I Make Weird Dares

Happy Friday! (I definitely started typing Fireday if that gives any indication as to how hot it is here in Raleigh)

I wanna talk about setting goals today cause, if you haven’t picked up from the whole gradschool/ironman thing, I’m a super goal-oriented person and not everyone gets that.

Most of my goals start out as jokes. Like “we should run 5 Ironmans by the time we’re 25” LMAO XD Flash forward a few years and about half of that statement was actually accomplished. Weird right?

Let’s start with grad school. To be completely honest, I NEVER imagined getting my PhD. Ever. It was something I actually tried to avoid for years and only just accepted the idea of getting one about 2 years ago. The decision to accept an offer for a funded PhD project happened when I was driving from Mississippi State University to Little Rock. I had just broken a 3 year relationship and was not it the best state of mind. It sort of happened as a dare. I dared myself to get a PhD. I dared myself to break ‘tradition’ and not do the whole marriage/job/babies/house-in-your-20s thing.

aaaaaaaannnnnnd I struggled with that. For a long time. I watched my friends happily get married, buy houses, get well paying jobs, etc. And it seemed like I was stuck in this time warp of kinda-college-kinda-not idk wtf I am. Not fully adult with an ‘adult’ life but not a college kid who enjoys the ‘college experience’ either. It’s this weird gray area. I fought being in that weird gray area. For 2 years. And made myself miserable in the process. But something clicked and I realized that to be a successful grad student and to complete my dare, you have to be 100% okay with the gray area. It’s okay to be in a weird half-adult state cause every other grad student is there too. It’s not the same ‘adulthood’ that’s sold to you as a kid, but it’s still a valid ‘adulthood’ and will be a super exciting adventure if you let it.

Also, I have this weird thing about never quitting so that also helped push me through.

5 years ago I would have laughed hysterically if you told me I would run marathons and enjoy it. Seriously. I remember actually laughing at the idea when it was suggested. I thought of it as a hilarious joke…….which……of course…..ended up with me running a couple marathons. The thought process was like this:

LOL NO…..that’s crazy……running 2 miles sucks……(now in a sleep deprived state) hmmmmm………ya know what could be cool? running a half marathon…….signs up for half marathon……(next morning) SHIT wtf did I do?!? well I paid a bunch of money so I may as well…….(finishes) that was pretty cool…..definitely don’t want to run more than that……marathons are CRAZY……(few months later)………friend asks if you’re interested in a race……..debate for a couple weeks……..in a moment of weakness (read 3 glasses of wine in) sign up for FULL marathon…….(the next few months consist of a lot mental berating for doing something that stupid and crazy).

But when the time came to actually run the dang thing I was actually excited! Yeah, it’s scary. Yeah my knees don’t like to run sometimes. Yeah I laughed at the idea of doing it. Yeah it’s kinda cool.

And I finished.

A similar thing happened with triathlons. I was joking with my friend Jen on how we were going to finish an Ironman race by the time we were 25. That never happened. But. When Ironman created a 70.3 race in Raleigh, my interest was piqued. So one night, after several glasses of wine, (are you seeing the trend here?) I signed up.

And I completed a half Ironman when I was 25.

I have no idea what I’m going to do next, besides graduate with a PhD. But a new goal/dare/idea has been floating around in the back of my head for a while now. It may be time to make another crazy dare…..

I want to dare myself to qualify for the Boston Marathon by the time I’m 30. I am daring myself to finish a marathon in 3:35 which is running a pace of about 8:12 min/mile for 26.2 miles.

It’s on.

Day at Dix

Here in Raleigh we have Dix Park. It’s on an old psychiatric hospital named after Dorthea Dix. (If you are giggling hysterically at this point we should be friends)

We went to a festival there on Sat with the pups to check it out. It was a bad idea. The park was awesome. The people were awesome. The festival vendors and such were awesome. The temperature……not so awesome. 

The heat index was well into the 100s with little to no share at the park. The poor dogs almost had a heat stroke!

Luckily Raleigh is a drinking town. Specifically a beer drinking town. Which means….drum roll…there was a beer tent!!

