Making Adventures in Memphis, Pt. 1

For my senior year of undergrad, I joined my professional fraternity’s (Phi Epsilon Kappa) research team. We studied Kinesio Tape and its effect on force output. In layman’s terms we were curious if KT Tape had any effect on one’s sport performance. This whole process lasted all of fall semester and most of spring semester. In the fall, our main focus was working on our IRB and abstract. The IRB is basically a document that describes our hypothesis, our experimental design, and our participant group. The abstract is a more succinct version of the IRB and was required to submit in order to present at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research. Our IRB was approved during winter break and our abstract was accepted by NCUR the beginning of spring semester. Long story short, we tested a total of 24 participants (12 male, 12 female), in three conditions: 1) No KT tape, 2) KT applied for facilitation, and 3) KT applied for inhibition. With the help of our research advisor, we analyzed our data using statistical analyses and found that in terms of muscle recruitment, KT Tape has no effect on force output. We suspected this in the beginning since there isn’t really a lot of research on this topic. Now we can share our findings with our peers and colleagues in Memphis!

Our research trip to Memphis is 5 days long: two of those days will be designated for the actual research conference and the remaining three days will be for exploring. I was quite excited to prepare for this trip since I am slightly obsessed with traveling. Admittedly, I was just excited to finally follow one of the many packing lists I have pinned on my Pinterest board! ^_^ Since I did the Project333 minimalist fashion challenge, packing for this trip was actually quite simple.

Day 1: Traveling to Memphis, TN

We flew out of Sacramento to Houston, then got on a connecting flight to Memphis. We were basically traveling the whole day since we had to drive up to Sacrament from Stockton (45 minutes). The flight from Sacramento to Houston took around 3.5 hours, but with the time change to Central Time, the flight felt longer. Something really interesting (that might not be the most accurate word lol) happened on this flight. I won’t go into too much detail (as it will be a chapter of my Brown Gal Chronicles), but it does involve racial generalizations.

Flying from Houston to Memphis took an hour and ten minutes, so it was shorter. This flight had a lot of turbulence, apparently remnants of the storms that Atlanta experienced that day. Other than the turbulence, this flight was pretty uneventful- I was able to fill out my reimbursement forms and get a little bit of sleep.

Day 2: Settling In- NCUR & Midtown

Once we got our stuff settled into the hotel and got a little more sleep, we went to the University of Memphis for NCUR. We checked in and tried to find the place where we would be presenting at the next day. As we walked around the campus, there were two things I noticed. The first was how spread out the campus is. The buildings on UM’s and Memphis, are physically wider and more spaced out than the buildings in California. This did not bode well for my feet and the black flats I wore, but I digress.

After finding our presenting spot, my research team and I went to the campus’s art museum, where they housed mummies. This mini museum is probably one of the coolest museums I’ve visited because it had interactive exhibits about social/cultural normalcy, war propaganda, and an empty white wall adorned with the words “Who Run The World”. Of course this reminded us of Beyonce’s anthem and we had a mini photoshoot!

We decided explore off campus and go to Memphis’s Midtown and find a cafe where we could prep for our presentation. We used Lyft to get to Muddy’s Cafe & Bake Shop (on Young and Cooper) to study. Before deciding on Muddy’s, we also checked out the cafe, Otherlands Coffee Bar, which is a block away. Otherlands is the epitome of hipster cafe meets garden shop, meets bar. Their setup is both eclectic outdoors and indoors, with plants and couches inside and psychedelic murals on the exterior. Since this cafe was somewhat crowded, we decided on studying at Muddy’s. In contrast, Muddy’s is the ultimate charming Southern cafe because of the quaint interior design and rustic country exterior. I would go back for their Chai iced tea, but not to study because their wifi was spotty.

Once we felt ready and prepped for our presentation, we decided to walk South along Cooper St. to find a place to get dinner. As we walked on, I noticed that the locals don’t really get out and walk around, most drive. Due to the lack of cultural diversity and the fact that a group of young women with heavy backpacks, it felt like all eyes were on us as we walked. I could be wrong, we didn’t really see any Hispanic or Asian people apart from the students there for NCUR. For me, this lack of diversity it felt a bit strange because seeing and interacting with people of all different races was normal growing up.


We decided to split ways for dinner: two decided to eat at an Italian restaurant and me and a friend ate dinner at the restaurant, The Beauty Shop. I would describe this restaurant as American cuisine, with a modern culinary twist, in a retro setting. The Beauty Shop is interiorly designed with vintage hair-dryer chairs and glass-brick booths. I ordered the Shrimp a la Plancha & Grilled Avocado and the Belgian Style Fries with the Truffle black pepper Parmesan. It was good, but not very filling since the shrimp was basically an appetizer. I was careful in choosing a dish that wasn’t pricey, but in hindsight, I should have chosen another dish because I would get reimbursed for it anyway.

I’ll pause the trip recap here, because if I go any further this post will probably be 2,000 words long.  From just my first two days in Memphis, I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the locals are. Every local I encountered was very welcoming, friendly, and approachable. You may be thinking “but Sam, you’re from California, aren’t Californians the nicest people?!” To that, I say we may be nice, but we’re not Memphis-nice…

Peace, love, & blessings,




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Travel Enthusiast. Avid Runner. Baking Fanatic

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