Tomorrow morning my summer is officially coming to a close as I drive back to good ole Norman, Oklahoma, to start the process of getting ready for the new baby Alpha Phi’s we will welcome home in a couple of weeks.

If you take a look at my Instagram, you probably think that my summer was picture perfect: sweet moments with my family and best friend, pool days, a great nanny job, etc. Boy, if only you knew what was really going on in my life this summer.

Where do I even begin? First, I got in a car accident with my best friend that ended up in lots of medical bills and a new car. Then, I got my wisdom teeth out (10/10 would NOT recommend). Next, my cousin who is practically my big sister lost her husband and father to her two perfect children in an auto accident. And to end out the summer, my Aunt Linda is now cancer free in the paradise that we call Heaven with our Heavenly Father.

What a summer, amirite?

After hearing about my summer, you can probably now see why I am extremely ready for this summer to be gone and over.

This summer has pushed me to some of my hardest and darkest moments in my twenty years on this Earth. It has been one thing after another and my family just cannot seem to catch a break. I have caught myself many times asking: why? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is this happening to my family? Why does death come when we are least expecting it? Why do I have to watch the people I love hurt? Why did this happen? Why do bad things happen in this world? Why me? Why, God?


Guess what? I can honestly tell you that I still have no clue what the answers to all of those questions are. I do not know the “why’s” of everything that my family and I have gone through this summer.

But, do you want to know what I do know?

I know that my God is a good God. I know that my God will one day wipe every tear and take away every pain. I know that my God has a plan. I know that God is always on my side. I know that God loved me so much that he sent his son to die on the cross for my sins. I know that God hears me and listens to me. I know that God cares about me. I know that God loves me with an unending and unfailing love.

I might not always have the answers to all of the why’s that the world throws my way, but at least I do know my God and who He is.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

It is not easy to remember this when we are hurting. The raw truth is that it is easy for me to forget who my creator is when I fall down the deep dark hole of pain and suffering. It is easy for me to feel all alone in this big world. It is easy for me to doubt myself and everything I believe in. But is anything worth while ever easy?

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, everything will be ok in the end when you stand face to face with your Heavenly Father and see the glories he has in store for you, his good and faithful servant.

Transgenic Mice Over-Expressing RBP4 Have RBP4-Dependent and Light-Independent Retinal Degeneration

Transgenic Mice Over-Expressing RBP4 Have RBP4-Dependent and Light-Independent Retinal Degeneration

This article was originally published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science: Leading clinical and laboratory ophthalmic and vision research Vol. 58 Issue 10, an Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) journal in August 2017.

Quantitative Histological Analyses of Retinal Thickness and Immunohistochemistry

A flamed needle was used to scorch the superior side of the cornea to demarcate the vertical meridian, and eyes were enucleated with part of the optic nerve still attached. Eyes were fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde for 24-hours, subsequently transferred into PBS, then dehydrated and paraffin-embedded for sectioning along the superior-inferior retinal axis. Sections were deparaffinized, stained with hematoxylin and eosin, and images were scanned at 403 magnification on a Ventana Coreo Au Slide Scanner (Tissue Sciences Facility, University of Nebraska Medical Center). Scanned images underwent quantitative analysis using Ventana image viewer software (Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., Tucson, AZ, USA). Beginning at the optic nerve head and extending into the retinal periphery in 250-lm increments, thickness of the total retina was measured.

Histological analysis of the differences in retinal thickness of mice with pharmacologically reduced serum RBP4 levels. Retinal degeneration was found to be prevented, but loss of retinal function remained.
Histological analysis of the differences in retinal thickness of mice reared in different light conditions. Retinal degeneration was found to be light-independent.

Official Reflection Time

Here it is, my last post for Ad class.  I have been commissioned to answer these questions.

  • How was the course format?
  • How was journaling every week?
  • How was writing for a public audience?
  • How did you grow?

Well, I am glad you asked.

The course format was comfortably flexible.  Sometimes I got lazy and had to rush to get things done in time.  There were a few days where we had 6 plus assignments due on the same day, that was less than appealing, but all in all, not bad.

