Schedule Shifts & WW Classes

Happy (almost) April everyone! I’m currently blogging from sunny Daytona Beach, Florida with temperatures recently around mid to upper 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather is turning absolutely beautiful, sunny, and warm and there is only one month of the spring semester left before finals and graduation!

I am so excited to graduate and I am hoping April flies by! My schedule has been shifting a lot lately as I am finishing up some of my obligations and will hopefully have more time to spend working out and putting more energy towards my senior design class. More free time means more gym days, ROTC events, and study time! Major shifts in my schedule have been due to my ERAU Worldwide (WW) class finishing up! Not many people are aware, but you are able to take both in-person and Worldwide classes at the same time. This past semester was my first experience both learning about this opportunity, and taking a solely online course through ERAU-WW. Experiencing an intentional online course, voice my limited experience with courses that transitioned to online and hybrid versions during the pandemic, went very well! Be sure to check with your advisor if you choose to take WW courses.

Some recent Air Force ROTC patches I picked up!

WW classes typically require the same amount of coursework as normal classes, and have a greater emphasis on various papers, essays, and Discussion Posts via Canvas, the online platform all classes at ERAU use to facilitate syllabi and assignment deadlines. My first WW class was a 3-credit hour course I opted to take as an upper level humanities elective, SOCI-300 Marriage and Family. I was surprised how well the course was facilitated virtually and the communication with the professor was more accessible, clear, and frequent than some of my experiences with in-person teachers! A ‘pro’ or general positive aspect of WW classes is that the semester length varies slightly from the regular in-person semester schedule. Thus, my WW class has officially concluded and my grade is finalized and ready for my end of semester grade report!

In my free time you will usually find me on the StairMaster machine at the gym, it’s my current favorite and I’m looking forward to the NEW fitness center being built as well!

Another aspect of my schedule changing mid-semester, that is enabling me to have more free time, is my Peer Mentor workload in University 101 winding down! Typically the busiest time of the year for both UNIV 101 students and Peer Mentors is during the preparation of Academic Study Plans. However, since those assignments have been turned-in, my Office Hours time commitment has greatly decreased and the entire UNIV 101 class will be finishing up completely in one week! I am so grateful my schedule is opening up just in time for final projects and lab reports to pick up their pace. I am eagerly awaiting the end of the semester! Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

Carly’s Adventures at Flight School: Commercial Checkride Prep as a Passenger

We’re soarin’, flyin’…

So, on Sunday, March 20, I ended up going flying again, this time just with my friend Chris. The last time I’d stepped foot in a Cessna was in December, when I went flying with both Chris and our other friend Jack.

Me and Chris!

Chris has his commercial checkride coming up, and he wanted to practice for it. The commercial certificate is the third certificate that you work on at Embry-Riddle (after private and instrument). At ERAU, the private pilot certificate and instrument rating checkrides are done in-house or with an ERAU employee authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). However, the commercial checkride is with a FAA representative.

I’d never gotten past private pilot lessons, so it was interesting seeing some of the differences. The commercial pilot certificate allows the holder to legally get paid for flying, while the private pilot certificate only allows the holder to fly. I’ve heard that doing commercial is similar to private, just a little harder- for example, the tolerances are smaller.

The flight was pretty fun. Before any sort of checkride, you practice and learn maneuvers to do with an instructor, and then demonstrate them on the checkride. Just because you don’t have the license doesn’t mean that you can’t do the maneuvers. Since Chris had already passed his private pilot’s license, he could legally take me flying- as long as I didn’t pay more than my pro-rata, or equal part cost of the flight.

Some of the commercial maneuvers that Chris did were similar to ones that I did in my brief period of flight training or have heard about. For example, we did steep turns at a 50 degree angle, where private pilots only needed to do them at a 45 degree angle.

Steep turns! I don’t remember what the bank angle was here, but it seems pretty steep.

I experienced a little bit of steep turns during my training, and I always thought that it was cool. During a steep turn, you feel twice the force of gravity- an increased load factor- and it’s kind of like being on a roller coaster. It’s a little scarier than being being on a roller coaster since you’re not attached to a track, but I trust my friends.

A few of the other maneuvers that were practiced were power on and power off stalls. I’d experienced these in private pilot training, and every time it happens, the stall warning horn goes off. It’s kind of an annoying sound, but it’s definitely necessary. In the real world, power on stalls are more likely to happen when the aircraft takes off, and power off stalls are more likely to happen when the aircraft lands.

