It’s Okay to be Obsessed with Cabbage

FOOD

I do have to say, it’s been non-stop eats of the whole non-processed variety!  Mostly gluten-free too (I have RA, and gluten makes it worse, so I try to avoid whenever possible).  I’m trying to be better about that!

Many of the dishes come from The Happy Herbivore, so I can’t take credit for the creation – just the eating!  As much as I like to design a great dish, I’m finding the demands on my time just don’t allow that as much as I’d like – and then I end up either skipping meals, or diving into wine, hummus, and crackers as an excuse for a meal.  So, largely letting someone else plan the dish, and all I have to do is cook and eat!

this is "chorizo" soup!  I made a huge batch on Sunday, and ate it 4 times through the week.  It's SO good.

this is “chorizo” soup! I made a huge batch on Sunday, and ate it 4 times through the week. It’s SO good.

Korean BBQ Lentils

Korean BBQ Lentils

Deep Dish Eggplant bake with tofu ricotta

Deep Dish Eggplant bake with tofu ricotta

a variation of a broccoli & hummus quesadilla.  Made the filling, but put it on a baked spud and topped with cabbage and hot sauce

a variation of a broccoli & hummus quesadilla. Made the filling, but put it on a baked spud and topped with cabbage and hot sauce

more soup, but loaded with cabbage.  Bit obsessed with that this week - digging the crunch

more soup, but loaded with cabbage. Bit obsessed with that this week – digging the crunch

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this is kale-fredo!  Made with quinoa noodles and thickened with chickpea flour to keep it gluten-free

this is kale-fredo! Made with quinoa noodles and thickened with chickpea flour to keep it gluten-free

Of course, still dig my smoothies!

I can't even recall what all was in this, but that it was super yummy and freakishly filling.

I can’t even recall what all was in this, but that it was super yummy and freakishly filling.

banana split!  I don't use protein powders often, but did yesterday.  Chocolate Vega powder, banana, strawberries, and spinach.

banana split! I don’t use protein powders often, but did yesterday. Chocolate Vega powder, banana, strawberries, and spinach.

And some quick miscellaneous eats too!

I keep a big bag of Bob's Red Mill rolled oats in my office for those days I'm REALLY rushed.  Tossed in some blueberries, and made breakfast at work.

I keep a big bag of Bob’s Red Mill rolled oats in my office for those days I’m REALLY rushed. Tossed in some blueberries, and made breakfast at work.

 

in a hurry due to exams and studying, so this is a simple baked potato topped with greens, hot sauce, and horseradish

in a hurry due to exams and studying, so this is a simple baked potato topped with greens, hot sauce, and horseradish

 

I discovered the joy of the "Steam" button on my Instant pot!  I actually had this unintentional mono-meal two days in a row!  I'm a sucker for a well done sweet potato and carrots :)

I discovered the joy of the “Steam” button on my Instant pot! I actually had this unintentional mono-meal two days in a row! I’m a sucker for a well done sweet potato and carrots 🙂

FITNESS

I pulled a muscle in my neck/shoulder, so I took it easy for a few days.  Once it felt mostly better, I added in some gentle yoga.  Eventually, it was back out for runs in the neighborhood!

LIFE

It’s been a pretty typical week, with an added level of stress due to exams.  I have one more that I hope to have mostly done today.  This one is a paper vs a sit-down timed exam.  But due Saturday, and I’d like to just get it over with!  That means Sunday marks the beginning of my last term before graduation in May!!!  And yes – I’m counting down the time.

Lot’s going on at work and on the professional front as well!

The weekend was really chill – mostly just me an R hanging out.  M worked and D was out having a spa evening on Friday, at a piano bar working on his book on Saturday, and doing all the grocery shopping and errand running on Sunday so I could focus on school stuff.

When R does her peanut flour dose, she has to be totally chill for 2 hours.  She can’t do anything that could elevate her heart rate because that can trigger a reaction.  Her chill of choice is to binge watch Hell’s Kitchen, so that’s what we do!  She totally loves Gordon Ramsey and her goal is to travel and eat at one of his restaurants.

