22nd Birthday Fun with my NYC & Philly Families

I have been hitting a bit of writer’s block ever since the end of March, but what better way to overcome this than talking about how lucky I am! This past Thursday, April 5, I had my 22nd birthday! And as usual, my family and friends really know how to make me feel awesome.

Here is the token “look at me when I was a baby” picture.

Last week during Spring Break, I spent the entire week chilling out with my parents, sister, and brother in law. They took me out TWICE for dinner. First, we ate at the Grand Lux Cafe for din by Roosevelt Field Mall (and even tried their famous desserts!) I really didn’t take pictures because we were all famished, but the serving portions were large and fancy.

(All rights reserved by NY PhotoVideo)

Next night we went to an authentic Italian restaurant near by my house. It was delicious! I never get seafood at school, so it was a treat to get fresh clams, calamari, and shrimp. The desserts here were equally awesome as the Grand Lux’s. My favorite was the “tartufo,”  which is an Italian ice cream dish. My order was made of vanilla and chocolate ice cream surrounded by a chocolate syrup shell and a cherry smack in the middle of everything. Delish with a cappuccino!

(Image from: Bleecker Pastry Tartufo)

As if that wasn’t enough, I also received these lovely presents! My mom & dad had given me a pair of Juicy Couture sunglasses to match the purse they gave me for Christmas and new pair of Reebok running shoes. They had also given me money to buy another present for which I was going to buy myself for my birthday (tune into another blog post to find out what that is) as well as go on a shopping spree for Victoria Secret undies and Sephora makeup. My sister found my a cutesy Betsey Johnson purse and earring-necklace set. Mucho pricey presents, but my family are skilled gift givers, wrappers, and bargain hunters!

Everyone always thinks of me when they see shiny, hot pink, roses, and lace 🙂

Back of purse & details on sunglasses

Look! One of the earrings is longer than the other. Odd, but I like it!

Close-up on my zebra bling.

Lighter kicks for my cardio kickboxing return & supportive for long walks.

When I dragged and kicked my feet back to Philly, I was happy to find birthday cards in the mail! From my sister, Kirsten, and the VA hospital! Filled with creativity, love, and photos 🙂

And geez you would think the celebrations stop there? But I get 3 nights of celebration in Philly! The first two nights my dear friend Ray and Aniket could not make, however, it was still a lot of fun. Naomi, Megan, and John were more than enough to make these festive celebrations.We had dinner and drinks at a bar near campus called “Mickeys.” It’s a small place with great bar food and cheap happy hours. I really couldn’t complain. Next, we had a pizza party in the apt just as tradition dictates!

And as bizarre as this sounds, I love drinking with my friends in Philly not so much because I like the drunk feeling or whatever, but because we are philosophical when we hang out and drink. We talk about life and dilemmas and issues when we sit around. That’s why I love them so much. Moving away from home, away from the familiarity of everything was a huge step for me. And honestly, I never thought I would have found anything to fill the void and loneliness. And then lo and behold after some time, I found my crazy, beautiful, Philly family. Not all at once, but once we had met each other individually, we just fell together into the  group we are today.  Who understood the struggles of college and growing into the adults we want to be. Of not wanting to be a crazy party person or poster child student for the university. Who, while enjoying the same unique hobbies or interests I have (anime, video games, movies, books, what have you) have completely different personalities, lives, and friends away from me. Yet they are always there for me, and as graduation nears and opportunities away from Philly show themselves to my friends, I could not ask for a greater present than having them in my life for many more years to come. But they are awesome and still got me gifts :3 An epic bag of joy, if you will.

They tried tricking me that they bought the “Orca” dvd for me. Just a God-awful movie. Why…?

Just kidding! It’s my super birthday card ❤ Each disk has a dedication on the back from each bestie >:D! P.S. do you see how large that piece of cake is in the drawing Megs made for me? Cray cray.

Where do I even begin??? A beautiful makeup bag set, recipe book keeper for my baking ideas, JOHN KEATS POETRY <3, a portable speaker set for my gangsta music, and the Big Bang Theory Friendship Logarithm shirt!

Close-up on the Log shirt because I’ve been vying for a Big Bang Theory shirt for  a while.

And of course I cannot forget Aniket’s fantastico presents as well! He bought me a brand new pair of earphones from Sennheiser to replace my headphones that died a few months ago. He also added to my panda collection and gave me little Bamboo with shining green eyes!

I’m luckier than your average girl 😀

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Remember, Desserts is Stressed Backwards!

