Happy New Year!

Dallas and I wanted to take a little time to look back over the last year. It certainly has been a busy one! We attended several weddings, I defended my dissertation proposal, Frankie turned one, and we moved to Philadelphia. Not too shabby!

Dallas and I spent most of our time this fall on the hunt for a job (Dallas) and an internship position (me). I will hopefully match to an internship site on February 20th, and then we will have a better picture of where we’ll be! For now, it’s looking like the east coast or Chicago. Dallas is busy sending in applications, so he might know something this spring. It’s very exciting to be almost done with grad school. These applications really feel like the light at the end of the tunnel. Dallas will hopefully graduate spring 2015, and I’ll be not far behind in spring of 2016. Dr. and Dr. Swift? Drs. Lauren and Dallas Swift? Not sure how that one is going to sound…

Next year promises to be a big year for us. For one, hopefully Dallas will have a semi-permanent job! Yippee! We’ll probably be moving again (backyard for Frankie?), we have lots of fabulous weddings to attend, and we might even squeeze in a few wine classes and date nights! We’re mostly just feeling excited to be finishing up grad school and getting a better sense of where we’ll be for the next 3-5 years. We’ll keep you all posted!

Happy New Year!


So long 2012

This post may be a week or two late, but we wanted to wish all of our friends and family a happy holidays! It’s been quite the year for us. In the past year, we got married and moved. Dallas submitted a first-author publication and brewed a whole bunch of beer. I earned my masters degree and started an antibullying program in Delaware community centers and schools. Not bad! Thanks to everyone who helped us get through it one piece.

Resolutions for 2013:

1) Eat out less.
2) Do laundry more than once per month.
3) Enjoy our honeymoon.

My prediction is that we end up one for three. Guess which one!

We did it!

It’s official – we’re married! We had an amazing time at our wedding last weekend. It’s hard to believe it’s over! Thank you so much to everyone who was able to share our special day with us. It was great to have the people we care about with us as we start our life together. For those of you who have been asking, we’ve included a couple of pictures. We’ll be sure to share more as soon as they’re ready! Thank you again to everyone who made the weekend completely unforgettable!

Happy Holidays!

Hi everyone! It has been far too long since Dallas and I posted. I can’t believe we’ve been engaged for almost three months already! We’ve been very busy with wedding planning and graduate school. Highlights from the past few months include planning our October wedding in Chicago (check out the new wedding part of our site!), Dallas publishing his first research article in a peer-reviewed journal, and spending time with our families over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now, we’re together in Santa Barbara celebrating the new year. We can’t wait to see what 2012 brings!

Happy holidays!

Santa Barbara, CA

About last night…

As you may have heard, Lauren and I are now engaged! We are both very excited! It’s been a fun 24 hours telling family and friends. Everyone has been very supportive and we appreciate the wonderful things that you have been saying! We don’t have any plans yet, but we will keep you all posted. For now, we’re just enjoying ourselves!

Here’s the story of how it happened: As some of you know, Saturday was our five-year anniversary. We decided to celebrate by spending the day in Philadelphia. After Lauren’s volleyball game that morning in Wilmington (a heartbreaking loss), we headed to grab some dim sum in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. We ordered shrimp noodles, siu mai, and, of course, chicken feet (a particular favorite of mine!).

After our delicious meal, we decided to explore the Franklin Institute. It was a fantastic display of science, satisfying the inner nerd in each of us or, in my case, the outer nerd. Highlights include exploring a giant heart (awww) and a wall of lights that lit up in a unique pattern when you used your cell phone. There were many interactive and informative exhibits, but by far the most exciting was the interactive CSI exhibit where we examined a fake crime scene to try to figure out whodunnit.

Here comes the good part. After the museum, we decided to take a walk along the Schuylkill River. We eventually found ourselves at a little secluded spot, reflecting on the last five years. As the sun set, one thing led to another, and we found ourselves engaged! The river was looking very nice that night, although, to be fair, I’m not entirely objective.