I have the day off today because D has a colonoscopy this afternoon and I’m his designated driver.  Most readers know he has Crohn’s Disease, and this is just a check-up to see how he’s doing.  He has no symptoms of a flare or anything (which is fantastic), but it’s important to monitor every few years.

So, it’s time for me to get back to my paper before heading out to take D to his appointment!

Kuma keeping R company during a Hell's Kitchen episode

Kuma keeping R company during a Hell’s Kitchen episode

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the many naps of Kuma

the many naps of Kuma

Ginny demanding I take a break from my studies

Ginny demanding I take a break from my studies

Gin curled up on R's chair!  This is her special chair for her bass practice, but I think Ginny uses it more

Gin curled up on R’s chair! This is her special chair for her bass practice, but I think Ginny uses it more

bundled up for a cold morning walk!

bundled up for a cold morning walk!

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I got to do the #morningpicture today!!!  Of course that meant brining Kuma too :)

I got to do the #morningpicture today!!! Of course that meant brining Kuma too 🙂

 

Smooth(ie) Operator

FOOD

The best thing about being home is smoothies!  It’s also cool that my study buddy group in class is also hitting the smoothies hard core.

My smoothies!!  (including when I was rushed and picked up a green smoothie at a smoothie shop!)

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I am fully functional again, and all signs of nausea and no appetite have passed!  It did take much longer than I anticipated, but all’s well that end’s well.  Had some good solid food eats too as a result!

broccoli and sweet potato sushi & edamame

broccoli and sweet potato sushi & edamame

grapes!

grapes!

out w D on Friday night.  Sweet potato fries and an amazing veggie burger

out w D on Friday night. Sweet potato fries and an amazing veggie burger

beet & fennel soup

beet & fennel soup

Whole Foods salad bar

Whole Foods salad bar

grape tomatoes is one of my fav snacks

grape tomatoes is one of my fav snacks

sweet and sour tofu stir fry

sweet and sour tofu stir fry

FITNESS

I went to my first hot yoga class in MONTHS this weekend.  It was so perfect.  It was tough, and I may still be a bit sore between the shoulder blades, but I totally needed it.  I love doing yoga at home, but there’s something about the challenge and comradery of a group class with a great instructor!

post class shot!

post class shot!

LIFE

So the big accomplishment of the last week appears to be getting over jet lag!  SO YAY.

Actually, the best part of the past week has been spending time with family.  It’s hard to be motivated to do much else!

The other big news is R starting OIT (oral immuno-therapy) for her peanut allergy.  For those that don’t know, my youngest (13 years old) has a life threatening peanut allergy.  She can’t travel on a plane, can’t eat from a bakery, can’t step foot in many restaurants (like Thai & Chinese), and has to sit at a special “food allergy” table during her lunch breaks at school.

She’s started the OIT treatment program last Thursday – which is essentially eating a very small dose of peanut protein and slowly increasing that dose until you can actually eat the offending food.  To give an idea, 1 small peanut has 250 mg of peanut protein.  R’s current dose is 3mg.  The first 2 days the dosing was done at the doctors office to watch for reactions – and she did have a minor one of a sore throat (it’s how we knew to stop with 3mg.  We had started with 0.1mg).  Since then, it’s at-home dosing for two weeks, then back to the doctor to “updose” and monitor.

day 1!

day 1!

1st dose at home

1st dose at home

All told, the program takes around 8-12 months to reach a point of immunity.  The “medicine” is to eat peanuts (or peanut-containing candy, etc) every day for life to keep that immunity.  It’s a long road, but if successful, will let her lead a normal life where food is no longer something to be afraid of!  I’m so proud of her.  It’s scary as can be to purposefully eat the one thing you know can harm you.  It’s scary as hell to FEED your child something you’ve had her avoid her entire life just to keep her safe.

Aside from that, it’s been all about school since we’re in our exam period!  In fact, I have off today to study with a buddy and knock out the rest of my work by Sunday!

So, here’s some pics to leave you with!

D doing some home repairs in one of our bathrooms!

D doing some home repairs in one of our bathrooms!

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the 90's called.  They want their soda back.

the 90’s called. They want their soda back.