I really enjoyed posting to my blog.  I often worried that it would not get used as much as I would have liked, but this class guaranteed that the scenario I dreamed up was never the case.  If I had to pick one word, refreshing.

I loved it.  I like talking to a multitude of people anyway, so this was right up my ball park.  It made me wonder what it must be like to be a professional blogger, or even a vlogger for that matter.

I feel equipped.  I don’t feel like I need to say much more than that because it is the simple truth.  I have never felt so prepared to jump out these and tackle the advertising world until after this semester and I have a great professor and fun challenge bank to thank for that!

Here is an Infographic Video I made just to show all the skills I acquired!


Remembering Old Times

Well, as August 1st draws nearer, my time in Advertising Copy and Layout do as well.  My task was to read back through all of my blog posts and reflect on some questions.

What can you pick up on now that you didn’t before?

I am so excited by my Adobe skills!!!!  I actually am proficient is Adobe Illustrator and photoshop, which are both skills I lacked before taking this class.  I also have a better understanding of what it looks like to be on the creative side of advertising and not on the client side.

What were those early days like?

Oh, how young and nieve I was.  I wrote and said whatever I wanted!  It certainly was refreshing, however, to get to look back on some of my early projects and see areas where I could have improved

Did you ever turn a corner?

When I created the Movie Poster and it turned out looking awesome, I don’t think I could have been any more excited for this class and truly started putting a lot of time and energy into my work

Can you identify a project in which you take a lot of pride in the outcome of it?

The Movie Poster about my life after college.

Can you look back now, be a little honest with yourself, and see a project where you wish you would have given it slightly more effort?

Yes, My print advertisements were “lacking”, to say the least.  I wish I had made them a higher priority in my schedule.  My professor compared them to memes.  I think that says most everything I think about them.

How did you grow (or not grow) this semester as an advertising practitioner? Why or why not?

I feel like I have a lot more practical experience now that I have started working on actual advertisements and am certainly a better-rounded individual because of it.

Wishing I was not here

I just spent a week in Colorado – Keystone to be exact and I cannot get it out of my mind. The beauty of the scenery, the weather, the people (so friendly!), and adventures. I was so active last week and today back to work I’ve sat on my arse so much it hurts.  Some pics if you hope over to my instagram feed!

Top 5 Gaming Channels

Lately, I’ve been moving- a lot- I’ve been crashing at friend’s apartments until I can move into mine. Which means everything Is packed away, video games included. I’ve only been left with my phone and my computer, which has me resorting to YouTube to fill my time. In the past week, and for the past few months, I’ve been nonstop watching a handful of YouTube channels that focus around gaming. Here’s my list of the top 5 gaming channels you should check out.


Wood came up in my recommended one day and started playing after I had finished another video. When I finished that video- I instantly wanted more. I went through his entire channel in a couple days, and then started listening to his podcast, Everything’s Taken. I really enjoy his opinions on games and both old and new are refreshing, especially being a small YouTube channel that isn’t paid to state his opinion. He focuses primarily on Nintendo, but frequently chats about other subjects like Playstation and Xbox.

The Game Chasers

I found Billy and Jay through Wood, due to him mentioning the Game Chasers quite often. They’re another really small channel based out of the DFW area. Their main content is going game chasing, and hunting down retro games from all over. And I mean all over, they have an episode where they go door to door in a neighborhood asking if people have retro games. It’s amazing to see what kinda deals they get, and how much they can pick up for so little. (There was an episode where they got a Nintendo 64, two controllers and 16 games for $20!) Check them out if you’re at all interested in retro game hunting.

Gaming Historian

I found Norm through Th Game Chasers as he goes hunting with them in a few episodes. However, his channel is not focused on the art of buying games but focused on the history of games, consoles, and accessories. His videos are in a documentary style and really interesting to anyone interested in video games. Last night alone I watched the history of Super Mario RPG, the Power Glove and the Super Game Boy. Too bad we couldn’t have learned about this history in school.