I enjoyed the flight. We ended up in the south practice area, and since Florida is flat, we could see for miles. The last things that we did were practice takeoffs and landings- two very important parts of every flight.

We did a few touch-and-gos at the Massey airport, which is several miles south of Daytona. A touch-and-go landing is just what it sounds like- landing and taking off without coming to a full stop. (It’s also the name of one of ERAU’s Student Government Organization divisions!)

Once we were done, we headed back to Daytona to do a few more. Daytona Beach International has a lot more activity than the Massey airport does, including airlines. We ended up doing one touch-and-go on Runway 7R (not the large one- there was an American Airlines flight coming in that used that!) before finally landing on it. And that was it for the day.

Final approach to 7R!

It was a pretty cool experience. That’s one thing that I love about ERAU- there are pilots everywhere, and you’re likely to meet a friendly one who’s willing to take you up on a flight. ERAU also has the option for students to ride in the backseat of their aircraft if the student, instructor, and flight department all agree. That’s something I want to do- hopefully I’ll get to sit in the backseat of one of our multi-engine aircraft, the Diamond DA-42. I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!

Beach Days & Service Dress

Happy almost April everyone! I’m currently blogging post Spring Break and ready for the end of the semester! We’re  approximately a month away!

One of the main reasons the culture at ERAU is so unique is because of the fairly small student population (relative to larger state schools) and the work ethic culture! For example, it’s the Monday post Spring Break and classes were back in full swing today! On my way to my early morning classes the atriums of the the college buildings were full of students studying, doing homework, and last minute preparing (aka cramming) for various tests, quizzes, and presentations.

If I hadn’t taken a break for a week I almost wouldn’t have thought no classes had occurred the past week! Even the gym was back in full swing! It was almost as if campus had literally pressed Pause, then Play like a movie, everything completely picked back up where it left off, even teachers and classes! I was surprised to say the least that there was not more of an easing back into the grind and business of everyday life. I suppose rigor is expected in senior level Aerospace Engineering classes, but mentally I was still on weekend mode this Monday morning.

Nevertheless, my staycation Spring Break was exactly what I needed. I spent most days catching up on homework, lab reports, papers, and studying, and even had the opportunity to get in a few beach days!

Relaxing beach day over Spring Break!

Thankfully the fitness center was also fairly empty, so I leisurely enjoyed waking up without an alarm and taking my time during workouts! It was truly a restful and well needed break and I am excited for the final push towards finals!

Post-StairMaster workout at the fitness center over the break!

Additionally, I had another exciting life event happen over Spring Break! I got the chance to zoom up to Patrick Space Force Base to buy my Service Dress uniforms for my commissioning ceremony. Commissioning occurs after graduation and officially marks the transition from Cadet life in Air Force ROTC to life as an Active Duty Officer in the U.S. Air Force. While I can definitely say after 5 years of working towards my undergraduate degree I am ready to graduate, I am 1000x more excited to commission and start my career serving my country. My post-graduation plans include a masters degree at the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio. I’m ready to spring into the next chapter of my education career, and my adult life. Keep on keeping on folks! Will report back soon with life updates and more!

Accepted Student Receptions as an ERAU Representative

POV: you’re me at an accepted student reception watching the presentation

I just attended three admitted student receptions: March 14 in Edison, NJ, March 15 in Long Island, NY, and March 16 in Hartford, CT!

I’m a Women’s Ambassador on campus, and part of my job is attending accepted student receptions in the spring. It’s one of my favorite things to do. These are the first three receptions, and I had a lot of fun- I’m excited for the San Francisco and Seattle ones!

My flight left Daytona Beach bright and early at 6 AM on Monday, so I had to be up and at the airport by 5. I connected in Atlanta before going to the New York LaGuardia airport, and I ended up sleeping a bit on both flights since I was pretty tired. When we flew into LaGuardia, I had a window seat and we flew right around the city:

Flying into LGA!

It was a really pretty view. Upon arrival at LGA, I took an Uber over to my hotel, which was only a few blocks away from Times Square. Once I got my room key, I was free to do whatever I wanted until about 2, when we would begin heading over to the accepted student reception in Edison, NJ.

I ended up walking around Times Square for that time, looking at a few of the shops. I didn’t end up buying anything, but they had the largest Forever 21 store I’d ever seen. I ended up getting a slice of pizza in the area, and New York pizza is great. It’s very tasty and it’s also usually pretty cheap!