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took Kuma with me to run errands.  A bunch of people came out from the bank drive thru to play with her!

took Kuma with me to run errands. A bunch of people came out from the bank drive thru to play with her!

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right after getting my hair cut, and waiting for D for our massages last weekend!

right after getting my hair cut, and waiting for D for our massages last weekend!

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Misadventures of a Delhi Market Trip

FOOD

I admit to not having many more food pics to share from India.  My second week there I got quite sick with “Delhi Belly”.  To be honest, it may be a very long time before I want to eat Indian food again!  More than a week later, and I’m still not 100%.  Since getting home it’s been super small meals – usually a smoothie for breakfast and a salad for lunch.  Haven’t been eating dinner.  Partly I think because my sleep is so off and I’m jet lagging hardcore.

there were a few days where I couldn't eat anything at all.  On the 4th day - I had some tomato/veg broth and plain rice.

there were a few days where I couldn’t eat anything at all. On the 4th day – I had some tomato/veg broth and plain rice.

I arrived home Sunday evening, and we were out of some of our basic groceries – and my creamy base for smoothies – bananas.  So on my way to work Monday morning, I picked up an acai green smoothie!

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After stopping at the market on my way home Monday, I was able to whip up my own smoothie this morning!  Orange, banana, pineapple, strawberry, and spinach.

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Lunch was a BAS (Big Ass Salad for newbies).  Taco style!  Romaine, iceberg, onion, cilantro, tofu, black beans, cucumber, and salsa.  Thank you Moe’s!!!

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FITNESS

I went for a run before work this morning.  Actually – my sleep is all jacked up, so I was awake at 3:30am.  After spending 45 min trying to fall back asleep, I gave up and threw on my running clothes.  I put on a pot of java and took off.  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel after not running for a few weeks and not eating much, but it was honestly fantastic.  Not sure I can make this early morning thing a habit, but I dug it this morning.

LIFE

Other than getting sick as crazy, the rest of the week was good.  We have great speakers and classes as always, but mostly it was just amazing to be with my classmates.  We don’t physically see each other except during these residencies, and I truly dig them all.

The last day, however, saw some Delhi misadventures that are funny to think about now.  It goes like this…

6 people set off to walk to a market.  Success!  Those same 6 break up into 2 Uber’s to find their way to an Old Delhi Spice Market.  This is where our heroes take an interesting turn….

BF and I were wondering if seeing dogs in clothes was a way to mark them as belonging to someone vs strays!

BF and I were wondering if seeing dogs in clothes was a way to mark them as belonging to someone vs strays!

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In Uber 1 (my uber), driver turns the wrong way down an alley.  We’re blocked in (people and cows on all sides!) and some start banging on the car.  The driver gets out, and my anxiety level starts to notch up just a bit!  Eventually, he comes back, everyone rallies around to clear the way so our driver can back out of the alley.

We get close (ish) to the market (none of us in the car actually know where we are), and traffic is so crappy he kicks us out and tells us to walk.  We have a vague idea of direction (actually, BF seemed to have an innate sense of how to get there), and off we go.  We find it, and the “spice market” is actually blocks and blocks of small shops selling tubs/bins of spices, beans, and pastas.  Lot’s of street food vendors too, and it was fun to watch.

We actually manage to find our other 3 friends (thank goodness for WhatsApp and Google Maps!) and start walking together.  We got to stop and watch a shopkeeper toss bananas in the air just to be swooped up and eaten by the baboons!

We decide that it’s time to head back.  Based on craptastic traffic and our hotel checkout time – we needed to go.  Finding a way out (i.e. – cab, etc.) started to prove impossible.  So…NS (who speaks Hindi, thank goodness!) negotiates with a gentleman to carry the 6 of us in his electric scooter/cart thing.  We are quite the spectacle as we’re all piled in something made for 4, and start bouncing down the street.  About 6 blocks later – the front tire pops, and we’re on foot once more.

