Sep 26, 2014

caffeinated coffee

I cut almost all caffeine out of my diet in December of 2010. I'd been drinking tea since I was old enough to hold a cup and caffeine literally had no effect on me anymore. I figured that once I was in college, I would need caffeine boosts to stay awake for the promised all-nighters. My solution was to switch to decaf so that when needed, my cup of tea would actually do it's job.

I had a week-long headache. I was moody and sleepy and in pain. Can you say caffeine withdrawals?

It sucked.

But then, it was fine. I learned to like decaf (and now I prefer it), and it didn't affect my sleep schedule.

It was fine for a couple years. Then, I tried to use the caffeine to get a boost. Basically, what happened is that it kicked in with full force and I got REALLY hyper, twitchy, and generally jittery. It was terrible. Also, I've discovered that if I drink any caffeine - even soda - after two in the afternoon, I can't get to sleep before midnight. I've definitely had a Dr. Pepper with dinner and ended up being awake until about four in the morning.

This post is brought to you by a very caffeinated Cassidy. This feeling sucks. Oh my gosh.

Sep 22, 2014

let's talk about capstone: basics

So quick recap - I'm a business major. Finance and accounting. I love them both when they're taught properly (read: I'm falling back in love with finance and generally happier with my classes this semester). At TAMUCC, business majors have this class that is fondly (lol) referred to as "capstone". It's a management class technically, but it combines everything we learned in business core classes. It's a huge, semester-long group project. There are five people in my group - four girls and one guy. I'll say right off the bat that I had my doubts. The guy and I have been friends (or classmates, at least) since I started college, and we were dead set on being in the same capstone group. One of the ladies in the group, I had in a different group project (the first group I ever really liked, actually), so when we found out we were in the same class again, we agreed to join forces. Now we had three out of six (at the time). The other two ladies joined the group, and we were able to be the one group in the class with five people.
I'm pretty comfortable with the group we have. We all seem to get along pretty well, and we laugh and panic and have inside jokes about falling off cliffs and jumping out of windows. We're only a little bit of the way in to the semester, but our first presentation is tomorrow (ack!) and I think we'll survive.

It starts with Macro Environment analysis - so everything outside of the industry. Demographics, political/legal, sociocultural, technological... things I'm forgetting. It's basically the big picture. From there, we look at the firms we choose to put in our industry. We hit a snag here because we put firms in the industry that didn't belong there, which left us scrambling tonight to fix it. There was also another little hiccup because we looked at the 10-Ks from 2013 instead of 2014 (which gives you 2013 data... as opposed to 2012 data from the 2013 10-Ks). Anyway, all that is fixed now, so it's just putting the powerpoint together and actually figuring out what we're going to say. That'll happen tomorrow morning. The stress will be over in about 14 hours. (Still definitely wanting to panic...)

I planned to write a little more on the actual process of this, but it's late and I'm sleepy. I'll write another post with the things we need to fix after the presentation.

82 days until graduation.

Sep 13, 2014

one step closer

I applied for graduation today. On December 13, 2014, at a time TBA, I'll walk across the stage and graduate with an undergraduate degree in Finance and Accounting. That is exactly 13 weeks from today.

Am I excited? Oh, yes.
Am I terrified? Absolutely.
Do I know exactly what I'm doing next? Of course not.

All I know at this point is that it's happening, and fast.

Next up is (I think) ordering a cap and gown, taking the pictures for and making my graduation announcements/invitations, taking the GMAT, applying for grad school, trying not to go crazy...

The point of this post is just to document the 13-week mark and to warn you that I'll have lots of graduating college / getting into grad school stuff.

book review: covert affairs

COVERT AFFAIRS by Elizabeth Cage

As some of you may know, I'm a HUGE fan of spy novels. I read mostly YA fiction, so I've got some pretty good choices in that area. This one is the latest one I picked up. Come on, three girls doing Charlie's Angels poses on the front? Yeah, I want in. So the book is set up with three different stories in one - the girls' first three missions. Each of the stories are actually their own book, sold under the series name SPY GIRLS. I had to google it to find them, so keep that in mind. Books 4-6 are sold together as well, under the title COVERT AFFAIRS 2.

Back of the book synopsis:
Spy Rule #1: Never blow your cover.
Spy Rule #2: Never get caught.
Spy Rule #3: Never, ever fall for the guy.
Jo, Caylin, and Theresa were just average girls until they were chosen by a top-secret organization to be trained as a trio of virtually unspottable spies assigned to protect the world from any and all dangers and disasters. 

Training might’ve been a cinch, but the girls have no idea what’s in store when they have real missions in the field.
Infiltrating the American embassy in London to prevent an assassination, tracking down a missing ballerina in Eastern Europe, taking down a techno-terrorist group in Seattle - the adventures never stop.
When everything is at stake, Jo, Caylin, and Theresa must be sure to make the right choices. But even with all of their gadgets, training, and teamwork, some obstacles are just too much to handle. And sometimes love can be the biggest obstacle of all.

(Literally, I copied that from the back of the book. All the stuff in italics... it's not mine.)

Overall, I liked the book. It was easy to read - it's about two inches thick but the words are in a larger font as well. I WILL read the second one.