A bit before 2, I ended up going back to the hotel, charging my phone, and changing into my more professional-looking outfit. I met the two admissions representatives and we walked down several blocks to the train, which we took to the Newark, NJ airport. We ended up taking the airport train to the rental car area, and I saw several airlines while we passed through.

From there, we grabbed the rental car and drove to Edison, NJ, for the reception. It was at a Seasons 52 restaurant near a mall. Since we were a couple of hours early, the three of us ended up walking around the mall. Again, I didn’t end up buying anything, and we ended up leaving around 5 to set up.

The accepted student receptions are really fun. The admissions representatives give their presentation, and then they allow the families to ask questions. Following that, the presentation ends, and we all walk around and answer individual questions. I mostly answer student life questions, but I’ve also been known to answer a few admissions and academics-related questions

From there, we headed back to the hotel, where I got a pretty good view of the city’s skyline.

NYC skyline on the way back!

Tuesday’s reception was in Long Island, and we ended up moving to a hotel near the LaGuardia airport. I did some homework and caught up with a few of my friends over break before we drove to the next reception- the Long Island reception, where the process repeated.

Finally, on Wednesday, we drove over to Hartford, CT, for the final reception. Since the Hartford hotel was near Bradley International Airport (BDL), where I flew out of on Thursday, there wasn’t a big city area to explore. I ended up the same thing I’d done the other day- calling friends and catching up on homework.

The final admitted student reception was slightly smaller than the first two. I was really excited to see everyone- most of the people who’d registered had shown up, and the receptions were full.

Throughout all three of the nights, I also had the opportunity to help out with the presentation. Part of it discusses the clubs and organizations Embry-Riddle has, and since I’m involved with several, I talked about my experience in the clubs.

Overall, I had a lot of fun. The admitted student receptions are free to attend and come with free food! They’re on various days of the week- usually 6:30 to 8:30 PM on a weeknight, or 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM on a weekend. The three I just attended were on weekdays, but I will also be attending the San Francisco and Seattle receptions, and the San Francisco one is on a Sunday.

Thursday morning I flew back to Daytona Beach. The flight leaving for New York left at 6 AM, and the flight I had from Hartford left around 10:40, which was (in my opinion) a much better time. I ended up being at the airport early and watched some of the other aircraft take off and land. I also happened to spot the JetBlue Blue Bravest livery, which is painted red in honor of the New York City fire department.

I had a 30-minute connection in Atlanta, but I ended up getting really lucky. The flight from Hartford arrived at gate A1 and the flight to Daytona departed from gate A2, so it was only a 20-foot walk. I made it onto the Daytona Beach flight with plenty of time to spare, and like always, it was a short one-hour flight.

I was on the right side of the plane, which meant that I ended up seeing Riddle go by as the aircraft landed. It was a welcome end to a nice spring break trip, and now I have three full days of break left before classes resume on Monday. I’m excited for next week- that’s not only Blue and Gold Week, but Preview Day is also that Saturday. And then it’s only a few more weeks until the other two accepted student receptions! Hopefully I’ll see you there- either at Preview Day, Seattle, San Francisco, or at Riddle in the fall!

Semester Burnout & Spring Break

Happy March everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, we’re right around the half way mark of the Spring 2022 semester, and burnout is real! Maybe it’s a case of the ‘senior-itis’ talking, the same challenging, busy, yet monotonous routine, or literal fatigue, but I’m tired and in need of a break – Spring Break!

Due to many current world events, including COVID-19 travel restrictions, additional quarantine rules and regulations, and the current state of affairs in the Ukraine, traveling out of country was not an option for me this year. In the past my ‘normal’ spring breaks included Paris, France, Playa el Tunco, El Salvador, and Key West, Florida, but this year we’re trying on the concept of a stay-cation! Sans for Spring 2021 where Spring Break was canceled due to the pandemic, I’ve loved enjoying traveling for my breaks. However, as this is my last year as an undergraduate student, and my last ERAU semester before graduation, I’m spending my break in a typical rigorous student fashion – working Resident Advisor (RA) duty days, studying, doing homework, working out, and trying to make it to the beach as much as possible.

Thus, I am here to provide my top 3 tips to avoid burnout, even on a ‘staycation’ version of spring break!

