I loved reading Bethany and Emily’s answers to this survey, and I couldn’t resist joining in on the fun!

1. Do you eat blue cheese?
Hell nah! It’s probably the only cheese that I cannot tolerate. I mean…it’s blue! Moldy! Smelly! Disgusting.

2. Can you whistle?
Only by inhaling. It’s a weak whistle, but it’s something!

3. Do you get nervous before a doctor’s appointment?
It depends what I’m going in for and what type of doctor I’m seeing.

4. How many televisions do you have?
I have one T.V in my tiny little studio, no need for a second one. I actually didn’t have cable for 8 months when I first moved to NYC. Then one day my parents came to visit and decided that they wanted to be able to watch T.V. So they “gifted” me cable because I didn’t want to pay for it since I barely watch T.V. haha.

5. What do you think of hot dogs?
Um I generally don’t *think* of hot dogs, but I do enjoy them. I guess in the grand hot dog vs. burger debate I would choose…burgers. But I do love grilled hot dogs with sauerkraut (like what I ate in Vienna).

hot dog

6. Do you do push-ups?
HA yea right, next question.

7. Favorite girl’s and boy’s names?
Hmmm I used to have a list of girl names I liked (no idea why) but my iPhone ate the note and I remember none of them.

8. Do you have ADD?
No. Wait what was the question? Just kidding,

9. What is one thing you dislike about yourself?
I have an obsessive and addictive personality. I go from zero to 100 in seconds and obsess over whatever it is that I decide is my newest hobby. This also means that I tend to lose interest just as quickly. My obsession with running started much like this, but I don’t see that dying down anytime soon. Luckily, my addiction stops there…I do NOT have tendencies to become addicted to substances.


10. What’s in your pocket right now?
Absolutely nothing. I rarely carry anything in my pockets, but I do love sticking my phone into the back pocket of my jeans when walking.

11. Do you own slippers?
I do indeed! But do I ever wear them? Nope.

12. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
I bumped into the corner of a bed or a dresser (no one knows to this day) when I was about 10 years old and had to get stitches. Not too bad but not great either.

13. Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Chocolate chocolate chocolate, with chocolate chunks and swirls

14. How do you ring in the New Year?
Ugh, I’ve had notoriously bad luck with my New Years celebrations. I’ve tried to go all-out in the past and it never ended well, so I’ve just been celebrating with my family these past few years and loving it. My last New Year’s Eve was in India (Goa!) and it was awesome. I suspect I’ll be at home this year.

New Year's Eve

15. Favorite month?
October fo sho. It’s no longer hot but it’s not too cold yet either. Perfection. Plus #fall, enough said.

Your turn! Tell me more about yourself.

♥ Irina

Hello hello, happy Tuesday and happy November! I’ve had a whirlwind adventure since arriving in Chicago last Wednesday. In case you’re wondering, I flew back last-minute because I simply could not deal with the FOMO any longer. I wanted to be in Chicago during the World Series, regardless of the outcome. And I discovered that I actualy enjoy watching baseball, who knew? How about that game on Sunday huh?! I can’t wait to see what happens tonight!


The photo above is from some news website and it was taken when the Cubs won the Pennant. Fun fact – I actually know the guy who’s standing up on that streetlight! He was my prom date ahahahaha. He’s an awesome guy, I hope he didn’t get in too much trouble for that!

Anyway, it’s nice hanging out at home. I have the cat, a warm cozy bed, so many good books to read, and a full fridge. What more can a girl want?


Speaking of books (again), I spent an hour hanging out at the bookstore the other day and somehow managed to walk away with only one purchased book. But I did discover a new topic I want to explore when I finish up some of the other books on my agenda. AI, artificial intelligence, is absolutely fascinating and I’m desperate to learn more.


Did you know there is a legit concern that we will soon reach the singularity? Basically, the singularity is when civilization reaches “the point of no return” with our technologies and life as we know it will be drastically different. The fear is that our machines (think artificial intelligence) will become smarter than us, reaching a point known as superintelligence. It’s all frightening yet highly fascinating.

Moving on to a slightly more upbeat topic – thanks to the kindness of the universe my bestie and I both ended up being in Chicago at the same time. So of course a reunion was necessary! It was so nice seeing my girl for a few hours. She really helped me put some things in perspective and eased my restless mind. Ahhh friendships are the key to a healthy, happy life.


This is her gorgeous cat Bailey. I adore black cats (and cats in general), and Bailey is so friendly and cuddly.

Now let me tell you about my Halloween! I actually despise Halloween and haven’t celebrated it since…2009 or 2010 I think? This year I finally decided to join in on the celebration. I was planning on staying in NYC and attending a Halloween party with a friend who was in town, but my last-minute decision to fly back to Chicago meant I got to hang out with my ladies back home!


(Halloween-inspired guacamole, yummy)

I originally planned to dress up as Wednesday Addams, but my friends and I randomly decided to be deer at the last minute.


And deer we were!


I spent soooo long doing my makeup and struggled hardcore because I never ever wear so much product on my face and have zero talent with makeup. But I love how it turned out!


We had so much fun watching the Cubs game and chatting before heading out to a local bar.


P.S. – I love this photo! The girl who took it has no idea how she managed to capture us in such an artsy way, but I need to try and replicate it!

I spent most of Sunday being useless in bed because I was so exhausted from the night prior. I’m too old to stay out until the wee hours of the morning! This is my week of self-care because the NYC Marathon is this weekend, ahhh!!!!

♥ Irina

Happy Halloween! 

