Key ways to Procrastinate

Social media has really taken over the way we think about almost everything. From Facebook to Twitter, updating people on your life and creepily keeping tabs on every celebrity you’ve ever hypothetically fell in love with (hello Andrew Garfield) or that random person from your 6th grade class who used to sit at the cool-person table at lunchtime has become habitual. Whenever I reach for my computer or phone, I inevitably end up learning something entirely useless about someone’s latest Starbucks latte they Instagrammed about.
And while a lot about social media remains unknown to me, like how Pinterest works, I have found that blogs are really one of the best expressions of social media out there. Opinion blogs, tumblrs, etc are great ways to learn more about, well, anything, and they avoid the black hole tendencies that Facebook-stalking tend to lead to. I prefer to stick to food, travel, or photography and art blogs, there are some great sites out there with interesting fashion and music too!
Here’s a list of my favorite blogs I scroll through daily!

A Well Traveled Woman:
My absolute favorite blog written by a woman about her life as a seamstress and her 2 adorable children. Her tumblr, the link to which I have listed above, features great pictures she finds online of far away and gorgeous places to dream about, in addition to the farm she lives on. She is currently in Africa, maintaining her title “A Well Traveled Woman”.

Madewell Musings:
Madewell, a branch of the store J. Crew, is my favorite store. Their tumblr features some of their latest clothes and what their interns are up to at headquarters. I would love to work for them in New York! They also have links to a bunch of other blogs that I religiously follow, like Refinery29 and others!

Garance Dore:
Garance Dore is a French illustrator and photographer. Her glamorous life revolves around fashion and all things Parisian. When not in Paris or hanging out with incredibly influential and prominent members of the fashion world, she makes quirky videos and talks about her life.

Tomboy Style:
I have always considered myself more a tomboy than feminine in my clothing and life choices, and this blog perfectly caters to the carefree and adventurous nature of a tomboy. With her book recently published, author Lizzie Garrett regularly updates her blog with her most interesting finds, like small surf shops in California and, for the holidays, the best places to get your stocking stuffers.

Man Repeller:
Leandra Medine’s blog gives very detailed instructions about the fashion choices that men would hate, so obviously, every girl should dress like that, right? Her eccentric and unorthodox (to say the least, one day she wore a bra OVER her shirt) sartorial choices force one to take chances in her wardrobe. She recently got married too, so I guess her “man repelling” wasn’t perfect, but then again, we wouldn’t want that anyways now would we?

Neuroscientist Ryan Gosling:
Yes, you read that right. Ryan Gosling surprised everyone when he became a neurologist. He is officially the perfect man. Not actually, but he does make for some nerdy humor when you’re bored studying for a neuroscience-related exam. Always a perfect, albeit distracting site, to visit.

Simply Breakfast:
Breakfast is just about my favorite meal. Ever. This site is a record of one woman’s breakfast escapades. Great, wholesome recipe ideas and rustic photography await one here.

4 F’s. I had to check. A friend recently recommended this site to me, and it has an endless amount of great art and imagery that are a great way to get inspired or change that boring desktop background!

101 Cookbooks:
Self-explanatory, but has the most wholesome and delicious healthy recipes I have ever found. I could spend hours scrolling through the pictures, and just get hungier and hungrier (I really need to go grocery shopping).

Well, there you have it, some of my favorite blogs. Blogs can be educational and useful ways to spend your time on the internet (e.g: Neuroscientist Ryan Gosling). I hope that I can start to use my time on the web in a more constructive way in the future, rather than clicking a new tab to Facebook every time I open the internet on my computer or phone. Social Media can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, but can certainly be a vortex that sucks you in and keeps you distracted. And with finals coming up, I definitely need to ration my Twitter/Facebook time, perhaps trading it in for an interesting article online, or better yet, going outside and doing something (or lets be real, just playing with this adorable goof-ball).

Thanks for Thanksgiving!

Happy early Thanksgiving everyone! I am so excited to break for Thanksgiving next week; I am going home to Philadelphia and bringing one of my friends with me! I can’t wait to cook some really good food and have a relaxing break from school. Class registration was the other day, and it was so bizarre registering for my graduate level courses! For my first official semester in the master’s program, I am scheduled for 12 credits: a class called Mentored Research and another called Advanced Neuroscience Seminar. While 12 credits is the least amount of credits I have taken all together at Hopkins, I know it will be a lot of work; the great thing about this program is that it allows me to dedicate as much time as I need to my research without taking other classes. So even though I am only registered for 12 credits, it is entirely up to me how much time I spend working. This program is great because it lets me experience how it is to be a research scientist, and is the perfect stepping stone to either medical school or an MD/PhD program.