I haven’t been super up to date with anything lately, much less my baking endeavors & blogs about them >.<

Towards the end of my coop, I tried making Kit-Kat induced cookies. Not one of my most favorite or successful experiments, but I like the way these cookies look like they are undergoing mitosis (cell division!! :D). Sadly I left them in the oven for about 5 minutes too long and they turned out a bit too crunchy for anyone’s liking haha. Iguess I can’t win them all.

(I guess you can also say they are undergoing phagocytosis since the cookies could be engulfing one another).

The overcooking theme continued as I made Aniket’s birthday cake this weekend! Besides the Spiderman & Beatles glasses & Batman game I threw at him with chocolates and socks, I also made him a cheese cake. It was a cheesecake covered with caramel, Toblerone shavings, oreo crust and encrusted sides, and a Ferrer Rocher center piece to make it special.

Here is the recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/toblerone-topped-caramel-cheesecake/detail.aspx

He humored me and actually blew out a candle before demolishing it. I had to cut out the inner core of the cake (hence the Game of Thrones pattern on the cake) because the 1 inch perimeter got over-done in my opinion (cracked/puffed up & slightly brown) but my baking testers Megan & Naomi thought it was delicious 🙂

Overcooked cheesecake sides 😦 While cutting out the sides ever so gently, I made what looks like a Game of Thrones symbol in the cake 🙂

The final product!

And finally, last weekend, I revisited my first recipe that I tried baking from scratch: The Pumpkin Apple Strudel Bread! An old but always a good, this dish never fails me! However, I can never quite get the “cinnamon crumbles.” It always ends up like a candy shell topping which is yummy but not quite presentable.

Recipe revisited: https://chubbyriceball.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/pumpkin-apple-streusel-muffins/

Ugh. Classes & work are wearing me down, but I always find time to bake! For remember, Desserts is Stressed Backwards! 🙂

Happy Birthday to the Father of Genetics

The one and only: GREGOR MENDEL!

It’s been a long great while since I made a science post, what greater day to do so than now?

If you all haven’t at least hovered over your special Google image today, perhaps you’d be enlightened to hear that today is Gregor Mendel’s 189th birthday!

Dubbed the father of genetics for his ground breaking work with happy pea plants, he followed patterns of pea characteristic inheritance by crossbreeding them under controlled conditions. He’s responsible for the terms recessive, dominant, homozygous, heterozygous, and so forth in biology textbooks.

I won’t go through the whole biography of this great friar, but he is one of the many reasons I found myself interested in science. When first mentioned in my middle school, his chapter in the life sciences textbook dealt with the ever so delicate and difficult art of Punnett squares, which were used to predict the percentage/chances of offspring to inherit traits from their parents.

Like many great scientists, Mendel’s work was not fully appreciate until much later when the study of genetics came into full bloom. I hope one day I can contribute to the science world like Mendel did (even if my contribution be small).  Also, I hope to go on some type of academic pilgrimage to visit the areas where other great scientists of the past used to dwell and came about their amazing discovers. Just like Mendel’s monastary, where he cared lovingly for his pea plants that expelled knowledge of independent assortment and segregation of traits.

Thank you to the father of modern genetics. Because of you, we are able to understand how traits, especially pathological ones, are passed on (or at least have the basis on learning how to solve them). Thus helping us to understand and improve our lives.

One time for AP Biology, I had to write a play with my lab partners that invited a variety of historical science figures to discuss their theories: Darwin, Cuvier, Lamarck to name a few. I had written Gregor Mendel as a simple monk, eloquently sipping split pea soup, and rocking out to Gregorian chants on his Ipod. Happy Birthday good Gregor Mendel.

Recap: Megan’s 21st Birthday

So last Friday was Megan’s official 21st birthday! It’s been about a year since that faithful day we were dorm roommates in North Hall. It’s been giggles and joy ever since, all the way into Caneris and our new apartment.

Some snapshots of our little get together. Nothing too fancy, but all of us were happy that we were able to take time out of our busy schedules to celebrate our dearest friend’s special day with food, ice cream cake, and drinks.

Among the Tangled and Japanese Erase posters, Mameshiba plushies, nail art kits, Sakura Fest teeshirt, mini sake set, Cherry blossom card, parasol, ect.  one of the highlights of her Japanese themed gift presentation though was the origami paper crane mobile Naomi and I worked on. We strung about 21 paper cranes on strings, suspended with buttons, and needled them onto a yellow paper lantern that Ray & John picked out. When the lantern is turned on at night it looks like the moon.

All in all a lot of fun and a great day! The greatest part was seeing our little sunshine Megs smile!

My 21st – Gifts Galore Part II?!

Quick post!Words cannot describe what a lucky girl I am! I still have presents coming in, and my birthday as almost a month ago!

So here I was thinking that my friends in Philly didn’t care about my 21st, and they threw me a party on April 16th (the start of Philly Sci Fest :D!).