After a few blocks, NS negotiates with 2 tuk tuk (auto rickshaw) drivers to ferry us back to the hotel.  We’re back in groups of three, and I think our drivers believed they were in some kind of Nascar/Death Race/Bumper Car mash-up.   When not stuck in traffic, we’re literally flying down the roads.  Keep in mind that there are very few traffic lights or signs, and it’s a “first come gets the right of way” type of environment.  And lanes are optional.

Anyway…as we’re entering a round about, JC starts yelling at me “DON’T LOOK LEFT, DON’T LOOK LEFT, HOLY S&^$”.  Of course I’m sitting on the far left and anything coming at us (which was everything from busses, trucks, cars, rickshaws, and cows) would smash right into me.  Our little rickshaw would be toast!

As we were stuck in traffic, all manner of people walked up to ask for money.  One was a particularly tenacious and hilarious little girl who kept trying to reach into JC’s inner coat pocket.

We make it back to the hotel, and EA, JC, and I immediately burst into cheers and applause.  The driver seemed both surprised and pleased.  I guess he’s not usually celebrated for getting his passengers to their destination alive…

My flight left that night.  15 hours from Delhi to Jersey.  7 hour layover there.  Then home – just to be diverted during our decent due to a disabled plane on the ground blocking the runway.  We went to Richmond, refueled, then headed home.  Finally.

I was back to work immediately the next morning, and I admit that I’m struggling with jet lag for the first time.  I’m falling asleep between 5-8, and up around 3-4.  Then feel like a zombie (other than the whole brain eating thing) by 1.  Alas, it can’t last forever!

So, just a few other miscellaneous pictures before I try to stay awake another few hours before going to bed!

one of the days I couldn't get out of bed and sent D a "feel sorry for me" selfie

one of the days I couldn’t get out of bed and sent D a “feel sorry for me” selfie

watched several movies that day.  This popped up after every commercial.  It was spoken in a highly dramatic voice.

watched several movies that day. This popped up after every commercial. It was spoken in a highly dramatic voice.

last day of class!

last day of class!

hell no.  My cats love me.

hell no. My cats love me.

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scarf shop in the hotel where more than a few of us picked up some beautiful scarves.

scarf shop in the hotel where more than a few of us picked up some beautiful scarves.

in the Delhi airport

in the Delhi airport

in the Jersey airport

in the Jersey airport

missed these two so much

missed these two so much

 

Namaste from India!

FOOD

Just a few short days after my last post, I was on my way for a 2 week stay in India!  While I have managed to find plenty of eats, the “vegan” concept is still a bit foreign.  I usually get offers of boiled veggies, fish, and chicken.  Still – it hasn’t been all that challenging considering the plentiful vegetables and legumes!

congee with fresh ginger

congee with fresh ginger

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yes - nice hotel :)

yes – nice hotel 🙂

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LOVE the guava especially!

LOVE the guava especially!

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salad w/hummus as a dressing has become a total favorite

salad w/hummus as a dressing has become a total favorite

FITNESS

Yoga every day!  I certainly went for runs before heading to India, but haven’t since I’ve been here.  The air quality is such that I wouldn’t go outside anyway – even with a group, and our crazy long days in residency leave me little desire to do hard cardio.  So – every morning has been yoga and it’s been great.

LIFE

Well – I’m in India!  This is the last of my non-US residencies, and I have one more of those (in April) before graduating in May!

I arrived in Mumbai in New Year’s Eve.  Despite being awake for about 38 hours, I still hit up the NYE bash at the Opium Den bar in the hotel with several of my classmates.  Many others went to Dubai to stay with a classmate and ring in the new year.

I spent a week in Mumbai and, like much of what I’m seeing of India, it’s a study in contrasts.  There are those who are very well off (2-3% of Indian’s are wealthy by international standards – and that’s a LOT of people, considering there are 1.2 billion people.  That means there are more wealthy in India than the total population of Australia!), a rising middle class, and some abjectly poor.  And you can see it all in a very short radius.

Mumbai has heavy British influences, though with an Indian spice.  I found much of it quite pretty.

view from my room - the Arabian Sea and the Mumbai skyline

view from my room – the Arabian Sea and the Mumbai skyline

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my class in front of the Gateway to India

my class in front of the Gateway to India

beautiful train station

beautiful train station

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yep - that's a guy with a really big gun....

yep – that’s a guy with a really big gun….