While I await Thanksgiving break next week, I have been doing a couple of home projects! Last weekend I ordered and got Pho mix (for those of you who don’t know my obsession with Pho or have never tried it, Pho is a Vietnamese noodle dish in a broth with a bunch of meat and basil- it’s AMAZING) and made my own. I was pleasantly surprised with how well it turned out, and can’t wait to keep making my own. Pho is a dish that takes a lot of practice to make well, and it was great to get a seasoning mix that took the guesswork out of making my own pho!

Another project I recently did was make a scratching post for my cats! I found a blueprint for a cat scratching post online and made it with some friends! The cats love it and it is the most adorable thing to see them perched up there!


Tony the cat helping me make measurements for the cat scratch post.

Tony the cat helping me make measurements for the cat scratch post.


Plans for the Year Ahead

The semester is quickly coming to a close, and I just cannot wrap my mind around the fact that I will no longer be an undergraduate student here. My experiences at Hopkins have been simply amazing, and I cannot imagine myself at any other school. Since I am graduating at the end of this fall semester, I have been extremely stressed out trying to figure out what I am going to be doing the upcoming year. I knew I wanted to take a gap year between undergrad and medical school. A lot of people suggest it as a way to indulge yourself in exploring the world, workforce, or take some time to relax and de-stress after school. However, because I am interested in pursuing an MD/PhD in the future, I have been adamant on getting a research project for the upcoming year.
Opportunity found me when I learned that the Neuroscience program offers an accelerated masters program, just one additional year of school. I knew this would be the perfect chance for me to take on a research project to get some experience doing full-time research. After an intense application process, I am happy to say that I will be completing my masters in Neuroscience this coming year! I am so excited to stay at Hopkins and continue to enjoy the interesting research I have been pursuing this past year!
Relief has finally taken over as I now know my plans for the upcoming year. More than that, senioritis has entirely infected me, and playing with the cats is now my main activity…for now. Enjoy some pictures from hiking trips during the summer that I came across as I was wrapped up in my blanket (missing summer dearly).IMG_0326IMG_0325 IMG_0549 IMG_0550

Keep Cozy this Winter

Gone are the days of shorts, delicate blouses and sunglasses; here are those with hot cocoa, blankets and of course, scarves. Fall is finally here, my favorite season (not just because of the great sweaters I get to wear), which means that midterm season has ramped up. Keep up with school with this chilly weather can get tough sometimes, so here’s a list of some necessities to keep you warm and focused on campus!

1. SWEATERS- I can’t imagine life without my spectacular sweaters. I have an entire wardrobe full of them. Wool sweaters, cotton, llama-hair sweaters, you name it. Keep warm people, and invest in a great sweater, maybe even with a cat on it.
2. A good book- while you might not be able to get to read as much as you normally can, I have found that just reading whenever you have a second is a great way to detach yourself! Snuggle up in a blanket before bed with a cup of sleepy-time tea and read a little if you can find the time in your busy schedule! It’s my favorite way to relax.
3. SNACKS- Om nom nom. Enough said

4. A Watch- with this dreary weather, I can hardly tell what time it is- keeping a watch on me all the time forces me out from under the covers and off to class!

5. Phone and computer- simply essential for life
6. Lots of pillows
7. Water bottle- stay hydrated people!!
8. Coffee Thermos- stay AWAKE and warm people!
These are just some of the things I think that everyone needs on campus during this time of the year! Of course, you will need the dorm essentials, like storage bins, school supplies, etc, but the above are just some things I simply couldn’t live without during fall at Hopkins!

Lucky for me I also have the great company of my pride and joy, Pendleton (and his older brother Tony) to keep me warm and happy…and distracted.


