Life, lately

Favorite eats // Kelsey, EspeciallyFavorite eats // Kelsey, Especially Favorite eats // Kelsey, EspeciallyFavorite eats // Kelsey, EspeciallyFavorite eats // Kelsey, Especially

After two and a half weeks of passing around the common cold, fevers, pink eye and the flu, things are finally starting to get back to normal around here, which means that we’re all finally able to eat food again, and that means that we’re back to gummy bear snacks before school each morning; “rainbow cereal” for breakfast on the weekends; English muffin pizzas for lunch on Saturdays; licking the muffin mix bowl on Sunday mornings; and raspberry snacks after dinner each night.

PS, the answer is YES. We only eat yellow + red round things or out/off of yellow + red round containers/platters. Obvs.

Puzzles & podcasts | 01

Puzzles & podcasts // Kelsey, Especially

Welcome to “Puzzles & Podcasts,” a new feature here on the blog that uncovers my and Shannon’s real age and leaves you with a list of new podcasts to listen to if you also are habitually lame on Friday nights. See, Shannon and I have a thing for putting together puzzles…while listening to podcasts (which are really just modern-day radio shows)…because we’re secretly 85. I thought it’d be fun (?) to start posting photos of each puzzle once we complete them, along with a list of the podcast episodes we listen to while we put ‘em together. I may be totally wrong about it being “fun” to post about, but you know “fun” is all relative, so maybe not. We’ll see.

We picked up our first puzzle back in November around Thanksgiving, and since then we’ve knocked out three 1,000-piece puzzles. But since I just dreamed up this new feature I have to backtrack a bit and cram all three puzzles into this first installment. Here we go: in order of completion, here are the puzzles we’ve completed thus far.

Puzzles & podcasts // Kelsey, EspeciallyPuzzles & podcasts // Kelsey, Especially Tasty Treats Puzzle (1,000 pieces)

Puzzles & podcasts // Kelsey, EspeciallyPuzzles & podcasts // Kelsey, EspeciallyCrazy Golf Puzzle (1,000 piece)

Puzzles & podcasts // Kelsey, EspeciallyPuzzles & podcasts // Kelsey, Especially Historic Newsstand Puzzle (1,000 pieces)

We started and finished our first puzzle while binging on most of the first season of Serial and we wrapped up the first season of Serial while working on the second puzzle, which was by far the most difficult of the three. I realize three is a super tiny sample pool, but c’mon. Look at the thing:

Puzzles & podcasts // Kelsey, Especially

Anyway. Although we’ve been listening to podcasts while puzzling since we started this little tradition, I didn’t think to start keeping track of the podcasts until we started puzzle number three. So. Without further adieu, the podcast episodes we listened to while putting together puzzle #03, in the order in which we listened to them. Also, btw, puzzle number three has been the easiest so far.

Criminal | “The Fifth Suspect” | 20m (NSFW)
In June 2014, authorities released information about a massive child pornography ring being conducted in North Carolina. Four suspects had already been arrested, and the police were asking the public for help finding a fifth suspect. But they didn’t need to look very hard — the suspect was about to turn himself in, almost by accident.

99% Invisible | “PDX Carpet” | 16m
Portlanders have a tradition when visiting their airport: taking a picture of their feet. It’s not to show off their shoes, but rather, what’s under them. They are documenting the famous PDX airport carpet.

Stuff You Missed in History Class | “The Glamorous Strongwoman” | 35m
From an early age, Katie Sandwina wowed crowds, first as a wrestling act and then exclusively as professional strongwoman. During a time when women’s suffrage was a hot button issue, she cultivated an image of a perfectly feminine powerhouse.

The Moth Radio Hour | “Doctors, Prom, and Ellen” | 55m
A high schooler encounters racism when he tries to go to prom, a young woman is afraid to tell her grandmother that she is gay, an English woman has to answer a tough question on her US citizenship test, and a doctor must make a life and death decision for his mother.

Risk! | “Slave” | 58m (NSFW)
Mollena Williams tells the story of how mixing racial tension with erotic role-play can become a very high-risk activity.

Puzzles & podcasts // Kelsey, Especially

We picked up puzzle #04 last night (this one), but we’ve put puzzles and podcasts on hold this week while we catch up on Henrietta Lacks. Still, we should have puzzle #04 done in the next two-ish weeks. So stay tuned…because you know, puzzles and radio shows are pretty thrilling.

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Related: Another lame-o couple’s tradition we’ve got going on and a short list of random podcasts/TedTalks/articles that will teach you something new

Currently | February

Currently | February // Kelsey, Especially

DOING | insane amounts of homework all. the. time. and everywhere.

COUNTING | down the days until two of my current classes end – just over a week to go and I’ll only have three remaining classes this semester…and for my entire undergrad. So. Close.

