginably beautiful.  I guess you don't know what you have until it's gone right?  I could have spent all day smelling the crisp air and looking at the red leaves.
We got all the way to Freeport to get some Bean Boots for Doug (can you believe he didn't have any yet?!) and ended up getting some delicious hand cut doughnuts from a shop right outside (I'm a sucker for doughnuts).
We has lunch at this cute little tavern called Gritty McDuff's in Freeport.  The beer looked amazing, brewed right there, but unfortunately it wasn't an option for me so I opted for some French onion soup and tea to warm me up.
It was just a tad bit chilly inside

It was the most fun I've had in a while.  Who knew it would be so fun pretending to be on vacation for one day?  To top it off we came home and had a nice dessert of toast with Biscoff spread.  Absolutely a lovely day.

Do you day-cation?  Where do you go?  Let me know ;)




Monday, October 14, 2013

Warby Parker Glasses

So as I've mentioned before, I'm not really a glasses person.  I've been wearing contacts since I was 13 and only wore glasses right before bed.  I thought they made me look like a librarian and a dork.
After long days going from class to lab to office hours, my poor eyes had had enough.  I decided I needed a nice pair of glasses to wear near the end of the day.  Enter Warby Parker.
A few of my friends recommended them to me and turns out there's a store right on Newbury Street near me.  I checked them out online first and decided I definitely needed a pair of statement glasses like they had. 
So a little secret: my insurance doesn't cover my eyes anymore.  No big deal.  Warby Parker works with the nicest optometrist who has a practice right there in the store!  I popped in and for $90 I got a new prescription (mine was over 2 years old and MIT was going to charge me $160 to get one at Student Medical!)
I took the prescription and walked across the hall and got fitted with some beautiful frames.  I am in love.  I bought these Baxter glasses for $95 right then and there, handed them my script, and the glasses were delivered to my door in a week,
I swear I haven't taken them off since I got them!

Aren't they gorgeous?  I am seriously in love.  I haven't worn my contacts in days and may only wear them biking and in lab from now on.  I highly recommend you check out Warby Parker.  Even if you don't have a store near you, they ship "sample" frames of your choice to you for free to try on!  I'm a huge fan!
I also got this nifty travel case for my contacts.  Now I can take them out when I'm out and about, which I'm really appreciating.
It's shaped like an elephant!

I've gotten so many compliments lately and my eyes are also singing me praises.  Check out their online shop and maybe you'll convert to glasses too.

Do you wear glasses?  What are you wearing? Let me know ;)