My dears ingeniously created a scavenger hunt for me to complete to find my bag of goodies. I made a collage of their clues, and hope to hang it on my wall soon.

In side you’ll never guess the wonders it held! A Kingdom Hearts smorgasbord!

A beautiful drawing of Sora (my favorite artwork depiction), and lovely necklace from my twin, Naomi. Same awesome girlie who gave me this poster that sits atop my dresser.

A lovingly crafted ID/metrocard holder (because I always lose both) sewn by my goddess former roomie Megan. Complete with a Honorary Member of the Restoration Committee ala Radiant Garden in KHII and adorable Kingdom Key Keyblade & Papou fruit charms!

The most awesome Kingdom Hearts II shirt I have ever seen (and never want to stop wearing) from the ever sarcastic, but wonderful John (whose ego could fill a room and is my Mommy).

And lost, but certainly not least: a Kingdom Hearts cap from Riemann Sums Ray aka Outou-sama (Daddy). I have been dying for a cap from FYE, but have been hesitant to spend money on one XD

And of course my beautiful older sister and bro-in-law never forget me! My sister usually buys me video games or clothes, but as she realizes I am growing up, she tries to get me makeup and fashionable such I have no money for >.<

First another Harujuku purse!

Next, an awesome set of Sephora mascara I had been vying for.

I’m always in dire need of lip balm. Always.

And my absolute favorite: A Toki Doki makeup gift set!

Not only does this sucker have a large array of different color eyeshadow and a pretty purple liner, but it also has magnets for our fridge and is wrapped up in the most adorable box with mirror!!! I’m so happy I can say I have something from Toki Doki, a long time dream (call me simple, I don’t care)!

It just reminds something I always seem to forget or not realize daily: I am loved.

My 21st – Science Gifts Galore + Sweets

Wow, so I have a lot of catching up to do in terms of blogging. I’ve made a list at work a million times, it’s horrible haha.

Best place to start I suppose would be that my 21st birthday was last Tuesday 😀 ‘Twas a rainy April the 5th, and everything seemed pretty normal. I didn’t do anything crazy, and no I didn’t drink my face off because I had work early the next day (My lab supervisor was in awe I was still “bright eyed & bushy tailed” at 830am the next day).

Lucky for me, my two besties on Drexel went with me to the new bakery that opened up by the new apt we had moved into in mid-March.  The name of the place was “Manakeesh,” a self proclaimed Lebanese fusion bakery. I recognized what seemed to be the Arabic alphabet on the decoration of their walls.

The sweets we had were delicious, ranging from fruits, chocolate, and coffee tastes. All very decadent, unique, and very filling.  The owner/manager was super friendly and funny.

Me, Naomi, & Megs Pastries in a row 🙂

And of course I received flowers from my parents, and cards from those I loved (my mom & dad, ate & kuya, friends, places i volunteer for, ect.). My mom & dad also came down to visit me the weekend prior to the 5th to help me buy things to decorate the apartment and treat my friends to some dinner & breakfast 🙂

Tee-hee Birthday Amoeba from my sister. Love the way its so perfect in structured, truly an engineer creation ;D

But what made my 21st birthday really feel special and like true birthday day was a care package from my dear friends in New York who never seem to quite forget me. From Kirsten, Scott, and John, who by the way had also graciously gotten me Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep and a PSP for Christmas!

Each & every time they always make me feel so special, and even though I’m so very far away from home and I rarely get to see them, it touches my heart in the happiest sort of way whenever they send something my direction.

My absolute personal favorites from the package:

1) The Common Cold hand sanitizer dispenser! Not only is it adorable, but totally reminds you why you should wash your hands all the time!

2) The Science Cookie Cutters! I have been dying to buy these for myself, but I found no excuse other than want. I couldn’t capture it’s true beauty via photography, so I found this online pic haha. I plan to use them next week for my Philly Science Week/Naomi’s Done with mCATs/ Christal’s belated 21st get together to make cookies ;D

Oh the potential goodness….

3) Last but not least certainly, this the one that takes the cake: a HUGE print of a neuromuscular junction synapse. It is absolutely beautiful. I was in tears when I unrolled this baby. You can clearly see the neurotransmitters, vacuoles, vesicles, and even the cross section of muscle striations. This lovely item hangs above my bookshelf in my room, which I will post later once I finish decorating the apartment a bit more.

As a little present to myself, and to go along with the science theme, I bought from FYE these colorful lab test tubes for display! Apparently you can use them for drinking though, interesting…

All in all I must say, I am by far the luckiest girl that ever did live for 21 years 🙂 I cannot thank everyone enough for showing me some love!