Saturday Scotch Surprise

Happy Sunday y’all! The sun is shining! Everything is covered in ice and it’s fucking cold outside! Ahh….perfect day to do absolutely nothing and stay inside.

Yesterday started out pretty miserable…read gray, raining, and cold…and ended up gorgeous. We took advantage of the miserable morning weather and went for a run. Fantastic idea right?! Honestly, I’m a bit of a weirdo and really enjoy rainy/cold running weather. I knooooow, one day I’ll catch a cold but till then, I’mma enjoy it. It was my longest run since the marathon and it felt fantastic.


Just took it nice and easy and ran at what felt comfortable the entire time.

After the run. We spent some time with the torture device foam roller. It was Steve’s first time really using it. I think he likes it!


We went to Beasley’s Chicken and Honey for some late lunch/early dinner. Everything is good there. You really can’t go wrong when the staple of your menu is fried chicken. Even though Steve got catfish…wtf. It was super good, but we totally went there for chicken and catfish is not chicken.



Whilst there, we had the brilliant idea to have a man night. Man night consists of cigars and scotch. Buncha people came over and we did exactly that. We drank scotch and smoked cigars. A rousing game of Cards Against Humanity (with some Crabs Adjust Humidity thrown in there for shits and giggles) finished off the night.



A great way to end the day if you ask me 🙂

Here’s a great picture of Indy thrown in for good measure. Just cause she’s cute.


Do you have a lazy Sunday planned?

End of the longest short week ever

What a week! My first project for the embedded systems class I’m taking was due yesterday at 6:00. This was challenging because my C programming skills are rusty and I never took a “prerequisite” undergraduate microcontroller class before this graduate class. I do have some self taught microcontroller experience that is helping but our instructor is less than helpful. He spent the first week of class reading the syllabus, forcing horrible analogies in an attempt to teach us about corporate culture of programmers instead of useful info about the board and project and explaining why it’s bad to wait until the last minute to start on said project. Seriously, he spent 15 minutes talking about why we shouldn’t wait until the last minute. The class is almost unbearable and is only made worse by the shit eating grin he flashes eleventy billion times per class.

Anyway, this would all have been fine if not for Wednesday. I had planned to work on the project all day and then enjoy a fancyish date night with dinner and Wicked at DPAC.

Instead, a clogged water filter exploded flooding my lab with nasty dirty water and I spent the day taking apart tools, mopping and putting them back together. Here are a few pics of the nasty residue and peeling up floor tiles.



After cleaning all day with a short break to sit in the Dr. Shiteatinggrin’s class we also had to make an appearance for an NSF big wig who was visiting our engineering research center. This amounted to standing around until 6:30 pm with relatively no interaction with said big wig while I lamented missing out on dressing up nice, having dinner and letting Indy out before rushing to Durham. Fortunately our roommate was home and kind enough to walk the dog and we ate cookout in the car on the way to the theater in our t-shirts. In the end it was ok though because Wicked was phenomenal and we had a great time once we got there despite the back of my brain occasionally whispering “You’re never going to finish your project on time!”

Spoiler: I did finish on time after a couple 12 hour stretches in front of the computer peppered with shouted and muttered obscenities with a 5 hour sleep break in there somewhere.

I went to work with a few friends also taking the class without the prerequisite knowledge so we enjoyed beating our heads against the monitors together. We had to set up LEDs to fade in and out based on input from a touch slider and a tilt sensor along with timers to time out the light and flash various signals and a low battery detector. In the end it was reasonably satisfying to finish. This is the board. It uses an ARM Cortex M0+ processor and is pretty cool despite the documentation being hard to find and spread out all over. Such seems to be the case with microcontrollers though.


We celebrated the end of a long week with margaritas and enchiladas at does taquitos.



The enchiladas are easily the best dish but I suggest substituting chorizo and spinach for chicken. Ignore your server’s questioning glance and his or her concerns about potatoes being in the chorizo mix (seriously, that’s a bonus!). They always seem confused and that makes me confused as to why this substitution hasn’t caught on because it’s freaking amazing.

On a side note, I’m starting training for my half marathon this week so hopefully my foot injury is now under control. Stay tuned for more exciting updates on swollen ankles and how hungry I am after running.

How was your week?

Grad School is Cray Y’all

Hi everyone!! Hope you’ve had a fantastic day! The semester has definitely taken off over here and there won’t be any slowing down until……well um…….December? idk

Grad school is difficult no matter where you’re at or what program you’re in. It’s even more difficult when you’re in an Engineering Research Center (ERC) and have more than just research to do. Not only do we take the usual classes and do the usual research (which is already a full-time job), we also have to do outreach, talk to industry, attend a slightly insane amount of seminars, work on translational skills, and create products in addition to the usual research. It’s tough to stay on top of everything without getting overwhelmed….(read Amanda is overwhelmed 99% of the time).

Since yesterday was rather dull I figured I’d tell you all how I make sure everything gets done. Every student has a different method of staying on task. I employ the bullet journal method. A while ago, I realized that the usual day planners just didn’t cut it. I needed a place to take notes and some days take up more than one page. So, I’ve made my own! It’s not pretty (there are some gorgeous and super creative bullet journals out there that you can search on Pinterest…alas I am not an artist) but it works.

So what does it all look like??