Guide to College Applications

Dun. Dun. Dun. College Application Season. Certainly lacking the tinsel and the cinnamon associated with the more exciting holidays on the calendar, the college application process seems like it was three months ago- not THREE YEARS ago. Woah. It is one of the most daunting periods of your high school career. Or so you think. There’s no getting around the pressure you feel during fall of your senior year, but there are simple ways to alleviate the stress of the process.
Be organized- try to finish up your applications a couple of weeks early so that you can proofread and perfect them. If you are applying ED somewhere, try to begin your essays (or at least brainstorming for them) during the summer when you are relaxing. It might make it easier to handle your schoolwork AND applications. I remember finishing my application just one week before it was due, and was incredibly nervous about submitting it early. I made sure I had everything I needed 1243039412243 times! But once it was over, and I knew I had done everything I could to make sure it was the best I could do, the stress actually went away!
1. Make Lists- I make lists for EVERYTHING. I have Post-Its everywhere with my to-do lists. When you first decide on applying to a college, write down exactly what they require so you don’t miss anything. Familiarize yourself with Common Application or whatever other online Application system the college uses. I had list ranking the schools I wanted to go to, a list ranking their programs, a list of their majors, a list of their tuition and clubs and….well you get the idea.
2. Take Advantage of Opportunities- if you really like a school, but aren’t sure whether it is your top choice, explore your options. Does the school have a non-binding Early Action process? Apply there so you can say that you got into a school of your choice! It will definitely help reduce the stress. I am so happy that I fell in love with Hopkins when I did (when I went for initial visits during the Spring and Summer)- I applied ED and was set for the next four years of my life by December 15th! Additionally, see what sort of scholarship or research opportunities you can apply to if you are interested! Many times, the application is really easy! Lastly, take advantage of your high school teachers- many of my teachers helped me with my essay and really helped me mold it into a great essay! I had a bunch of drafts that were very stream of consciousness that my teachers helped me clean up and improve. The essay I used was initially me just writing random observations while I was on vacation. I ended up loving my essay- which really is the most important thing!
3, Visit the schools- once you decide which schools you want to apply to, check them out- the campus can be one of the MOST important features of a school. You are obviously applying to a school because you like their academic programs, but try to explore campuses, talk to people, and get a feel for how your life would be if you went to a school. Visiting Hopkins sealed the deal for me. I was absolutely determined to go there after I set foot on campus- and this completely changed my choice for Early Decision school. Two years later- I can’t imagine myself anywhere else.
4. HAVE FUN- I mean I’m going to be honest. There isn’t really a way to make these things fun, but don’t let it get you down. It’s really just the beginning! The most important thing in college applications is to make sure that you present yourself in the best light. You can’t do that if you are really stressed out. It just makes sense to calm down. Consider yoga. Or meditation. I’m serious.
Now, I haven’t really talked about deciding WHICH schools to apply to yet for a reason. I found this to be one of the hardest decisions I made. Since the 10th grade, I had my heart set of a school that was near where I lived, had a great reputation, my major, a great campus- everything. Midway through the summer, I completely changed my list of schools and decided that Hopkins was my number 1. Why? I still have no idea. Visiting Hopkins was one of the things that really helped me realize how much I liked a school, but comparing my original number one with Hopkins was really difficult. I think you just have to go with your gut. I think that’s the only advice I can give when deciding which schools to apply to (or ranking them if you plan on applying ED anywhere). Because ED is binding, it really is a difficult decision, to make. There are so many things to consider!

I do have to say, after I got into Hopkins ED, it was smooth sailing. I cannot believe how amazing it felt to not have to worry about another college application.

I think that’s all the advice I can give you for the college application process- I really think these tips would have made my journey in the college application process much smoother! Good Luck!

Making the most of Weekends

Senior year just began a few weeks ago, and I simply cannot believe that my time at Hopkins is finally waning. From my first days on campus in my single in AMR I, to moving into my beautiful apartment off campus, I have found each year here to get better and better.
This semester is one of my busiest, what with TAing, class, research, clubs, and making time for fun, every minute of my day is booked. Running here and there doesn’t bother me one bit; I wouldn’t like it any other way. However, this semester, I have decided to make the most of every weekend I get, especially with drab winter approaching. Now that I have my car here (and more importantly, free parking for my car), I have been taking to the highways every weekend and exploring my surroundings even more! I just hope I can keep this up once the semester starts to kick into high gear!
Thus far, I have had the opportunity to explore both Maryland and DC thoroughly. Enjoy these pictures from my trips to:
1. Patapsco Valley State Park, MD: Great scenery and easy hikes make this place the perfect site for a relaxing Sunday (with time to make it back and BBQ with friends!).

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Patapsco, MD

Patapsco, MD

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2. Cumberland, MD: An adorable little town with a great coffee shop with breathtaking views for hiking, paddle boarding, and an all-around good, wholesome time. The drive there from Baltimore was gorgeous! I drove through a valley in Maryland, and could not believe the lush wildlife that was everywhere. Who knew Maryland could be so beautiful!