GEEKING | out over season 3 of House of Cards. We haven’t started watching it yet (mostly because it just came out 5 hours ago while we were still asleep), but it’ll definitely be on tonight.

WAITING | for spring. And very impatiently at that.

HOPING | to feel 100% again. This is day 3 of being home sick for me and I’m so over it.

WATCHING | Bates Motel. Shannon and I saw a bunch of commercials for the new season of this A&E show while snowed in at our hotel in BFE, Virginia last weekend, and I started watching the first two seasons yesterday while dying in bed. So. Good.

PLANNING | on trying (another) something new with Project Life for March. I’m hesitant to give up on memory keeping, but I am SO FUCKING BORED with the traditional approach to PL. I’ve been keeping up on it in the meantime, but I need something new before I burnout all the way.

REFRESHING | the USPS tracking number for my Persnickety Prints package. After a failed attempt with Artifact Uprising, I decided to try out PP for the photos I’m using in our weekend getaway mini album. They’re scheduled to arrive tomorrow but I’m not-so-secretly hoping they’ll arrive early.

EXCITED | to try out Bikram yoga. A friend and I each bought a Groupon for five 90-minute Bikram sessions (only $27 – total!) and I’m pretty stoked to try it out. Bikram has been on my to-try list for like, three years.

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That’s it for this time, guys. I feel like death and want to do nothing but eat popsicles and lay on my couch so that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Catch you back here next week.

Henrietta Lacks & HeLa

Henrietta Lacks // Kelsey, Especially

Some people that fascinate me: breakdancers, beatboxers and street artists, the first George Bush and Charles Manson (fun fact: I have one of those men tattooed on me). And now, Henrietta Lacks. An eclectic mix, I know. But if you know anything about Henrietta Lacks and HeLa, you get it. If not, let me school you real quick.

Henrietta Lacks was a Black woman from Virginia who died of cancer at the age of 31 in the early 1950s. Unbeknownst to her, during her radium treatments in the Johns Hopkins public ward her cells were collected and sent back to a lab to be cultured for use in a broad experiment being conducted by the physician George Gey. There wasn’t anything strange about this per se – at the time, Black patients in the public ward were often unwitting tissue donators as no laws existed requiring living patients to be notified that their cells were being collected, or requiring patients to consent to such tissue collection.

So these cells of Henrietta’s were collected and cultured and labeled using the first two initials of her first and last name, effectively becoming HeLa. That part of her story is unremarkable, but the next part is not. Unlike other cultured cells, Henrietta’s survived. Really, they did more than survive. Like the cancer that killed her, Henrietta’s collected cells thrived and multiplied at an aggressive and exponential rate, turning themselves into a medical marvel and goldmine. The HeLa strain, as her cells are known to researchers, ended up being involved in a litany of firsts: they were the first cells in this particular experiment to stay alive and multiply (see also: the first cells to be successfully cultured); they were the first cells to be shipped in the mail; they were instrumental in developing and proving the efficacy of the poliovirus vaccine (and were the first cells to be mass produced in the first-ever cell production factory in the process); they were the first cells used in cloning; and they continue to be used today to aid researchers studying major diseases like cancer and AIDS, drugs used to treat those with herpes, leukemia, the flu and Parkinson’s, gene mapping, and the effects on the human body produced by a wide array of toxins and even things like glue and cosmetics.

To date, the HeLa strain has been used in over 70,000 medical studies and has been involved in over 10,000 patents. Her cells quite possibly number in the billions today and they continue to aggressively multiply, with a new generation churning itself out every 24 hours.

The story surrounding this woman’s cancer and cells is so fascinating, but the story of Henrietta Lacks is also wildly interesting. There’s also huge ethical implications stemming from her case that continue to persist today. Shannon and I are about 1/4 of the way through the book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” a 2011 book detailing the stories of both Henrietta and HeLa. You should be reading it, too. Because science. And medicine. And really, if this story doesn’t interest you, you are literally the most boring and unimaginative person alive and we most definitely can’t be friends. NOT EVEN ON THE INTERNETZ.

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Related: 4 books you should read5 other books you should check out, 4 other books you should check out3 grown-ups-only movies you should watch, and a short list of random podcasts/TedTalks/articles that will teach you something new.

I’m back, bitches

I'm back, bitches // Kelsey, Especially

‘sup, bitches? I’m back! After my little rant last week I hid from the world for two days, spent a few hours at work on Friday and then headed out of town with Shannon. We were on the road by noon on Friday for a trip to BFE, Virginia that we planned way back in November. It didn’t quite go as planned, but it was really nice to get away for a bit. Mucho more details (and pho’os of things besides our faces) to come!

For now, here’s a shit ton of #ksselfies to reassure you that I’m very much still here even though sometimes I want to punch life in the face in a not good way. Yes, these are all from our weekend. No, this isn’t it. Yes, there’s more. A lot more. Stay tuned.

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