My staycation includes visits from frog visitors on the window!

Tip #1: Do nothing! As someone who is dedicated to a routine and daily schedule, with an avid calendar and list addiction, I am actively planning to schedule in time to do nothing! This may seem counter-intuitive, but I am highly influenced by the ‘work culture’ of a college engineering lifestyle, thus scheduling time to do nothing is absolutely necessary. Your version of ‘nothing time’ could include, laying on a beach, napping, watching Netflix, doing a puzzle, or going for a walk.

Tip #2: Self care! Catch up on sleep, hydrate, check up on your mental health, get sunshine, moisturize! My favorite day-off self care includes a slow morning waking up without an alarm, doing yoga, making coffee, and eating a delicious breakfast. Depending on the weather, a beach day for me is ideal-self care.

Recent self-care blue sky beach day!

Tip #3: (MOST IMPORTANT) Recharge! Often as a student, particularly in engineering but truly applicable to any rigorous major, our brains are constantly ‘on’. Analyzing mathematics, physics, complex conceptual problems, studying, doing homework, or even actively paying attention in class all require brain power. Your brain actively functions just like your muscles do, hence – it also requires rest! Many of you have heard of ‘mind-numbing’ TV shows, in a similar fashion I recommend doing any activity that rests your brain. One of my go-to activities for rest is sleep, but I also love meditation, reading, or listening to music while doing chores such as laundry, cleaning my room, or doing dishes.

I hope these simple, yet effective tips help you as much as they help me! Scheduling time to rest is an underrated event! I hope everyone enjoys their Spring Break, keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

Day Trip to the Kennedy Space Center

The Eagles have landed… at KSC!

Here at ERAU, before the pandemic happened, there used to be an annual spring trip to Kennedy Space Center with the Honors Program. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one in Spring 2021, but we did get a trip this year! Tickets were $15, which is pretty discounted from the regular admission price. The Honors Program also made sure that everyone had a ride and reimbursed the drivers for gas money.

I had never been to Kennedy Space Center before, but I’ve always wanted to go. So naturally, I took the opportunity the moment I heard about it, and I was not disappointed.

I ended up in a group of about 11 people, and the first thing we did was the bus tour over to the Apollo/Saturn V center. The way they have all of the exhibits set up is the same- you’ll watch an introductory video (or a few) before being able to look around at the complete exhibits.

I like the approach- it gives background information to the exhibit. After watching the first video, everyone moved over to the next room- the Apollo 8 firing room, where we watched a video about Apollo 8. The consoles in the picture are the actual ones that the mission controllers of Apollo 8 used.

Apollo 8 firing room!

That was breathtaking.

After that, we entered the main part of the exhibit. The bus tours came and went every fifteen minutes or so, which meant that we could stay as long as we liked. There was a well-lit Saturn V rocket, and walking around it really made you realize just how big it is. It’s over three hundred feet long, but you don’t really realize how tall “three hundred feet” is until you’re standing below it and walking the length.

The Apollo/Saturn V complex was pretty breathtaking. There was also a memorial dedicated to the Apollo 1 astronauts and a room with lots of authentic Apollo-era artifacts. One of my favorites was a spacesuit worn by Alan Shepard, and you could see actual moon dust on it.

After the Apollo/Saturn V exhibit, our group went over to the main area to get lunch. After that, we decided to walk back over to the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, where we’d started for the day. Some of the people in our group had been to Kennedy Space Center before and suggested we do the bus tour before lines got long, which is why we were kind of running all over the park.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit was awesome! It had the same sort of informational setup as the Apollo/Saturn V, but I’d argue that the Atlantis one was even cooler. At the end of the last Atlantis presentation, the projector screen rolled back up, revealing the shuttle and main exhibit behind it.

Space Shuttle Atlantis!

The Space Shuttles are massive, but they seem even bigger in person! After that, our group looked around and found the slide, which was at a 22-degree angle, which was the same angle of descent that the astronauts of the Space Shuttle felt. In contrast, on a commercial airliner, you’ll be in about a 3-degree angle of descent.

The slide was pretty epic, but it was nothing compared to the Shuttle Launch Experience, which was also free! It was like an indoor roller coaster without a track, and it was a simulation of what the astronauts on the Space Shuttle felt when they launched. Everything had to be stored in a locker, but those were also provided for free.

