Friday, July 31, 2015


Hi everyone!

It has, again, been a busy week.  We went to the Fralin Art Museum at UVA this week to enhance our observation skills.  The point is to observe the outcomes of our experiments as a whole, and not look solely for the outcome we want.  I then went to dinner with a few of the other first years--I think we are starting to bond (at least I sincerely hope so).  In fact, I invited a few over tomorrow night for dinner and a movie.

I am very excited for everyone to come tomorrow, and in preparation I baked oreo cupcakes.  I modified a recipe from Roxana's Home Baking.  It made one dozen cupcakes!

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup skim milk, room temperature
12 oreo cookies

1. Mix butter and sugar
2. Add in vanilla and eggs, one at a time
3. Add in the baking powder
4. Alternate adding in the flour and milk.  I added 1/2 flour, 1/2 milk, 1/2 flour, milk, and the rest of the flour.
5. Stop mixing when all of the flour is added
6. Place cupcake liners in the cupcake tin
7. Put an Oreo at the bottom of the cupcake liner
8. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes

I will say that the cupcakes were denser than I would have liked.  Most likely it is due to not bringing all of the ingredients to room temperature.  My suggestion is to use 2/3 cups milk and add chocolate chips!  I just hope that the people coming over tomorrow will like them!

I am going to include the link to the original recipe, because I think the original recipe was probably amazing.

Now, I just have to figure out what I am serving for dinner.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


It has been one busy week, or at the very least I am exhausted!  I have been sitting in front of the computer all week analyzing slides for my project.  I am excited to see the results next week, but I cannot continuously sit in front of the computer like I have been recently.  This is making me think long and hard about my next possible rotations.  The biggest question I have right now is, can I join a non-cardiovascular research lab and be happy?  Or, will I feel as though I have let myself down.  I am going to be grappling with this question for the next few days as I contact professors who do not study the heart.  For my sanity though, and to try to find my true passion in graduate school, I am afraid that I need to rotate in a non-cardiovascular lab (I also think I will fall in love with it).

I have also been meeting new people, and went over to a friends house last night with a bunch of first-years to play GAMES!  It has been so long since I have had a game night.  I learned how to play Jungle Speed (which can turn "violent" because you are trying to grab the totem pole in the middle), and Settlers of Catan.  It was great to be out with people my own age and to spend the evening having fun and laughing.

Lastly, it wouldn't be me if I didn't try to bake this week!  This is the second time I have used my kitchen aid mixer.  I baked chocolate muffins with protein powder in the hopes that it will keep me full from breakfast to lunch.

They are very good.  Light and moist.  Don't be afraid to add a little less milk to make them thicker, or add chocolate chips!

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2.5 scoops protein powder (I used vanilla Designer Whey)
  • 3/4 cup milk
Add the ingredients in this order.  I made 25 muffins, and cooked them at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

That is all for now!  Off to do laundry and the like :)

Friday, July 10, 2015

First Week

I officially started my Ph.D. program this week at UVa.  It has been great to get back in to the lab, but very different from Dr. Wiley's lab.  There is definitely a learning curve, as I have little background in cardiology.  I know that is hard to believe, but when it comes to the specifics it is true.  My first rotation is looking at atherosclerosis, or plaque build up, in the heart.  I feel like the "scared" first-year.  However, I think I am finally on the cusp of learning, and becoming more confident in the lab.

I cannot wait for this weekend.  While I have a lot of to accomplish, I am looking forward to finding the gym and getting some rest.  Hopefully I will meet some people this weekend (maybe even somebody who would like to see the Minion movie with me!).

That's all for now!