While, Justine does more than games, her videos based around new products and events are super fun to watch. She’s more of a fan than an influencer when it comes to her videos, so you have no problem trusting her opinions. It’s also extremely refreshing to see a females take on a male dominated hobby.


Anyone who keeps up with video games knows about IGN. Still, they deserve a place on this list because they are the most reliable news source for all gaming news. Outside of that, their content creators produce great shows featuring gameplay of new releases. I recommend checking out the mini series “Linked Together,” where two of the staff members each take one joycon (one part of the Nintendo Switch controller) and attempt to defeat the enemy with only half of the controls.


Have fun exploring these great YouTube channels, and leave your recommendations for your favorite gaming channels!



Australia – Thoughts on Travel

Well, I’ve been here for three weeks minus a few hours. I’ve probably done as more traveling in that time than I’ll get to for another month now that classes have started. Monash University has an amazing exchange/international student support team, and they set up some awesome trips for us. I’ve been into Melbourne’s city center several times now, and I’ve ridden an elevator to the 88th floor of the tallest building there and taken pictures of the city at night. It was more like flying low in an airplane than sitting in a building.

I’ve visited the largest shopping mall in Australia (just a 20 minute bus ride from my apartment on campus). I’ve fed kangaroos, wallabies, emus, cassowaries, and even geese and some kind of pheasant-esque bird by hand. I’ve watched penguins come out of the ocean to nest for the night and I’ve taken selfies with a koala.

Australia – Thoughts on Travel

I’ve also been chewed out by a customs officer, gotten thoroughly lost navigating the bus system at least three different times (twice in the first week), and lost my keys and wallet at least a dozen times each in the first few days of jetlag-induced haze (luckily always in my bag or my room). I’ve hiked through mildly sketchy neighborhoods alone trying to find the post office, and I’ve found myself carrying heavy grocery bags back to my apartment on foot after getting off the last bus at the wrong stop (just in case it sounded like I was having too much fun petting marsupials).

I’ve had some wild experiences here (in many senses of the word) in just the first few weeks, but I’m afraid things are going to slow down now that classes have started. The fantastic orientation trips to sanctuaries and penguin islands are over, and school work is starting to pile up. I started off my semester by reading about half of what was assigned because I wasn’t ready to quit going out with friends and watching movies late into the night. I’m honestly a bit anxious about whether I’ll be able to make myself do school work when there are so many awesome opportunities to go do other things coming up all the time. So far, I’ve been doing the bare minimum in my classes so I can keep doing other “Australia” things, as I keep calling them. There is so much I want to see, it’s really difficult to keep in mind that schoolwork is something I’m required to do in order to stay here…

When I’m not wrestling with unwanted homework, I’m finding that traveling in Australia is like traveling in the US in some ways that are unfortunate for the American student abroad. Mainly in that there is minimal public transport between major cities, and getting around the country as a whole is a massive pain without a car (especially since Australia is about as big as the US mainland). I’m discovering that I can take (fairly expensive) bus tours around Victoria (the state/territory I’m in), but if I want to go anywhere else I basically have to fly there and then either use public transit or pay for more bus tours. I suppose my hopes for easy transportation across the country were just set a bit too high after visiting Italy and its fantastic train system. I think I made another miscalculation in how much time I left for myself to travel after term. In Italy, I was disappointed that I didn’t give myself a few more days to see a few more cities, so I planned my Australia trip to leave a couple extra weeks after the term ends to travel. I should have left an extra month or two. There is just too much to see. The Gold Coast alone can take a month if you really want to enjoy the experience, and I hoped to spend some time in Tasmania and New Zealand too, not to mention the smaller trips around Victoria that I hoped to make. I’m beginning to realize that there will never be enough time to see everything in any country I visit – heck, I live in the US, and I’ve seen almost none of the major landmarks there. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to try. At this point I think I’ll be dragging my suitcases into the airport to go home with my nose stuck in a travel guide for some part of Australia I didn’t get around to visiting in time. But still, we’ll see what I get around to, and worst case scenario I’ll just have to find a way to come back here. It’s only halfway around the world, right?