The last exhibits we visited were the Mars exhibits. They were pretty cool and had life-size models of the various Mars rovers- Curiosity is larger than I thought it was! The Mars exhibits weren’t as in-depth as the Space Shuttle and Apollo/Saturn V ones, but it was still cool to look around.

Finally, we visited the gift shop. Even though I didn’t buy anything, it was fun to look around at what they had. By that time, it was around 3:30, and most of us were ready to go back to Daytona since we left Embry-Riddle around 7:30 AM. We took one last stroll through the rocket garden before we decided to go back, leaving around 3:50.

Luckily, since we were so early, we were able to get really good parking, which meant a shorter walk back. Once the trip back to Daytona was over, we ended up going back to the parking lot. It was fun- I’m glad I went. If the Honors Program decides to go back next year, I’ll also go back with them. I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle on a future trip!

Me and the Saturn V!

PT Test & Post-Undergrad Plans

Hi everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, pre-spring break and almost half way through the semester! Recent life updates: I had my first PT test of the semester! A tell-tale sign of giving it your all on the 1 minute of push-ups, 1 minute of sit-ups, and 1.5 mile run is muscle fatigue, ergo being tired or sore after! I did fairly well on my PT test and I have about a month until my commissioning qualifying PT test, where I hope to hit a personal record for pushups, max sit-ups, and PR on my run as well. March is grind time! Amping up cardio and continuing lifting at the gym, in addition to more sustainable ‘active’ rest activities such as yoga and walking! Furthermore, my love of the stair master machine is continuing.

Current post-stairmaster workout pic at the on campus gym!

In addition to focusing on my physical health in preparation for my final PT test before graduating and commissioning at the end of the semester, I’m also trying to ramp up my rest! Over spring break I ended up having RA duty, so I will unfortunately not be able to leave campus on those days, and thus the general Daytona Beach area. However, I am hoping to continue working out, focusing in the gym on lifting and indoor cardio on the various machines including the stairmaster, treadmill, elliptical, bike machine, or the assault bike. Additionally as the weather improves for spring (early summer) in Florida, I’m looking forward to more outdoor workouts too! I am trying to make it to the beach at least once weekly for an hour or two to surf, read, and catch some sun rays. I am also trying to prioritize daily stretching and I have a goal to catch up on sleep over spring break too!

Most recent beach excursion and beach read!

In other news, I’ve (conditionally) solidified my future! I’ve officially been categorized as academically eligible (granted that I get above a 3.0 GPA this semester and stay on track to graduate in May 2022) for the Operations Research Master of Science degree program at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). While I am excited about the opportunity to get my masters degree out of the way early in my career, I am not thrilled about the location in Dayton, Ohio, especially compared to the sunshine and good weather of Daytona Beach, FL. However, the program is only 1.5 years and I will hopefully be able to explore different job opportunities at other Air Force bases post-masters degree graduation. 

I do not currently know a lot about my career field, despite many deep-dive Google research. Upon graduation I will be classified as a 15A – Operations Research Analyst. From my current understanding Operations Research Analysts mostly focus on how to make the Air Force more efficient, potentially looking at resource allocation, big picture planning, or more specific projects, using data analysis to back up recommendations. Regardless of what the elusive future holds for my career, I am excited – as well as excited to graduate. Almost half way through the semester folks, keep on keeping on! Will report back soon!

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Workshop: Year 2!

Another year, another successful event!

On Saturday, February 26, the Embry-Riddle Society of Women Engineers’ (SWE) Introduce a Girl to Engineering Workshop (IGEW) Committee hosted our annual IGEW event!

The IGEW logo.

I’ve been on the IGEW committee since October 2020, or the fall of my freshman year. New SWE members are given the opportunity to join one of SWE’s committees via the Committee Ambassador positions, and I was selected last year for the IGEW Committee Ambassador. In April 2021, I was elected back to the committee and we began work for IGEW 2022, which just happened.

The goal of the IGEW committee is pretty self-explanatory- we want to introduce more girls into the field of engineering. To do this, we host the annual IGEW event on a Saturday in mid-to-late February. It’s also free and open to any third through fifth grade in Volusia County. Each elected committee member develops a fun module that demonstrates engineering concepts to the girls and teaches them about engineering.

This year, I designed the Airplane Module, which aimed to teach the basics of aerodynamics. In my module, the girls would first be taught background information and then receive three pieces of construction paper. The paper would be used to create a vastly different airplane design. From there, they could experiment with the airplanes- potentially add tape or stickers to increase weight, throw them harder or softer to change the thrust, and modify the designs to change the lift.

