Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Tampa Wedding - The Rehearsal Dinner

The mother of the bride is an incredibly talented photographer, and these photos were all taken with her camera by her hand.  She very generously agreed to burn me a CD of the photos from the wedding, and they're really so great!  Such good memories of a whirlwind weekend!

Based in the Hudson Valley, NY area, you can find out more about Chosen Moments Photography on the web and on facebook

Enjoying the adorable pictures of the bride and groom growing up!

I still can't get over this room.  So funny.

Nope, they don't look like they're related at all, not a bit. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Tampa Wedding - The Rehearsal

The mother of the bride is an incredibly talented photographer, and these photos were all taken with her camera by her hand.  She very generously agreed to burn me a CD of the photos from the wedding, and they're really so great!  Such good memories of a whirlwind weekend! 

Based in the Hudson Valley, NY area, you can find out more about Chosen Moments Photography on the web and on facebook.

The bride made these two inlaid tables for her gift to the groom.  They were incredible. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Tampa Wedding - The Ladies Lunch!

The mother of the bride is an incredibly talented photographer, and these photos were all taken with her camera by her hand.  She very generously agreed to burn me a CD of the photos from the wedding, and they're really so great!  Such good memories of a whirlwind weekend! 

Based in the Hudson Valley, NY area, you can find out more about Chosen Moments Photography on the web and on facebook

I'm the center of a sister sandwich!

We all wrote marriage advice on cards, and I'm pretty sure mine was currently being read at this an unmarried lady, I don't have much experience in the whole marriage game.  However, I do know Firefly:

Mal: It ain't all buttons and charts, little albatross. You know what the first rule of flying is? Well, I suppose you do, since you already know what I'm about to say.
River: I do. But I like to hear you say it.
Mal: Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take a boat in the air that you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turn of the world. Love keeps her in the air when she ought to fall down. Tells you she's hurting before she keens. Makes her a home.
(is this the point I know I've been at MIT too long?  Maybe).

This is one of my favorite faces...pure unadulterated glee. 

The Ladies!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Noam Pikelny and Friends

I grew up going to see my babysitter play bass at bluegrass gigs, so it was a pleasant surprise to realize I had friends in Boston that were all about going to bluegrass concerts.  And wouldn't you know, Noam Pikelny was in town, playing at The Sinclair in Harvard..

Noam is a member of Punch Brothers, and is the inaugural winner of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.  

And what a show!  So much fun. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The cheese has arrived!

The cheese shipment from Guggisberg Cheese, it's here!

128 pounds of cheese.  I don't mess around.

It just barely fits in my chest freezer, a temporary spot until I have a chance to distribute it among friends. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Baby Shower!

My friend and MIT comrade-in-arms Oksana had her baby shower at the Asgard, and let me tell you, it was such a treat to be a part of a big celebration with friends flying in from all over the country. 

The shower opened with getting-to-know-you games, including a baby guessing game, which I ended up winning, I have no idea how.  Good luck, I suppose.  I was actually baby number one!  

Look at me, big smile, and baby blues.  My eyes turned hazel brown before I turned one, and they've stayed the same ever since. 

Next up was a game guessing baby food flavors. 

The pea was particularly wretched.

Mmm, paint palette of baby food. 


The most adorable cable sweater you ever did see.

Why yes, that is a crocheted piece of DNA!

Aimee is excited about the giraffe. 

Oh my word, adorable. 


Things that are delicious: cake.

Me and the mama-to-be.

Oksana is moving to Switzerland for a postdoc in August, so I thought it'd be fun to make a book with pictures of all of her friends, both for her and the baby.

"The Big Storybook of Names and Faces" from Pinhole Press ended up being perfect: I corralled pictures from other friends attending the shower, and put them all together into a book. It turned out so well, I'd highly recommend their website, the printing and binding quality was great. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Candy from the Antipodes

One of my first friends from my first year of college was a gentleman nicknamed Kroger, called such by my mother because he introduced me to the fluorescent-lit college paradise of the Main Street Kroger.  A half aisle of produce, two aisles of canned goods and soups, one aisle of frozen dinners, one aisle of frozen sweet treats, one aisle of chips and crackers and three aisles of pop and beer.  Quite the place.

Anyways, Kroger and I have stayed in touch as he has gone on to fame and fortune as a film composer and I have stayed in grad school.  We love to send each other bizarre packages through the mail, which have at various points included champagne, sardines, a feathery princess wand, Panda Licorice, a Genewiz plushie wizard (they're the company we use to sequence DNA), tea, and braised eel.  Because we could. We each have slightly sadistic one-upmanship streak about us with regards to sending the grossest canned fish we can find.  I still don't remember how that started. 

The latest package from him was slightly more tasty than some of the canned sea critter we've sent back and forth---it was chocolate from his honeymoon in New Zealand!  And my main question is...why does American Cadbury chocolate taste so inferior?  Between my Cadbury favorites from England and these ones, wow.  So much better.  I could wax rhapsodic about Flake and Wispa bars all day long.

(as a disclaimer, my friend that has been to Australia was disappointed in their Cadbury chocolate, but she was raised purely on the British stuff, so she has much more sensitive tastebuds than I)

So, without further ado, an excessively detailed post about chocolate from New Zealand (because I totally missed the boat when it came to reviews of my favorite European chocolates)

Moro Gold
Smooth textured chocolate flavoured centre with crunchy biscuit pieces surrounded in caramel.  All covered in Cadbury Milk Chocolate.