Summery of Learning Medium

I am actually getting super excited for this project.  My professor posted all sorts of suggestions of mediums we could use and I found this super awesome site he recommended called Goanimate.com

I intend on making an infographic video explaining to potential students why they should take this class (and be excited about it).  The tools I will need are all provided by the host site, though unfortunately, there will be a nasty watermark because I cannot afford to spend $40 on this project :/

I don’t need to do much research except really get familiar with the graphic and editing tools the website provides and that will help prep me for the design!  I am getting excited just talking about it.  I have been working with an online web design platform called Wix and the more I used the tool, the better I got at design!  Feel free to check out the website I designed at my internship this summer for the OU BCM!


¡Vive San Fermín!

The matador bends his knees slightly as he slowly raises his sword. He stands in the center of the plaza, a thousand drunken fools looking down at him. The bull is directly in front of him, huffing in all the air his massive body can hold to keep up with the blood flowing out from between his shoulder blades. They’ve been dancing for quite a while now, spinning and spinning by nothing but the flash of a red cape. And for these few glorious seconds, the drums stop pounding, the bottles of sangria stop swinging, and the whole arena is watching the two lovers.

This is how Pamplona was the few quiet days before San Fermín officially began. The whole city was preparing for the blow. We sat at a restaurant and watched bus after bus unload visitors, all coming to town for the fiesta. The local restaurant owners rented out their spaces, the families packed their bags and headed out for a week-long vacation, and then there was me – caught somewhere in between a local and a visitor. Sure, with some patchy Spanish I could tell you how to find the cathedral, where the bulls ran, where Hemingway stayed…but I was just pretending. And I loved every second.

San Fermín officially begins on July 6th, and this year that was a Thursday. I was to meet my friend Laura at the entrance of the pool at 9:30 am, and I was to not be late…oh geez. So at 9:30, I am jogging to the bus station, a little worried about time because I didn’t have my phone, and there is a bus outside of the pool so I get on. After the bus pulls away, I realize Laura and her friends are not on it, so at the next bus stop I get off and jog back to the pool. She’s not there, so I jog through Zizur, trying to find a bus station on the other side where maybe she will be, and at all costs not miss the bus on its loop around the neighborhood. The bus and I find the station at the same time, so I load on to the crowded bus, sure she must be somewhere on it. The bus starts to move, and we are on our way downtown. I felt pretty good, I didn’t miss the bus or anything – but then I see Laura. She is waiting at the last bus station out of Zizur. She’s alone and the bus doesn’t stop. I felt so insanely bad. I couldn’t believe she had waited for me. So we unload in Pamplona, and I run into some other girls I know. They say Laura will be on the next bus, and so I waited there…for an hour. It turns out later that she had gotten off at a different bus stop than me.

So here I am, alone, in a crowd of one million people, hopelessly searching the crowds for a familiar face. But the clock is ticking, and the streets are getting tighter and tighter – so I head to the heart of the Chupinazo in front of the town hall. The streets were so crowded that even the Plaza de Castillo, where people just watch the Chupinazo on a projector was full of people. However, I had an advantage. I was alone, with no tailing friends or even a bottle bumping against people, just me. I wove my way through the crowds, following behind the broad-shouldered German or slipping alongside the edges of buildings. Soon I look up and I’m in the middle of the madness. We sing, we jump, we drink (or if you’re me you just get sangria squirted in your eyes) – and at twelve o’clock we untie the red bandanas from our wrist and raise them to the sky. We go on like this for a while, all the while swaying as one massive crowd. One second I was falling into the arms of an Australian man, the next I was pressed so tightly against someone who only spoke French. Hemingway was right – the fiesta didn’t just start, it exploded.
I followed my Chupinazo star-crossed lover out of the crowd and we went walking through the streets – taking in the fiesta. Men poured buckets of water from the balconies on to the eager crowd, and the parades began.