Of course, us being us, we celebrated by watching some NU football. Since then, it’s been a blur of phone calls, text messages, and celebrations with our roommates. There will be many other posts to follow, but for now, know that we appreciate your support and are both very excited for the days, months, and years to come!

Birds, Trails, and Wine in the Finger Lakes Region

Over Labor Day Weekend, Dallas and I got to head up to the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York to visit John and Molly Fitzpatrick and to spend some time exploring. It was an excellent way to celebrate Dallas passing his qualifying exams (Yay Dallas!) and to relax one last time before the crazy second year in my program begins. We expected to have a lot of fun, but it was even better than anticipated. Our weekend of fun included a 100+ year old hummingbird, a beautiful hike, a cooky musical, and tons of tasty wine. Here are some pictures and highlights from the weekend:

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Our weekend started out with a visit to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Dallas’s godfather John happens to be the director of this awesome place, so we got a behind-the-scenes tour. He showed us maps that track the migration patterns of birds using data collected from a cell phone app. Birders note when and where they see certain birds on their cell phones, and then the Lab collects the data and produces maps of their migration patterns. Our nerdy researcher selves were super pumped to see that. Even cooler, though, was the specimen room where they keep birds from all over the world. I held a hummingbird that was collected in 1888 in South America by the wildlife painter, Louis Agassiz Fuertes. Crazy! This tour was a complete surprise and a high point of the trip!

Next, we went on a hike in Robert H. Treman State Park. It was a beautiful trail with several waterfalls, as you can see in our pictures. After, we took a dip in the massive swimming area (in our hiking clothes, naturally) and stood under the nearby waterfall. We finished up our trip to the state park with some popsicles from the ice cream truck. That’s definitely the right way to end a hike.

That evening, we went with John, Molly, and Molly’s mother Sally to a showing of Rocky Horror Show at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca. I can’t say either of us understood the plot, but it was definitely an experience. It really gives new meaning to the words “audience participation.”

On Sunday morning, we had quite the market adventure. We checked out the farmers’ market in Ithaca first. As you can see from the pictures above, it had a beautiful setup with numerous vendors, including a super delicious crepe place, which we naturally took advantage of. We also headed to Wegmans to pick up some food for the evening. If you have never been to a Wegmans, you are seriously missing out. This place is HUGE. It combines the delicious prepared food section of Whole Foods with a regular grocery store, plus a giant kitchenware section. You could get lost in there for days. The candy section (shown in the slideshow) has its own toy train! I don’t think we’ve ever been so excited about a grocery store.

We finally headed up to the wineries in the late afternoon. The Finger Lakes region is actually the largest wine-producing region east of California in the United States. The map below shows the large number of wineries (the red dots) in the area. We definitely didn’t make it to all of them, but we did stop by three wineries and a distillery on the Seneca Trail. Our favorite was Lamoreaux Landing. We’re certainly not wine experts, but it was fun to try and taste the differences in the various wines. I think I can finally tell the difference between a sweet and dry wine, which is quite the accomplishment for me and my unrefined palate! We also enjoyed trying a bunch of different varieties of Riesling, which is my favorite kind of wine and one the region is known for. In total, we tried 18 different wines and six different liquors, and left with three bottles of wine and a bottle of raspberry liqueur. And a buzz.

So many tasty wines!

We spent that night with a bottle of Riesling and a deck of cards, camped out in Finger Lakes National Forest under a (thankfully waterproof) tent. We also conclusively decided that wine does taste better when drunk out of camping bowls.

Despite the rainy night, morning, and drive home, we made it back in one piece. It was really fun to see John, Molly, and Sally and visit Ithaca and the Finger Lakes. Future home perhaps? It was pretty cool. Hopefully, we’ll at least make it back for more visits while on the east coast!

Our first post!

Welcome to our new blog! We have been getting very excited about this as a medium to update you all on the various goings-on of our life here in Delaware. This is where we’ll post our pictures and updates for topics ranging from trips out of town to our adventures in our respective graduate programs. It will probably take us a little bit to work out a system for this (we’re still figuring out a title!), but we’ll try to keep everything current to the best of our abilities. We’re looking forward to sharing our experiences with you!