IGEW is a big event, and usually in-person, but for the past two years, it was unfortunately held virtually due to the pandemic. Each module was packed and placed in a tote bag that the IGEW participants could pick up. The event happened on the same day as bag pick-up, so the committee was busy running the station for bag pick-up, which happened behind the student union.

Bag pick-up!

In the bag, there were written module instructions and plenty of other goodies. Each participant got a personalized certificate, T-shirt, lanyard, and a bubble pop toy. On the IGEW website, we posted instructional videos to go along with the modules. There are also videos from guest speakers, including a few ERAU employees. As a final supplement to the event, a few STEM resources were shared.

The event is a lot of work, but we also get pictures sent in from the participants which makes all the work worth it. IGEW is a great yearly project and I’m glad that I got involved early. This year’s turnout was higher than last, and I’m hoping that IGEW 2023 will be in-person.

If you’re an accepted, prospective, or committed student, I highly suggest that you get involved when you’re on campus! SWE is just one of the many (over 200!) registered student organizations on campus. If not a club, maybe an intramural sports team might be more to your liking, or you could join the Student Government Association. I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully in some organizations at Riddle!

Restaurants & Grocery Best List!

Happy late February everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, FL, the weather is getting hotter and there’s only eleven weeks until graduation!

I am hoping this week I will find out my base assignment and my estimated arrival date for when I am supposed to go to my base post graduation and commissioning. In the mean time, however, I’ve been reflecting on all my favorite spots in Daytona that I’ve come to know and appreciate over the years. Since it is my last semester, it’s time to go over my Best List for must see/do/experience food related while at ERAU-Daytona Beach!

First on the list is Tia Cori’s Tacos! A must visit if you like Mexican food! Chips and salsa is probably one of my favorite meals (does that count as a meal?), and Tia Cori’s is the best quality for the lowest price.

Next on the list is Smoothie King for their $5 medium smoothies on Fridays! Friday is typically my run day, and my favorite post-run activity, especially when the weather is hot as it usually is in Florida spring, is to get a cold smoothie! I love smoothies, and they’re so refreshing and for $5 you can’t beat it!

Another budget friendly idea for a group of friends is lunch at Sushi King! Sushi King has daily lunch specials and all you can eat sushi! I recommend going with a large group so you are able to order a lot and try different rolls without the pressure to eat them all yourself. A favorite if you’re particularly hungry, a bonus is that the sushi arrangements are always very pretty too!

Up next is my favorite pho place! Phở Saigon is located right across the bridge if you’re heading towards the beach, and their soup and fresh spring rolls are so yummy! If I’m ever feeling a bit under the weather I always order take-out. Pho broth is super nutritious! Soup is also my favorite go-to for rainy days or cozy evenings.

In terms of yummy lunch/dinner options another fun spot to try is Evolve Modern Vegan Kitchen on Seabreeze. Evolve is the ultimate vegan comfort food and is one of my favorite post-PT test indulgences! If you’re looking for a healthier vegan option though – Kale Cafe is delicious, vegan, and great post beach day-vibes.

Local favorites would not be complete without breakfast/brunch and coffee at Cinnamon Tree Cafe! Cinnamon Tree serves a variety of sweet and savory crepes, giant pancakes (the cinnamon roll one is the best to share with friends), and my personal favorite – croissant breakfast sandwiches! They also have amazing iced coffee. If you’re in the mood for something savory be sure to order their homemade blueberry hot sauce on the side too, you won’t be disappointed!

A breakfast classic of Daytona Beach is Steve’s Diner. Steve’s is your typical, super budget friendly, home style diner, and has the best diner coffee in town. Breakfast is my favorite meal, and Steve’s is a consistent classic that never disappoints!

My top grocery store picks are as follows:

Perrine’s Produce – They offer the best priced, freshest, and local fruits and veggies! They also have an ‘ugly’ produce section for cheaper prices! Additionally, Perrine’s sells bulk nuts, seeds, and dried fruits and veggies. Their coffee section, and spices are the way to go too!