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a women's co-op we visited.  founded more than 50 yrs ago, the goal is to employ women to help them provide for their families while still getting to stay home.

a women’s co-op we visited. founded more than 50 yrs ago, the goal is to employ women to help them provide for their families while still getting to stay home.

one of the Mumbai slums

one of the Mumbai slums

a gift from the co-op

a gift from the co-op

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We left Mumbai after a week, flew to Delhi, and then took a 6 hour bus ride to Agra.  It took 3 hours to get from the airport to the highway because traffic is so horrible – and it’s always this bad.

view from the front of the bus :(

view from the front of the bus 😦

We rolled into Agra quite late, checked into our rooms, and went to bed.  We had to be in the lobby by 6am to get to the Taj Mahal before it opened – hoping to see a sunrise, but it was foggy (or smoggy).

in my Agra hotel room.  Do not distrub me!!!

in my Agra hotel room. Do not distrub me!!!

tried to call the front desk to ask about my Wi-Fi - but didn't know how!  Tried 0, but no answer.  Oh well.  Just went to sleep instead.

tried to call the front desk to ask about my Wi-Fi – but didn’t know how! Tried 0, but no answer. Oh well. Just went to sleep instead.

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lots of baboons!  They like to steal things from people - especially food.

lots of baboons! They like to steal things from people – especially food.

this one won a little battle with a friend over the ownership of this bottle

this one won a little battle with a friend over the ownership of this bottle

From there we went back to the hotel for breakfast, then off to the Agra fort.  That was amazing!

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built to protect a palace, it was a total maze.  Designed that way in part to confuse incoming troops, but mostly to stop stampeding elephants

built to protect a palace, it was a total maze. Designed that way in part to confuse incoming troops, but mostly to stop stampeding elephants

Then it was lunch, and finally to a market and temple.  That particular trip was completely chaotic, but like nothing else I’ve seen.

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Then it was to the train station, back to Delhi, into a new hotel, a reception (which I admit I skipped so I could shower!), and then back to business today.

While here, I’m definitely embracing a different wardrobe!

on the way down to class this morning

on the way down to class this morning

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Tonight I’m off to have dinner with a co-worker’s family!  He’s from Delhi, and his mom and sister are making me dinner.  SO excited!

On the non-India front, I promised pics of the finish painted guest room.  Plus I can’t leave you without a few fluff balls and morning pictures!

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she loves laundry day

she loves laundry day

seeing Rogue One the night before I left for India

seeing Rogue One the night before I left for India

M and Kuma passed out on the sofa!

M and Kuma passed out on the sofa!

me as I landed in Mumbai

me as I landed in Mumbai

me and two of my awesome classmates

me and two of my awesome classmates

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Still Here – Promise!

Okay, last post was about Halloween.  I swear, I’m still kicking.  Just been – uncontrolled chaos!  I normally refer to my life as barely controlled chaos, but even I can admit it’s gone overboard!

Not going to try and do a 2 month update.  Many trips have ensued, family, school, work, friends, fun, tears, frustration, and an appreciation for life.

FOOD

I haven’t spent nearly enough time in my kitchen, and not making nearly enough of my super healthy eats!  Too much eating out or no eating at all, and I’m certainly feeling it.

But there were a few highlights!  One of them, is I got a new appliance!  An Air Fryer.  I picked up the GoWise on sale on Amazon, and it’s been a lot of fun to play with.  Kids love it, and it’s fun to have that fried food without added fats – which just end up hurting my stomach.

red lentil soup

red lentil soup

green curry.  of course!

green curry. of course!

tuna-less chickpea salad

tuna-less chickpea salad

butternut squash soup

butternut squash soup

a BAS with roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, and tons of raw veg underneath - topped with a yummy lemon/maple/tahini dressing

a BAS with roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, and tons of raw veg underneath – topped with a yummy lemon/maple/tahini dressing

air fried tofu, roasted maple carrots, and air fried french fries.

air fried tofu, roasted maple carrots, and air fried French fries.