Well to start, there’s an index at the start. This is a quick guide to remind myself how I’ve color coded the damn thing cause some days I have the memory of a goldfish and forget how to count. Anyways. This page is basically the definitions of your shorthand.


Boxes are for tasks. Once a task is complete, I can fill it in. If only part of task is complete, only part of the box gets filled in!

Dots are for events. I use this for meetings, appointments, special events, etc. You get the gist.

Dashes are for notes. This is particularly useful if only part of a task gets done, I can jot a note to let myself know exactly what got done. It’s also for useful random other things like packing lists for traveling, meeting minutes, random spouts of brilliance (just kidding)….but yeah, that stuff.

OK! In my attempt to be creative, I color coded my entries by area of life that entry pertains to….sounds confusing but here’s a picture!


After the index/definitions are set up, you can start writing your shit down! I’ve found that having both a monthly and daily section works best. I need to plan some things pretty far out in advance (academic conferences, races, and the like) so I put those things in the monthly calendar.


Then, there’s the daily section. Here’s my attempt to make it pretty  functional. I’ve found that having the date and day (again, memory of a goldfish) helps me write the correct date on things. From there, every morning I take a couple minutes and write out my day. It’s great to help me prioritize my day and visualize what needs to be accomplished.This includes:

  • transferring uncompleted tasks from the previous day
  • writing in new tasks as they come in
  • writing down appointments and meetings for the day
  • and anything else really

Here’s a couple sample pages that kinda show how I use my journal:






I just use this for grad school things mostly, but you can put in whatever you want! Some other awesome ideas:

  • Boxes for glasses of water you want to drink (hydration is important!)
  • Keeping track of books you’ve read or want to read
  • Grocery lists and recipes or shopping lists in general
  •  Things to do around the house – chores and the like

Basically you can customize for what you want to keep track of. The only trick is remembering to write everything down. But it’s very easy to use once you get the hang of it!

Whelp. This is how I make sure shit gets done without me losing my mind….my journal could almost be considered my actual mind…. Actually, nevermind. Pretend that last part didn’t happen…. This is how I make sure shit gets done without me losing my mind. And it works! (there we go)

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Wicked and Wild

Hi everyone! Hope you all have had a lovely day!

Yesterday was a typical day in the life of a grad student. Bat shit crazy. Sometimes the crazy is a good thing and you leave the day feeling super accomplished. Other days….notsomuch. This was luckily one of those in between crazy days, where it starts off great and then unravels into total chaos.

Highlights of the work day:


Cookie at the weekly seminar! It was delish 😀


The 3D printer is up and running! As a side note, I need to figure out how to set the LEDs in the thing to change colors so then it’ll be like a disco when I print things.

We also had a great lunch with leftovers from our great dinner last night (another Blue Apron, but hey it’s planned and easy so why not). I’d tell you what it’s called but I can’t spell it without the recipe card right next to me…. O.o oops. But it had chicken and coconut milk and spices and veggies and rice and it was awesome.


Downside of the work day: (That there are no pictures of because why would you take a picture of that!?)

The director for the ERCs (engineering research center) nationwide was stopping by for a visit. Cool right?! Except for that, like things always go, he was running 30 min late……then 1 hr late…….then 1.5 hrs late. GAH! Majorly. Annoying. Made worse by some blatant sexism but that’s a story for another time.

Because we were running super late….our date night plans had to be slightly adjusted. Originally we were gonna dress nicely, go get dinner, and then go to our show. Instead, we were swinging through Cookout drive through and eating in the car as we were trying to make up time so we weren’t late for……



We got there with just enough time to jog walk in and grab some wine before getting to our seats.


And. It. Was. Incredible.

We got a chance to walk around Durham for a bit before heading back home and crashing.

What is your favorite date night activity?





Winter is NOT coming

Last night we made another Blue Apron meal. For those who don’t know, Blue Apron is a pretty awesome food delivery service. They deliver recipes with all the correct quantities of ingredients (like a single stalk of celery or a little cup of bagoong) you need in a refrigerated box to your door.

20150119_175008We get 3 meals at a time and they’re supposed to serve two but we almost always have leftovers. The recipes are typically atypical and feature interesting ingredients and cultural influences. Last night we made a Mexican style casserole with beef, quinoa, veggies, cilantro and a few other things. It wasn’t our favorite so far but it wasn’t bad.

20150119_183917After dinner I spent a few hours buried in C code for a class I’m taking and then took a Dr. Who break. I needed the break after bashing my head against the monitor for hours. My coding skills are pretty rusty but I managed to get some peripherals for the microcontroller configured before stumbling to bed and rudely removing Indy from my her spot on the bed.

Today it was 67 degrees! I don’t think winter is coming no matter what the poor mostly dead Stark family says oops, spoiler ;)hmm, now I want GoT to come back… and House of Cards, yay TV!

Amanda and I decided to cancel our TRX class in the basement dungeon of the old NCSU gym and leave work early to take advantage of the sun and the warmth. We wanted to run but decided that we should take it easy on our injuries since we ran yesterday. We did take Indy for a great walk though and she had an awesome time jumping in the creek and getting very stinky. 20150120_164840She would disappear from time to time over the bank of the creek but would always come bounding back soon.


Spot the Indy!

Tonight, more Blue Apron, yay! More Dr. Who, yay! and more coding, blerrg.