Cumberland, MD

Cumberland, MD

3. Chesapeake Bay, MD: A short drive away from Baltimore, this gem is one of the most beautiful, and one my most favorite spots in Maryland. What we imagined would be a large beach like Atlantic City, turned out to be an isolated cove, warm water, and jellyfish (non-poisonous, don’t worry) swimming around you in the softest sand I have ever felt!

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4. Washington, DC: While I interned in DC just 2 summers ago, going back to DC to be like a tourist and enjoy the great museums and visit the White House was a great day trip! I went to the botanical gardens, a spot I haven’t been to since the 8th grade with my Ann Arbor, Michigan middle school! The architecture in DC is an amazing combination of new and old, so appreciating the different culture there was a great experience too!

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All of these places are just an hour or 2 at most away, and a great getaway with a bunch of friends!

Monsoon Adventures


This is my view from my home almost 8,000 miles away from my home in Baltimore.

The rainy season in India lasts for the majority of the summer, but this trip is my first

experience with it.


Initially, I thought the rain would destroy any plans to go outside and explore the cities I

have been to this month. During the long drive to my home from the airport, the scenery

was absolutely gorgeous. We traveled through a mountain valley to the city of Poona

after arriving in Mumbai’s international airport. Despite the rain, families had somehow

stacked themselves onto an old motorcycle, even smiling at the tiny monkeys that were

playing on the side of the road. It was like we were in a tropical rainforest, with

waterfalls on either side of us.


The beautiful village of Lavassa!

The beautiful village of Lavassa!

Once we reached the city, traffic was incredible, and the monsoon didn’t help. The rain

had created and filled deep potholes in the dirt roads. They say if you can drive in India,

you can drive anywhere. Drivers have incredible reaction times to the rikshaws’ crazy

maneuvers, the stray dogs lining the sides of the streets, and the luxury SUVs and cars

weaving through the congested cities (think of it like mountain biking through a city).


This system appears inefficient in comparison to the structured roads and cross-walks

we are used to. However, to the people accustomed to this chaos, anything more

organized would just be weird. Nothing seems to stop anyone from going about their

daily lives. Drenched in the rain and bitten by mosquitoes, people are busy chatting on

their cellphones waiting to get onto a crowded bus.

The result of the monsoon in Pune, India.

The result of the monsoon in Pune, India.


Without a raincoat or an umbrella, I got grumpy just thinking about the state of my hair

in this humidity. However, the Indian mentality is contagious. I found myself unaffected

by the constant drizzle and the sticky heat, even in pants and a shirt. It became fun

watching the traffic, like a tired cyclist being towed on the street by a friendly motorist (in

fact, it was a distraction from the nauseating bumps along the way).

Not grumpy in the least!

Not grumpy in the least!



India is a crazy place. It has also taught me a lot: that chai can be just the thing you

need after being in the heat, that spice and flavor are food’s best friends, that rain

should be enjoyed, and that you can find peace in insanity. I was able to make the most

of this trip, and was fortunate to have seen some amazing sites here.




Hopefully, I can bring the unaffected attitude of the people here back to Baltimore, and

make the most not only of my final month of summer, but also to my final semester at

Hopkins. Just like this trip, my experience in Charm City has gone by entirely too fast.

This fall will be my best yet! Enjoy the pictures!


Summer’s Here!

Happy Summer everyone! My finals finished last Wednesday, after which I went home for a few days. After such a busy semester, it feels a little weird not having to do anything for once! I’ve been trying taking lessons from my friend’s cat Tony on how to keep cool in the heat.
I am researching this summer, which is convenient because it means I am staying on campus and enjoying my lovely apartment!
A few days ago, a couple of friends and I biked up to the harbor and attempted to play beach volleyball (sans net and ball…). Enjoy some pictures of my recent escapades and enjoy the weather!

Finally, congratulations to the class of 2013!

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Soccer Fields!

Soccer Fields!