Dijon tofu alfredo with veggies

Dijon tofu alfredo with veggies

air fried falafel

air fried falafel

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cream of broccoli soup

cream of broccoli soup

tempeh taco salad with pickled radish and onion

tempeh taco salad with pickled radish and onion

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air fried tofu stir fry

air fried tofu stir fry

ranch kale chips from the air fryer!

ranch kale chips from the air fryer!

 

FITNESS

A few runs per week is about what I’ve been able to sustain.  One kickboxing session too.  Longest one was an 8 miler when I was staying with my sister on Thanksgiving weekend.

apparently this run was a little more difficult

post kickboxing – which kicked my butt

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a lovely Christmas morning run!  It was 50 and sunny and perfect

a lovely Christmas morning run! It was 50 and sunny and perfect

LIFE

I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my sister and her family and seeing my mom.  She’s now out of the hospital and hopefully on her way to a long, strong, and healthy life.

The week after Thanksgiving I was in Chicago for a week for a conference.  It was a great show, but the best part was staying with my best friend – who moved to New Orleans nearly a year ago!

I’ve been back home for about 3 weeks, and it’s been quite hectic between work, school, and prepping for the Christmas holiday.

Last weekend D took Kuma to the mountains for a long weekend, so it was mostly just R and me (M worked all weekend).  We watched movies, painted (pics of that later) and I studied.  All of us were sick for a few days this past week too, which sucked.  D had it the longest – pretty much a full week – and he’s still stuffy.

But last night for Christmas Eve A and her boyfriend came over and we had a blast.  Red beans and rice for dinner, movies, jammies, and board games!  I went to bed just after midnight, and left the rest of them playing card games!

And as she’s done since she was little – A woke us up stupid early for presents.  From there, it was our big breakfast tradition, cleaning, and lazing about.  I actually started packing for my India trip!  I NEVER pack early, so this is a major thing 🙂

Anyway, will leave you with a few fun pics!  Hope you’re all having a wonderful family if you celebrate, and if not – just an all around fantastic weekend.

~Crissie

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that look when you pick up all the cat toys so you can vacuum

that look when you pick up all the cat toys so you can vacuum

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road trip Kuma!

road trip Kuma!

hide and seek Kuma!

hide and seek Kuma!

R out on M and R's boat in early November (it was a really nice day)

R out on M and R’s boat in early November (it was a really nice day)

at an artisan fair in Chicago

at an artisan fair in Chicago

saw this in a European lotion store.  Made me giggle.

saw this in a European lotion store. Made me giggle.

a lovely gift from a friend/classmate.

a lovely gift from a friend/classmate.

almost snuggling!

almost snuggling!

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3000 Miles Later…

This is going to be a quick preamble because I don’t know how to actually write about things like this.  On October 16th, my father passed away very suddenly.  With my mom in the hospital for several months, it hit my family even harder than anticipated.  I don’t really have a lot to say other than my sister and I (and our extended family) are reeling right now, but still trying to keep life and the future in the most positive light we can.  Rest well Dad.  Love you.  Miss you.

this is a little over a year old - last time he came to visit me in VA.

this is a little over a year old – last time he came to visit me in VA

FOOD

So it may seem silly to continue with my “regular scheduled blog programming” in light of the bombshell above.  But….my Dad would likely be really pissed if any of us stopped our lives because he decided it was time to go.  So…here I go.  Onward the way I think he’d want me to.

I was only home for a week from my work trip before heading back home to WI from VA, so food pics were a little limited.  Also – not doing much cooking (nor eating) the past week+, so this will be a little lack luster.

last night in WI - out to dinner with my sister, niece, and nephew.

last night in WI – out to dinner with my sister, niece, and nephew.

tofu and veg curry at Beans & Barley in WI.

tofu and veg curry at Beans & Barley in WI.

our black bean dip app

our black bean dip app

a road trip dish in Toledo.  Bleh, but I needed to eat

a road trip dish in Toledo. Bleh, but I needed to eat

road trip salad

road trip salad

Tofu and veggie tacos with my cousin

Tofu and veggie tacos with my cousin

baked a pumpkin pie this eve

baked a pumpkin pie this eve

Tofurky, roasted maple sweet potatoes, and balsamic brussels.  Glad to be home.