It was shaded and involved trying some new beers so we took on the challenge of finding the best one while the dogs cooled off (read we poured ice water on their bellies and they freaked out)

Once everyone was cooler and happy we immensely enjoyed the beer tent! Happy dogs = happy owners/dog parents

Luna was still pretty mad about the whole ice-on-the-belly things. Nbd just trying to save your life angry puppy.

To fulfill our duties as beer taster Steve needed an extra hand to make sure no beer was spilled. 

All in all we had a great time and discovered some new and pretty unique beers…

The blueberry citrus wheat was my favorite until I tried the habenero mango cider. It was SO GOOD! It was crisp and refreshing (almost like a good white wine) and had just a bit of kick at the finish for funsies 🙂

All in all we had a great time and plan to go back albeit on a cooler day.



Good morning!

Hope everyone had a great weekend 🙂 Ours was HOT but you’ll hear more about that later.

I wrote this post about 2 weeks ago and wasn’t ready to publish it, but today’s the day!! (I have a few comments after the post if you wanna see a “Where Are They Now” update)

I feel weird today. In fact if this essay/blog/post ever sees the light of day on the internet I’ll be pretty surprised. Also embarrassed. Really embarrassed.

I found out that an ex-boyfriend of mine proposed to his girlfriend today. On facebook. From his mother (who I was unaware that I was still fb friends with and promptly unfriended).

This is a relationship that ended over 4 years ago. Think maybe 4.5 years now? I have moved on, obviously, and knew he had as well.

He was the first guy I thought I would marry. My first true, deep, chaotic love. He was exactly the kind of guy you wanted to meet your parents. He checked all the boxes.

Everyone was shocked when I ended it. None more so than myself. He was about to propose and had ordered a ring. I didn’t intend to break up with him when I did. I got freaked out by future and things spiraled from there.

I still consider it one of the best, if accidental, decisions I’ve ever made.

Since then I’ve moved on to do some pretty awesome shit and have found the love of my life in Steven. Which is why I’m embarrassed this post is even being written.

I feel weird about it. Not bad not good. Just weird.

My initial thoughts after seeing the post are: I’m happy for him, WTF, ummmmmm wut, this is weird, why do I feel this way, WTF amanda…

So I’m writing my thoughts out. And now that it’s been an hour or so since I saw the news, I feel a different kind of weird.

It’s that kinda numb/out of it/relieved feeling you get when a door you’ve closed finally locks and you know there’s no going back. Whether or not you wanted to go back, there’s a difference between not doing something and not being able to do something. In this case, I’m relieved that that chapter of my life is over for good. Honestly, I almost feel cleansed. Mostly relieved though with a touch of bittersweet.

It feels like I can really look towards the future now. Which, for a depressed person, is weird in and of itself. Since my depression started, my 5 year plan has been to survive and not think about the 5 year plan. Basically, live in the now and do what you can to get through every day and celebrate that. Thinking a year ahead was, and still is, really fucking hard.

But today it just got easier.

It gives me hope. The only thing that can actually combat depression.

I’m happy for him but I’m happier for myself. Because I’m excited to see what adventure the next year brings.

2 weeks ago I started to feel hopeful again. I didn’t want to write about it because that feeling is typically fleeting is quickly replaced with blergh. But I am still feeling good!

It’s been a great couple of weeks since I can get stuff done at work and still have energy to work out and clean and generally perform basic adult functions. It’s pretty awesome 🙂 It’s exciting to look forward to holidays/weekends/tomorrow/etc again!

See ya later with a post on Destination Dix (hehehehehehehe)


Is that cheesy enough?


After a wonderful vacation where Lisa came to visit for a few days we decided we didn’t see each other enough. Can you tell we had a great time?!?


Note that this is not the first time we’ve had this conversation since moving out of the Wench House but we are both rather forgetful and slightly depressed which means nothing gets scheduled

So we have standing dates every Wednesday now! This past one was to go catch Pokemon in Umstead Park……yes I am one of those people #noshame #sorrynotsorry. We had a great time even though it was a steamy 100-ish degrees out (for those who use the metric system this is somewhere in the low 30s) and conquered a gym! Conveniently we are both on the blue team, Team Mystic FTW so we tag-teamed it and were the proud owners of a gym for approximately 2hrs

As I was gingerly stepping around the trail (cause my knee and a dresser got into a fight), I did not take any pictures of our adventure.