A shower and change of clothes later, I went back out to the fiesta. After the typical Heath struggle to find her friends – I found them in the Plaza de Castillo. There was a group playing music in the gazebo and we all jumped in to dance. Day was turning to night, bodies were moving freer, and we all spun around to the tune of the happy flute. The best part was the little girls dressed in their red and white – nothing but their curls and shoulders bouncing up and down as they tried to copy the flick of their mothers’ feet. Eventually, we fell out of the crowd and headed to buy bocadillas (my favorite is the tortilla patata – so so good). We sat in the grass waiting for the fireworks and told bilingual jokes – seeing if the other could understand. They asked me how the fireworks compared to the ones on the Fourth of July.

At night, we danced until the bulls ran through the streets. Every day of the fiesta ends or finishes (depending on your age/tolerance) with the encierro. At about 5 am, everyone heads to mark their spot. You can either watch in the street or the Plaza de Torros where they have somewhat of a show following the encierro. The first morning, I went here with my friends where we watched the arena fill with men, shortly followed by six massive bulls. They corral the bulls, and then release smaller bulls with dull horns to toss some guys around in the dirt. The crowd cheers for the bull, and the locals yell at the occasional guy that tries to conquer the bull – pulling its head to the ground or yanking on its tail. That’s the special part about San Fermín that I think a lot of people don’t see. Yes, they kill the bull, but they also highly respect them. The matadors spend years in the Basque countryside, working with the bulls and learning how to turn what otherwise would be a slab of meat into the art of bullfighting. We catch the bus and head back to Zizur to dream about the next day of San Fermín.

The fiesta continues like this for six more nights and seven more days. Each day I fall more and more in love with San Fermín and the city of Pamplona. Somewhere along the way, my friend Sophia from Barcelona joins the fiesta, a gypsy steals my phone on Calle de San Nicolás, and I lose my friends from 3 am to 4 am. Every day we go to run with the Toro de Fuego, a bull with fireworks attached at the top chasing kids down the street, we watch the fuegos artificiales at the park, and my white clothes get more brown/purple every day.

On Friday, July 14th the fiesta is coming to an end. My friends and I spend the last encierro watching from the street. We see the men warming up and bouncing on their toes, waiting for the bulls. At 7:58 am they chant to the statue of San Fermín in the wall with their rolled-up newspapers, “Vive San Fermín…¡Vive! Gora San Fermin…¡Gora!” Then, at 8 am, a firework symbols the unleashing of the bulls – and wow… they are massive. They trample towards the already moving crowd, bowing their heads to the ground and raising their horns to sky. We hop in the street behind them, crowding into a bar to watch the injuries that follow. A couple of concussions, the occasional gore…my friends and I laugh over the fact that most of the injured are Americans as we head to get churros. They also laugh at my inability to roll my r’s without sounding French, while I am trying over and over again to say “churro” or “perro” correctly. The churros were amazing by the way – served hot with rich, melted chocolate to dip them in.

The last night of San Fermín is a bittersweet time. We are all happy – it is a Friday night, the firework show was good, and the town is still bustling. However, we know the end is coming and no one wants the fiesta to end. The lovers of San Fermín head to the Ayuntamiento for the Pobre de Mí celebration. The gypsies sell wax candles for a euro and we group together in front of the stage. The crowd sways, the candles are lit, and we sing, “Pobre de Mí, Pobre de Mí, que se han acabado las fiestas, de San Fermín” (Poor me, poor me, for the fiesta of San Fermín has come to a close). Then at midnight, the fiesta is over with a firework, and we move our red bandanas from our necks back to our wrists. The aficionados are crying.

Vive San Fermín. Gora San Fermin

Summer Trends Moodboard

Below is a moodboard I creates for summer trends that have inspired me. Flatform espadrilles, destructed denim and embroidered pieces are a way to add a fun and vintage look to your outfit. You don’t need to splurge on a Gucci denim jacket or Reformation jeans to test out these looks. Here are some cheap alternatives to my favorite pieces.

  1. Embroidered sneakers (Forever 21, $38)
  2. Embroidered denim jacket (Boohoo, $26)
  3. Two-toned jeans (Asos, $27)
  4. Destructed mom jeans (American Eagle, $49)
  5. Espadrille platform sandals (Asos, $40)
  6. Fringe platform sandals (Shopriffraff, $46)