Tofurky, roasted maple sweet potatoes, and balsamic brussels. Glad to be home.

FITNESS

Ha.  Sorry – nothing to report here.  Lot’s of cleaning, packing, moving and things like that.  No runs.  No yoga.  No bike rides.  No time.

LIFE

The past week and a half has been all about my mom and my sister.  D held down the fort (like he always does) back home in VA.

My bday was the 19th, and that’s the morning I packed up my mini-van (hello…I have 3 kids.  What did you think I drive?!) and started the long drive to WI.  Not the best birthday ever, but not too terrible either.  I spent it with myself, my thoughts, and the occasional blasting stereo (hey, no judging.  My mini-van can totally rock out).  I think I really needed it – to get through all the sad/angry thoughts before I was actually around other people.  I stopped in Toledo, had a drink, dinner, and watched the debates.

Some of my travel tunes!  As a bday present, D got me Sirius radio so I didn’t get stuck with crap tunes on the drive!

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I stayed in WI a little over a week, and left on Friday mid-morning.  I stopped in Cleveland with enough time to study (I had class Sat morning) before going to sleep.  I hit the road in the morning and stopped at a travel plaza with free Wi-Fi to connect to class.  It was touch and go, and I kept losing connection.  I eventually gave up and hit the road again.  As usual, DC traffic sucked, but I made it home by 730 last night.  3000 miles later and with a heavy heart, but also positive experiences with my sister and her kids, my mom, my cousin SP (who’s an incredibly special woman), and the love of family, I came back to my home in VA and the amazing love and support of my family and friends here.

I spent it snuggled on the couch with D.  Then slept in today, grocery shopped, and told stories about my Dad.

Good night everyone.  Be back soon.

Much love,

Crissie

Misc pics of the week…

borrowed a pair of my sister's socks.  Didn't know they had instructions until about 12 hrs later!  Ooops....

borrowed a pair of my sister’s socks. Didn’t know they had instructions until about 12 hrs later! Ooops….

study spot in Cleveland

study spot in Cleveland

the boys decorating the front yard for my fav holiday!

the boys decorating the front yard for my fav holiday!

skyline in Chicago as I headed out Friday afternoon

skyline in Chicago as I headed out Friday afternoon

me in Cleveland after a day of driving

me in Cleveland after a day of driving

D looking incredibly gorgeous that week!

D looking incredibly gorgeous that week!

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my baby got glasses!

my baby got glasses!

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Bumble in a box!

Bumble in a box!

Kuma busted digging in the back yard

Kuma busted digging in the back yard

bday flowers from AC

bday flowers from AC

condolence flowers from JG

condolence flowers from JG

my and my big sis

my and my big sis

Atomic records in Milwaukee!  SO many memories of this place

Atomic records in Milwaukee! SO many memories of this place

my mom when she was 19.

my mom when she was 19.

R all grown up last weekend!

R looking all grown up last weekend!

Kuma discovering the delight of the fireplace

Kuma discovering the delight of the fireplace

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passed out pups

passed out pups

me an R at dinner the night before my bday

me an R at dinner the night before my bday

Golf, School, and a Hurricane (and not the yummy NOLA drinks either!)

FOOD

Not as many pictures as normal, but there are a few!  I was out of town for work to support a project, so didn’t always get my green smoothies – but I did typically have a breakfast salad from the Whole Foods bar on my way into work in the mornings!

Green smoothie (of course!)  This was actually a lunchtime one.

Green smoothie (of course!) This was actually a lunchtime one.

my dinner with E on Saturday night

my dinner with E on Saturday night

my morning juice when traveling

my morning juice when traveling

breakfast BAS

breakfast BAS

and another

and another

white bean vegan chili from my hotel restaurant

white bean vegan chili from my hotel restaurant

Tofu green curry.  Not the best I've ever had...