Favorite Memory at Hopkins

So there are just a few weeks of class left, and with that comes Spring Fever. With two weekends ago being Spring Fair, this last weekend the Hopkins vs. Navy lacrosse game, and this week the Junior Class Cruise, classes are literally the last thing on everyone’s mind, or at least mine…
All these fun activities make me reminisce on my prior experiences during Spring on campus, which is my favorite time of the year. It’s so hard to decide on one specific event that I appreciated the most during my 3 years here. What I think I love the most about Hopkins is that every year is unlike the previous one. Freshman year was a great experience and the easiest start to my college experience. The best part is, going to the events I always do, like Spring Fair, but have an entirely different experience. My first Spring Fair was mostly me just hanging out on the beach with my friends and listening to music and enjoying the weather. This year, I went to the Beer Garden with my friends and had a picnic! I met up with people I met at the bike party as well (there’s another one this week: Prom Themed *pictures will be taken and posted on my next blog).
I really can’t say that I had a specific favorite moment at Hopkins because I really have enjoyed my entire time here. I mean, beside the intensity of classes and finals, campus and the surrounding areas are a great place to explore and enjoy. For example, I went for a run yesterday through Roland Park, a neighborhood near campus, and loved soaking in the sun and seeing people doing the same. The flowers around there have bloomed, and the fragrance of the flowers while I ran on that windy day were absolutely perfect.
Enjoy some pictures from my run and my week!


Hampden on a beautiful day!

Hampden on a beautiful day!

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The Best Place a Girl Could Ask for!

Happy April Fools! I can’t believe the semester is already almost over! With just over a month left of school, I have finalized my summer plans! I will be staying in Baltimore this summer and researching in my lab. Last summer, I had an awesome time commuting to my internship in DC and being able to experience working in a fast-paced city! However, I am preparing for the MCAT this summer as well, and need time to juggle that and an internship.

Went to a tearoom with my Mom when I went home recently! ADORABLE

Regardless, I am really excited to explore Baltimore even more in a few months! Living on campus without going to classes is an entirely different feel from just living there. With more time to go to my favorite places like the farmer’s market and thrift stores, I can really indulge myself and relax from what has been a very hectic semester!

Isn't Seattle gorgeous!!

Speaking of, I just returned from my trip to Seattle over spring break! I visited my aunt and uncle and got to see some really great places! I also learned that Redmond, Seattle is the self-proclaimed road-biking capital of the country! I loved exploring the beautiful bike trails and soak in the amazing (surprisingly!) weather! I have come to love what the west coast has to offer far more than I ever did before. The landscape and scenery are absolutely exquisite, and I loved how Seattle combines industry and creative thinking with nature. The city fosters an appreciation for the outdoors. Moreover, all the people there are so nice, and the atmosphere was the perfect environment for me to relax. Now that I am recharged, I am (hopefully) ready to tackle the rest of the semester.

Took a ferry to a nearby island in Seattle

Last Friday, I went to the Baltimore Bike Party, one of the best experiences I have had in Baltimore. Everyone gathered at the Monument near the Peabody stop that JHMI stops at. My friend and I biked there from campus, and at around 7:30, everyone set off. This year’s theme was super hero, and everyone was dressed up with capes and masks! As we rode through Baltimore, in areas I haven’t ever seen, people would line outside their homes and cheer us on! Riding through some of the highway in the dark was amazing! At one point or another, I would run into some friends and we would chat as we cruised through the streets. Then, we stopped at what was the most beautiful area I have seen at night in Baltimore. Behind a lake near Federal Hill, we stared out toward the city skyline. Music was playing and everyone was chatting. It truly was one of the best experiences I have had in Baltimore, and I can’t wait to participate in every bike party. From what I have heard, they are even more fun in the summer, but the weather on Friday was perfect!

Being a part of the Baltimore community is one of the best things you can experience as a Hopkins student. I love trying new things around here; I am actually going sea kayaking this weekend- I’ve never tried it before, but the Outdoors Pursuits club makes it so easy! The culture is great, and being around people with such diverse interests really makes it a melting pot. There are people from Peabody and MICA, the nearby schools, who are entirely different from our Hopkins counterparts.

And of course, Baltimore is absolutely beautiful as well (this is the Inner Harbor!)

Immersing myself in both Hopkins, by being a part of various clubs and organizations in addition tomy classes is awesome. I love my classes, but separating myself from them by doing different activities is so much fun! It really allows you to be an adult and try new things! I love the combination of our campus and the surrounding areas. The best part is, they are all really close to us! Just a short walk, or bike away! I love how conducive Baltimore and Hopkins are to biking, as it has become one of my favorite activities recently. It’s such a relaxing thing to do, even more fun now that the weather has improved so much (fingers crossed it stays this way). Hopkins really is the perfect place for me because it combines my favorite things in a stimulating and dynamic environment. It’s not to shabby that it’s a great school too!

Enjoy some pictures from my trip to Seattle, and others from when I went biking to the Inner Harbor to grab some great sushi with a friend! Enjoy the rest of you week!