Love Whole Foods Cafe & Market – While Love’s is an amazing, amazing place, they are a bit on the pricier side. I highly recommend visiting for the experience though and checking out their super delicious chocolate section. They also offer a wide variety of fresh mushrooms that are gorgeous! Love’s is the fresh, Whole Foods, earthy crunchy vibe that I love, and visiting always puts me in a good mood! They have the best vibe, particularly if you’re wanting a treat yourself experience. Love’s is my recently discovered local favorite!

Yummy chocolate from Love’s!

Publix – sale items, general packaged grocery items, and all else that you wouldn’t typically buy specialty. My grocery shopping usually includes Perrine’s for fresh produce, Love’s for specialty items, and Publix for all else. Publix also has fresh ground nut butters which are great, and $5 fresh made sushi rolls on Wednesdays!

Recent sale buy from Publix for a fun snack option during the week!

I hope this list helped give you some local breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas, along with fun grocery shopping experiences to try out! Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

Long Weekend and the Daytona 500

I was today years old when I learned that airplanes can reverse.

Every February, the Daytona 500 happens and there’s a massive crowd rushing in for race weekend. I’ve never been a fan of the races, but I do like airplanes. And each year when the race crowds come in, so do the Thunderbirds!

It’s President’s Day weekend, which means a long weekend. Friday afternoon got off to a good start- the Thunderbirds were supposed to arrive, but they ran into a few difficulties. However, one C-17 arrived, and the Aviation Maintenance Science balcony was full of students.

It was three hours late (or maybe my friends and I were three hours early!), which meant that I could do a little homework on the tables on the balcony. I ended up working ahead in a nice shady spot, taking a few breaks to watch the daily Delta and American flights take off and land. They come and go every few hours, so I saw a few of them.

The C-17 arrived around sunset, which led to this pretty picture:

The C-17 lands on 25R here at KDAB.

At the time, rumors were circulating on if the Thunderbirds were arriving on Friday or Saturday. Most people decided to stick around for another hour or so, including me. Everyone on the balcony watched the C-17 as it ended up reversing onto a taxiway, which is something that I had never seen before. It was super cool- you could see the waves from the engine as it slowly reversed back onto a taxiway.

Well, on Friday I learned that airplanes could reverse. You learn something new every day, right?

The Thunderbirds ended up showing on Saturday at 2:30. Chris and I went to watch them arrive, and they ended up doing a loop around before actually landing.

Since it was a weekend, the Aviation Maintenance Science building was locked and the balcony was inaccessible. Chris and I had been tracking the Thunderbirds on FlightRadar24 to ensure that they were actually coming to Daytona, and indeed, they were. Luckily, Chris and I both have cars so we found a spot along the runway and ended up parking there. We’d timed it just right so that we didn’t have to wait too long.

Thunderbird flyover!

However, the Daytona 500 (and Thunderbird mini-airshow) didn’t actually start until Sunday at 3. So after we watched them land, Chris and I hung out for a bit before going our separate ways. I ended up working on some of my Solid Mechanics homework, where we’re learning about torsion. I find it interesting since it’s a concept that can also be applied to engineering structures.

Sunday was fun. Chris picked me up and we went Thunderbird-watching at a pretty spot across from campus. Every year, the Thunderbirds fly over the Daytona 500 stadium when the national anthem is sung. After that, they’ll circle around a few times before landing.

The Thunderbirds took off from 7L, which was the opposite end that we were on. It wasn’t instantaneous; we ended up waiting around for almost half of an hour before they came back. I liked our spot- they ended up flying almost directly over us when the race started. After that, we watched them fly off into the distance before they came back several minutes later. That was pretty epic- they were landing on 25R, which was the end of the runway we were on.

The Thunderbirds ended up flying over the runway and then went around and into the traffic pattern one by one. All six of them landed about twenty minutes later right in front of us, which was pretty epic to watch. And boy, were they loud.

Me and Chris! The picture was taken after the Thunderbirds had taken off and we were waiting for them to come back.

Overall, it was definitely a well-deserved and fun long weekend. I did a bunch of homework for the week, did one round of Carpool Karaoke on Saturday night, and went to a birthday party on Sunday night. Monday was super quiet- I didn’t do much besides homework and hang out with my friends.

Classes resume on February 22, 2022- which is a Tuesday (or maybe we should call it a 2s Day!). It’ll be good to get back to my classes on a shorter week. I had two exams last week and have two more this week, so the President’s Day weekend was a good time to study while also taking time to myself. It’s important to have a good school-life balance.

I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!

One of the Thunderbirds landing on 25R… right in front of ERAU!