Thursday, April 17, 2014

Always Looking Up: Space Dreams with NASA #SpaceX3 #NASASocial

A few of you have asked me if I cried this past Monday, the few that know me enough to know how life changing seeing, feeling and experiencing a launch is for me. Truth is, I did cry. But I didn't cry when or for the reason you might expect. 
Missy's exact words to me, lol!

I was crying before the scrub announcement came. I was sitting on a NASA bus out on the causeway, staring out the window at that rocket and I started crying like there was no tomorrow. I was crying because I was thinking about the last time I had the chance to see a launch, with my sisters at my side. I was missing them and thinking how much I wanted them to be there to see this, be a part of this. Because the truth is, the things we are passionate about are made so much better when we have people, people we love, to share them with.
So close! Photo Credit: AlloyCode

I knew going into this experience the first time around that it was going to be pretty amazing. Like hanging off the side of a tall ship, fishing net in hand, beating at an ocean full of bioluminescence just so I can watch the reflection of the Milky Way turn neon blue. Or like the time I climbed a cliff to watch the midnight sun dip down in the sky, kiss V├Ąttern and swing back up.  Yeah, that kind of amazing.

Most of the time the things that amaze me are the things I have to work the hardest to get to.  But then there are those things that just fall in your lap, things other people came together to create and invited you along to witness. This was one of those things. 
Orion Model and EFT-1 Launch Abort System, Photo Credit: AlloyCode

I found myself walking around NASA's Kennedy Space Center taking a journey through the minds of many. Oh, what beautiful minds! I've always had a thing for NASA, their "let's do this, we're gonna figure out a way" attitude about things. 
Gioia Massa speaks about Veggie

For me, my love for all things space started at a space themed Girl Scout camp-- Troop Trek!-- where someone took the time to point their telescope upwards and invited me over to take a look. I remember thinking the moon was the most beautiful, ugly thing I'd ever seen. But now that I'd seen it that way, I wanted to see it that way all the time.  I was hooked. 
Launch Pad 39A, where Apollo, the Space Shuttle and now SpaceX will carry men and women into orbit.
As I learned all about space during that scouting weekend, one thing struck a cord in me. Someone told us that you didn't have to be an astronaut to have a place in space.....and it was something I found myself repeating to my sisters many years later as we watched STS-135 take off for ISS. Sure, a lot of us dream of being astronauts, I sure did, but NASA doesn't just need astronauts, they need the rest of us too. Writers, artists, IT guys, doctors, scientists and even dreamers....
University Research-1 students
If I ever doubted that idea, this trip to cover the third SpaceX launch of a Falcon 9 and Dragon Cargo mission proved to me that every STEM student and Girl Scout I talk to, can believe the words coming out of my mouth when I tell them to do what they love and there will be a place for them in space. 
NASA saved a place for me in space!
That beautiful rocket still sits on its launch pad today, three launch scrubs later. But inside the Dragon capsule is the work of so many great minds, and I can't wait to tell you all about that cargo! Work like the robotic legs that are headed up to ISS for Robonaut2, and the idea a little company out in Madison, Wisconsin had to make NASA Veggie possible. Then there is the CASIS sponsored Huntington's disease research and the first collaboration between university student cancer research and the ISS, University Research-1. 
Where I left her.

The next launch attempt is scheduled for tomorrow, 4/18 at 3:25 p.m. EDT with a backup date of 4/19 at 3:02 p.m. We can watch it together on NASA TV:

And when you're done watching the launch, come back and read more about all the awesome payloads, and then a bit about my personal experience (it really was the stuff of dreams, y'all) that I'm going to share here.   
I know, right!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

HoneyBaked Easter, For the Year of Many Easters! #HoneyBakedEaster #ad

*This is a sponsored post. HoneyBaked provided me with an Easter meal to sample and review. All opinions are my own* 

If you have a family that is spread out, you are probably used to the divided holiday meals, having to choose between one family and the other. We joke about it and there is always a year of many-- many Easters, many Christmases, many Thanksgivings. This happens to be the year of many Easters. Easter dinner invitations are coming in from everywhere and its time to choose where to go, what to cook, and when to celebrate.
Can you see why we need many of these?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

We're Hosting a #NASASocial Twitter Party! #SpaceX3

If you are not familiar with Spacetweepers, you are missing out. Space and social media just go together, y'all. It's the best way to find out what's going on, meet and network with other folks that are passionate about space, the space program or just trying to figure out what they're looking at in the night sky in a particular part of the world. 