I cannot believe that my marathon is in less than a week. This training cycle flew by and suddenly I’m a few days away from conquering 26.2 miles through my beloved city. What whaaaaaaat

Previous weeks:
NYC Marathon Training (week 1)
NYC Marathon Training (week 2)
NYC Marathon Training (week 3)
NYC Marathon Training (week 4)
NYC Marathon Training (week 5)
NYC Marathon Training (week 6)
NYC Marathon Training (week 7)
NYC Marathon Training (week 8)
NYC Marathon Training (week 9)
NYC Marathon Training (week 10)
NYC Marathon Training (week 11)
NYC Marathon Training (week 12)
NYC Marathon Training (week 13)
NYC Marathon Training (week 14)
NYC Marathon Training (week 15)
NYC Marathon Training (week 16)


(My girls and I were deer for Halloween…it was the first time I dressed up in 5 years, oh deer! Our makeup took so long to do and I had such a hard time with it, but somehow it turned out well.)

WEEK 17 (10/24/2016 – 10/30/2016)
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 4 mile run (35:53 min @ 8:58 min/mi)
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 4 mile run rest
Friday: rest
Saturday: 8 mile run (1:13:36 @ 9:12 min/mi)
Sunday: rest
TOTAL = 12 miles

Thoughts: This wasn’t the best training week for me. My left shin started bothering me after my 20 mile run a few weeks ago and I can’t seem to make the pain subside. It’s classic shin splints – the pain goes away while I run and returns when I’m basically doing nothing. I ended up skipping Thursday’s run and R.I.C.E-ed my leg daily. Of course now I’m totally freaking out, not only because of this random new ache a mere 7 days before the marathon, but also because my mileage was so low! Realistically I know that skipping one run, especially during the taper, won’t impact my overall training. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not scared! Ugh, why must this happen now?!?

I really need to focus on eating properly and drinking a ton of water this entire week…something that I haven’t been doing at all lately. I also definitely need to stretch and foam roll daily because my shin cannot give out on me now. I refuse to allow this.

♥ Irina

Confession: I have a book-buying addiction. This means that I currently have a million unread books hanging out in my apartment just waiting to be devoured. Luckily, I’m finally back on the reading bandwagon after accidentally losing interest while in school! Nowadays, I crave the hours I spend with a good book and a huge bowl of popcorn at my side. Popcorn is a must, obviously…it’s actually a tradition of sorts for me.


I’m quite picky when it comes to my reading selection. I tend to steer away from best-sellers because I always find myself utterly disappointed by the poor quality of writing 80% of the time, even if the story plot is interesting. Instead, I’m naturally drawn towards classics (you can’t go wrong with Jane Austen, Hemingway, Ayn Rand, among so many others) and stories with substance. As a self-proclaimed science geek, I also adore reading physics/science books (Stephen Hawking for the win). Below are some of the books I recently read and really enjoyed, as well as a few books I’m planning on reading in the upcoming weeks.

The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
I honestly didn’t expect to love this novel as much as I did. The story intricately weaves between past and present as it centers around one family’s tragedy that changed their entire world. Each chapter is delicately filled with emotion in an ornate language that is seemingly created by the author, making you feel as if you’re in the minds of the two twins integral to the plot. Tragic yet stunningly beautiful.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami
I completely devoured this book in 1 day! I actually started reading it over a year ago and couldn’t get into it then, but this time I couldn’t put it down from the moment I re-started it. This probably has something to do with the fact that Murakami wrote the book while also training for the NYC Marathon, and I’m currently obsessed with running. Murakami’s writing style is simple and elegant. He writes little but says so much. I related to many of the passages, and nodded along with everything he wrote about running.

A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
A great read for all the science nerds out there! Think of this book as a simplified explanation of everything you ever wondered about but didn’t want to spend hours learning from a dull textbook. The author starts with the origins of the universe and continues on with the creation of Earth and evolution. But don’t worry, this isn’t some boring textbook. I promise you won’t get bored! Although I must warn many of you – a basic science background (i.e. an into physics, chemistry, and/or biology class) will be helpful in understanding, but it’s not necessary.


The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down – Anne Fadiman
This book was randomly recommended to me by an English student at Columbia, and I’m so glad it came into my life. The (true) story centers around Lia, a young Hmong girl (refugee from Laos) who’s treatment by American doctors results in cultural clashes and irreversible misunderstandings. The story sheds light on the impact that cultural differences have on medical care, as well as the necessity for medical practitioners to stay open-minded and understanding of one’s ethnicity. Apparently some medical schools actually require their incoming students to read this book, and for good reason!

The House of God – Samuel Shem
This is an absolute must-read for any pre-med and med student. Written under an alias name by a medical resident at Beth Israel Hospital (known as the House of God in the book), it is hilarious yet heartbreaking to read. Residency is a difficult time for any physician-in-training, and the story sheds light on the darker side of this long and difficult road towards becoming a doctor. I’ve heard that this book needs to be read first as a premedical student, then again as a medical student about to enter residency, and I can totally understand why. Although residency is not quite as intense as it once was (there is now a cap on the number of hours residents can work in a week), it’s still important for students to acknowledge what they will have to go through in the near future.

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Can you believe that I never read this book before? We never had to read it in honors English and I always felt like I was missing out. I was surprised to be completely drawn into the story within the first few pages. Not much needs to be said about this classic novel, so you must read it if you haven’t yet done so. Well-written, thought-provoking, emotional, funny, and richly descriptive…basically everything I desire in a book!


Upcoming reads:
The Checklist Manifesto – Atul Gawande
A Little History of Philosophy – Nigel Warburton
The Universe in Your Hand – Christophe Galfard
The Anatomy of Being – Shinji Moon
Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships – Christopher Ryan
The Next Species: The Future of Evolution in the Aftermath of Man – Michael Tennesen
The Girl in the Spider’s Web – David Lagercrantz
The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins

What books have you recently read and loved? Please share your book recommendations!

♥ Irina