Simply put, this is a classed up Twix bar.  It was quite sweet, but it didn't have the chemical aftertaste that sometimes come with American chocolates.  I loved 3 Musketeers with the best of them back in the day, especially frozen in the front seat in the ice cream bucket between the driver and passenger side of my '89 Caprice.  But after tasting one a few years ago, all I could think was, "This is not as good as I remembered it."  If you don't think you like milk chocolate because it's too sweet, or Cadbury's because you had an unfortunate incident with one too many Cadbury Easter Eggs, this may not be the right bar for you...but keep in mind, Cadbury's from across the pond (or the very large pond?) is really quite different from the American version.  This particular bar also has a pleasant crunch, more like super-crunchy and airy rice crispie balls than "biscuit pieces," and they definitely aren't biscuits as in cookies.  Bonus? The caramel ring is delightful.

Moist tender coconut in milk chocolate

Similar to a mounds bar, a Bounty has toothier coconut in the center.  The milk chocolate, also far superior to American milk chocolate, is slightly sweeter than I would expect it to be.  While I am a sweets girl all the way, if there's too much of it without any variety in texture, it's just a bit unbalanced. 

A fistful of caramel, nougat and Cadbury milk chocolate

Similar to a milky way, transport made the caramel gush out the sides, changing the experience a bit.  But the flavors were great, also sweet, but wow, I still can't get over the chocolate!

Chokito  (Nestle)Chewy caramel fudge, crunchy balls and loads of chocolate

The only Nestle of the bunch, it reminds me of 100 Grand Bars (also made by Nestle).  But the caramel is chewier, and the crispy bits are inserted into a layer that's completely smoothed over.  I loved the combination.

Thin crispy shells with a creamy chocolate flavoured filling, covered in Cadbury milk chocolate

A Kit Kat-ish sort of concoction, Crispellos are little bites of light and crispy chocolate.  They're quite airy for being covered in chocolate...somehow it doesn't de-crisp the crispy layers (thanks chocolate-specialized materials scientists).  The texture makes it really a wonderful surprise.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

PSA - The Lego Movie is Awesome

Seriously.  It's way better than I thought it would be.  Great message, the characters are fun---if you ever played with Legos, you'll love it. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Winter Storm Pax

I couldn't get over how pretty the snow was.  This is the view outside the window of my office:

It looks like a storybook. 

The view from lab was never so pretty!

Hard at work!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Boston Eats: Dessert Bar at the Langham Hotel

Two of the lovely ladies from my lab were married in December---one in her home country of  Colombia and the other in her now-husband's home country of India.  Because I couldn't make either of the ceremonies, I figured having a day to celebrate was in order.

And wouldn't you know, the Langham Hotel hosts a dessert bar every winter!  Unlimited desserts?  Totally our idea of amazing.

The meal costs $45 and includes a beverage (coffee, tea, or soda), and as many desserts as you can possible consume.

Chocolate fountain, and trays and trays of sweets!

From top left - sticky toffee pudding, chocolate orange pot de creme, banana caramel cake, pecan pie, chocolate truffle on a stick, chocolate crunch, raspberry mousse, maple bacon chocolate tart with meringue, coconut ball. 

Erika's plate - apparently the coconut rice pudding was amazing!

Pastry swans, my goodness.

Did I mention there was ice cream?  Cause there was ice cream.  And crepes.  And chocolate cookies with milk.  And cotton candy.  

So good.

Friend, me, bride, friend, bride!  (notice all of us in our boots?  It was a total slushfest that day!)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Europe Trip, by the numbers

taken by Sara - I can't really emphasize how much I love this photo!  A castle during the golden hour...I was there! 

Number of photos taken:  3216

Average number of photos taken per day:  201

Amount of time it took for me to finish editing photos: 17 weeks

Number of edited photos that ended up on Flickr:  767  (23% of total)

Number of blog posts:  55

The Japanese Bridge in Monet's Garden!  (taken by Sara)

Total cost of the trip:  $2581.68
This includes three days overnight in London, three days overnight at hostels in Switzerland, food, airfare, gifts, everything except my housing in Paris and the generous meals, transportation and museum passes given by my wonderful hosts!  I tried to go through and figure out what the cost breakdown was, but I'll have to do better next time notating where I spent what.  I do have the information on the money I needed in each place for cash:

London:  $240
Switzerland:  $490 (partly due to train tickets, but Switzerland is expensive!)
Paris:  $331

ATM fees were $6-7 per transaction. 

And I should say, this trip was sponsored by my parents, a gift for graduating from undergrad.  Looks like I still have some left over for my next trip!  Thanks mom and dad!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Winter Storm

They just keep on coming this year!

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Salon Concert

I'm currently playing in a woodwind quintet with a group of grad students here at MIT - we practice up in the Penthouse, play hard, laugh a lot, and come up with really silly names for ourselves (we still haven't chosen one, though a particularly funny one is the "Late Night ER Run Quintet" after a rather unfortunate incident that resulted in the tip of our clarinet player's thumb being cut off...oops).

We held a salon-style concert in one of the fancy living rooms on the first floor of the dorm, and I have to say, it was such fun!  Audience members lounged on couches and comfy chairs, and we decided to wear "opposite fourth grade concert dress"---just for fun (concerts when you're young are almost always black on the bottom, color on top, and we decided to switch it up).

Britta on flute, Emily on clarinet, me on French horn, Sarah on bassoon, and Paul on oboe.

I will say, though, my face was just about gone by the end of it.  In orchestra, you have far more rests than you do in a woodwind quintet with just five people playing there. 

Our programs was quite a mix, from super modern to Klezmer (none of these below are us, but these are the pieces we played).

Quintet Number 2 - by David Maslanka

Klezmer Dances - arranged by Gene Kavadlo and Adam Lesnick

Roaring Fork - by Eric Ewazen

Libertango - by Astor Piazzolla

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A perfect Sunday

Cooking, Scrabble, friends, and Downton Abbey!


Key lime pie

Love this game.

So nice to catch up with friends!