One of the big things I have coming up is a trip to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, and I am going to have the chance to meet a lot of folks passionate about space. Some of the folks I've been following on Twitter for a while, and others I have only just met. 

Before we get together we are going to host a little twitter party to get ready! 

Join us to talk NASA, Space-X, rockets, robotics and space on Tuesday, March, 11th at 8pm CST. And make sure to follow along on Twitter after the party to come along with us on our trip to NASA's KSC!

Party Details:
Date & Time: Tuesday, March 11th 8pm CST
Duration: 1 hour (officially, lol)
Hosted by: @Chitownchica
Co-Hosts: @SecretColGrl @AstroGingerSnap
Hashtags: #NASASocial #SpaceX3
Surprises: A few of us are putting together some awesome NASA swag grab bags to give a way! A little bit of vintage NASA swag, stuff for kiddos, gift store swag type things. 

How to Join In:
Joining a twitter party is easy! Follow me or any one of the co-hosts on Twitter (to win one of the swag bags you must follow me on Twitter so I can DM for shipping). Another easy way to follow along is to follow either of the hashtags: #NASASocial or #SpaceX3. Then just show up on twitter and ask us questions, lots of questions, interact and have fun!

RSVP here:
If you want to throw your name in the hat for a NASA swag prize, add your twitter profile to the linky so we can choose names easier.  


If You See Me Skipping.....#SpaceX3 #NASASocial

There's this thing I do occasionally. People close to me are used to it, people that don't know me just ignore it, smile, stare. Sometimes I can't help it. 

I skip. 

I used to scuttle, but that took too long. 

At some point as a child I realized I could cover more ground faster and started skipping.  

Why do I skip?

Well, growing up my parents made a point of taking family vacations to important, historic places. I was obsessed with who walked where, touched what and did important things in the very spot I was standing.  I would make a point of scuttling across the floor of whatever place we were visiting to make sure that I was "stepping onto history"-- and I think it was the whole step into history mantra of the places we went got me started. 

Anyway, I would tackle places like a grid to make sure I covered as much area as possible. Some places were just too big, and we had to keep moving along on the tour or I switched to scuttling. That still wasn't fast enough though.

At some point I switched to spontaneous skipping and talked myself into being okay with the fact that my feet were on the ground less. 

Every once in a while now, I find myself doing a little skip. Just a little one. 

The idea that big things happened or are happening on the very place I am standing is so exciting it just comes out in a skip. :)

For the next month I have some very big things coming up-- just hoping I have the energy to get through it all. My NASA invitation is the most exciting though. Can hardly contain myself. 

So excited I want to do a giveaway! Make sure you come back and hear about my NASA trip later this month, and all the other events & happenings I get to do back in Chicago and everywhere else. I promise to get better about sharing here-- hard to keep up with the blog when you are always running.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

USA Ski Jumping at Home #Sochi2014 #Chicago #Olympics

The start of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics is less than 24 hours away! Sadly, most of the news around the Olympics has to do with scandal, corruption, security threats and now the city's unpreparedness for the games. Instead of focusing on all of that today, I wanted to make sure I shared with y'all the awesome event I got to see last week-- Ski Jumping!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

#PetBox Subscriptions, Dog Approved Holiday Gift! #Giveaway

* This post is sponsored by PetBox on behalf of the BlogPaws Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about PetBox, but Unus Sed Leona only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. PetBox is not responsible for the content of this article.*
I don't know who is more excited about the awesome PetBox that showed up on our doorstep. Zorro and I have been sampling, trying and playing with all the goodies that filled out first PetBox subscription box-- a personalized monthly subscription service for pets (and their owners).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Chicago Bears & P&G Host #PGBestDefense Day at Halas Hall!

To raise awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early detection, the Chicago Bears have teamed up with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) and P&G today. P&G is hosting the Best Defense Day of Action at Halas Hall, the Chicago Bears' headquarters and inviting media, bloggers and men and women.