Luckily I happened to take some from earlier in the weekimg_2016-07-09-19000542.png

The dogs have really gotten into the whole chasing Pokemon thing if you couldn’t tell 😉


We have also had some issues with a Zubat infestation (does anyone else HATE Zubats??) Luckily I caught this one before he hurt Steve #soproud

After chasing Clefaries for a bit we were all thirsty and stopped off at a local sports bar for some beers  before the daily summer downpour began

It was a great day and even greater that the dogs were TIRED after the adventure


Chopped! Raleigh


I’m just going to pretend that I didn’t miss almost 2 months of blogging and just …..yeah….

Steve and I went on a date night on Tuesday! This may not seem like a big deal to some, but when you’re working with a grad student budget fancy dates are rare and super special. What was even more special is that two local restaurants (both owned by the same corporation) were having a competition and we had tickets 🙂20160712_175954.jpg

We are very hungry people!

We had NO idea what to expect but we knew it was gonna be good. Here’s the menu…


(I take excellent pictures with a potato)

Anywho, Gravy is an American-Italian restaurant and Sitti is a Lebanese restaurant. Both are known as really good places to eat, drink, and be merry. The idea of the dinner was that 2 wines from Lebanon and 2 wines from Italy were selected to go with the courses. The chefs at each restaurant had to come up with a dish that complemented the wine being served. Our job was to EAT AND DRINK AND JUDGE (like on Chopped but better).

What we especially did not expect was each plate, all 8 of them, was a full serving!

To start off we had a white Lebanese wine that was very citrusy and light. Sitti served…


I’ll let you read the description of the food from the menu, but this was some awesome hummus. Not to mention, lamb bacon is the shit. Gravy followed up with….20160712_182412.jpg

this tasty tuna!

We decided that Gravy won this round because the citrus from the dish was best friends with the citrus in the wine.

Gravy – 1 Sitti – 0

Second course had a red wine from Italy. Sitti gave us..20160712_184652.jpg

a beautiful rainbow of beets and Gravy countered with..20160712_184549.jpghomemade pasta with fresh basil!

Not gonna lie, I was rooting for the pasta because sometimes beets are weird and WHO DOESN’T LIKE PASTA?!? But tasting the wine after the beets gave me new respect for pairing wine with food cause Sitti knocked it out of the park!

Gravy – 1 Sitti – 1

At this point, Steve and I regretfully realized that these were indeed, full portions and that we were getting way to full so we started moderating how much we ate…still made sure to drink all of the wine though.

Up next was the ‘main’ course. Both restaurants happened to choose lamb as the protein so we were pretty excited to eat more food that isn’t very common here in Raleigh. Sitti came out strong with..20160712_191725.jpg

At this point the contest was over. This dish changed my life. I NEVER would have imagined that peppermint goat cheese, pistachio crusted lamb, red pepper polenta, and honey jalepeno glaze would be as amazing as it was. The balance of flavors was phenomenal and I practically licked this plate because I have no shame. Gravy served..20160712_192019.jpg

a braised lamb leg. Tbh this dish was a little disappointing. The potatoes-salsa-okra-lamb combination didn’t work for me and didn’t really go together. The lamb was okay…it tasted very similar to a pot roast I make in the slow cooker.

Gavy – 1 Sitti – 2


The best food category! Not the best wine category since I’m not a fan of sweet wines but I’ll still drink it cause you don’t waste stuff. Sitti gave us..20160712_194509.jpga fried banana with chocolate ganache and butter pecan ice cream. I was really excited when this came out but since I don’t know how to read and drink wine simultaneously  the banana took me by surprise. It was a good dessert but nobody likes surprise bananas. Gravy finished with..20160712_194517.jpgthis cute little jar of chocolate custard with blueberries, salted almonds and mint on top! It was light and just the right size to finish off the meal. It also made the overly sweet wine drinkable

Gravy -2 Sitti – 2



Sitti was voted as the overall winner (pretty sure it was mostly because of the drool-worthy lamb) and I voted the event as a really awesome date night!