This is the story of Caylin, Jo, and Theresa - three newly minted "Spy Girls" - as they set out to save the world under the care and direction of Uncle Sam, their boss. The POV flips between the three girls, which annoyed me at first but once I got used to it, I actually liked that it allowed the reader to keep up with all three girls in real time.

I don't want to spoil anything, so I'm not going to talk about the plot... which leaves me almost done with this post. If you've read Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series, or Kat Carlson's TWO LIES AND A SPY (and it's sequel), then you'll probably find this book a little harder to believe. I don't mind having to suspend reality for a while, but the girls in this story push that to the edge.

Still - I like the book. It's a fun mix of adventure, girl power, and flirting, along with friendship and saving the world.

(I probably don't need to say this but I bought the book on my own and all of the opinions expressed above are my own.) 

Sep 10, 2014

quick and dirty gluten free: part 1

Also part one of what I'm sure will be my "Cassidy shouldn't be allowed to title blog posts after 8pm" series. Whatever. 

I've said this a million times and I'm sure I'll say it a million more: I'm gluten free. I've been a diagnosed Celiac since just before my 5th birthday, and I'm closing in on 22, which means that for the past 17 years, I've been a gluten free kid.
We've come a long way from Fritos and rice cakes. It's not easy, I know, but I'm going to try to make this a little easier. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I'm going to try to break this down in the easiest way possible, but I recognize that it's a lot of information and also really overwhelming. Please note that I'm by no means an expert in this field. I take care of myself. You should take care of yourself. Consult a doctor. All that jazz. This is just to help people understand the diet and not make the rookie mistakes that I made. Okay? Okay. 

Let's go. 

Step one: Stop eating gluten. 

Okay, okay, I realize that's easier said than done. But really, that's step one. 

First, what IS gluten? Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, and rye. Right away, that means these three very popular grains are off limits. 
Rule out oats too, because they're highly cross contaminated (same fields, same trucks, all that jazz). Note: they do have gluten free oats. Those are fine. 
Also note: there is no such thing as gluten free wheat. That's not a thing. (I haven't ever SEEN that, but you know. Just covering the bases.) 

So, okay, no chewing on wheat stalks. No barley soup or rye bread. 

Wheat goes by other names too, like durum, kamut, semolina, spelt, and triticale... just to name a few.  
Don't get overwhelmed yet. It's okay. 

First, start by opening your cabinet. Any (regular) bread? It probably has wheat. Don't eat it. Same goes for cookies and pasta. 

Now. Take something like waffles, pop tarts, or a box of (regular) rice krispies (the ones in the blue box). Look at the ingredients. In the main ingredients list, you should see "wheat flour". You should also see, at the end of the ingredients list, the bolded phrase "contains: wheat". That automatically means you cannot eat it. Wheat is one of the top 8 allergens, which means companies are legally required to label the products that contain it. 
Fun fact: these three items almost surely contain gluten. They do, however, have gluten free varieties of all three. So there's that silver lining. 

I'm going to do a series of posts that are basically grocery shopping hauls, for lack of a better term. You know how fashion and beauty bloggers do a "what's in my purse"? Well, I'm going to do a "what's in my grocery basket" - along with why I'm eating it and how I found out it was gluten free. I'll use brand names and where I bought it and if it's good. It's not to help companies. It's to help you. 

So okay, we've got the wheat part down (or at least started, which will do for now). So what about oats, barley, and rye? 
READ THE INGREDIENTS. That's the first thing to do. 
If you're still unsure, call the company or google it. Try to stick to their website for accuracy reasons, but if a celiac forum post from the past year says that they contacted the company, you can use your discretion to decide whether or not you want to chance it. 

Sometimes a product will say gluten free and you'll be really happy. I'll talk about that later. 
Sometimes a product will say processed in a facility that also manufactures wheat or something like that. We'll talk about that later, too. 

Right now, your homework is to cut out everything that straight up contains gluten. If you live by yourself, actually throw this stuff out or give it away. Seriously. I don't care if you paid 20 bucks for a package of cookies. If you can't have gluten, and they do, then you can't have those cookies. 
If you don't live by yourself, then make sure everything is labeled. In my house, everything is gluten free UNLESS it's labeled (NOT GF). When we started, we labeled the gluten free stuff and that's what I ate. Some people do colored dots. Some people have different shelves. Do whatever works for you. Just do something. 

jumping right in


It's been a while. I keep getting hung up on a blog layout. "I want it to look PRETTY." I don't know HTML or CSS so first I tried to learn those. I know a little more now, but not even close enough to create a blog or edit a pre made one.
Then I tried looking at Etsy, but I can't decide on what I like.
So I'm just going to type. I'll figure the look out later.

Over the next few posts, I'm going to talk a lot about life, college, and gluten free living. I'll tag everything I post, so if you're here for accounting and nothing else, no worries. I've got pictures from trips that I want to post and books I want to rave about.

I asked one of my absolute best friends what I should call the new blog and he said "brain leak". I though it sounded weird, but it grew on me. We'll see how long I keep it, I guess.

Now I'm either going to go put pants on and go out with some friends, or I'm going to type up the next blog post.