Tofu green curry. Not the best I’ve ever had…

yummy java from Shenandoah Joe's!

yummy java from Shenandoah Joe’s!

a toasty tofurky sammich with a side of grilled broccoli and mushrooms

a toasty tofurky sammich with a side of grilled broccoli and mushrooms

last night's dinner!  RM made an amazing vegan chili (and had vegan sour cream too!).  Didn't take a pic of the mushroom appetizer because I ate them all...

last night’s dinner! RM made an amazing vegan chili (and had vegan sour cream too!). Didn’t take a pic of the mushroom appetizer because I ate them all…

roasted garlic!  Just because it's awesome in a lot of things (and this is destined for a winter squash alfredo)

roasted garlic! Just because it’s awesome in a lot of things (and this is destined for a winter squash alfredo)

One quick recipe for a simple mid-exam meal!  When I’m really low on free time, I have to admit that I get even more grateful for having pretty much every kitchen appliance out there.  This one was a simple rice cooker dish.  Throw it all in and then eat when it’s done!

  • 1 cup rice (doesn’t matter the type – I wanted brown, but am apparently out and used Arborio instead)
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. ground ginger root
  • 2 tbsp. red Thai curry powder (here’s the one I use)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3-4 cups whatever frozen veg you have (today, I used peas and green beans)
  • 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas
it's got kick from the Thai spice, and is creamy and filling and awesome

it’s got kick from the Thai spice, and is creamy and filling and awesome

FITNESS

I went for a few runs, a bike ride, an online yoga class in my hotel room, and golf!

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Yes – it was the once a year charity golf event!  Both D and I want to actually play regularly, but I need to graduate first.  There’s so little free time as it is, so starting something new just isn’t in the cards for me.  Still – we had a blast (playing with our usual couple!) and I was literally sore for days!

at least we can DRESS like golfers!

at least we can DRESS like golfers!

LIFE

Big surprise – it’s been a wild week and a half!

First off, it’s Term 4 (of 6) exam time from Oct 7-22, so if possible, I’m even more head down and buried in my studies.  This also means I only have 2 terms left!!  WOO.  I have 5 courses per term, and each course typically has a 5 hr. exam.  There was an exception with one being a bit shorter.

Last Friday was golf, so that was an all day event.  Saturday morning I hit the road for work.  I got to see JN twice and have dinner with EA the night I arrived!  They’re both classmates.

me an EA!

me an EA!

Work took up all day every day until I went home.

Oh – and there was that pesky hurricane.  D’s car got water in the engine and my entire neighborhood was flooded.  D and the kids handled it all very well while I was dry up in the mountains.

that's my driveway and front yard!

that’s my driveway and front yard!

dude kayaking through the street

dude kayaking through the street

view from my front yard

view from my front yard

blackmail photo for later.  The storm was so crazy on Saturday night and R was a bit freaked out by the trees blowing outside her window, that she crawled in with D on my side of the bed.

blackmail photo for later. The storm was so crazy on Saturday night and R was a bit freaked out by the trees blowing outside her window, that she crawled in with D on my side of the bed.

Friday night (last night) was working on a group submission for one final (which also incorporated a significant amount of French wine, puppies, and a fire pit).

Today I took 10 hours worth of exams.  I’m surprisingly NOT as brain dead as I thought I would – though I am going to head to bed soon!

Tomorrow I’m taking what I think may be my toughest exam.  I doubt I’ll sit for more than one, so I will take my remaining final Monday night.  It gets me done 5 days early (which is nice so I can start to prep for next term), but mainly my goal is to not have any exams hanging over my head come my birthday on Wednesday,

Other than that – typical pics of cats, Kuma, the Morning Pictures, and any other random pics snapped!

Ginny jumped in my briefcase

Ginny jumped in my briefcase

and then decided that sleeping on my study materials was more comfy.  Shocker.

and then decided that sleeping on my study materials was more comfy. Shocker.

I took Kuma shopping!  We needed cat and dog food.  And of course like any shopping trip with a toddler, we ended up in the toy section...

I took Kuma shopping! We needed cat and dog food. And of course like any shopping trip with a toddler, we ended up in the toy section…

Spooky Puppy Toy!  It lights up in the ball when thrown.

Spooky Puppy Toy! It lights up in the ball when thrown.

spooky bone.  New kong.  Spoiled pups.

spooky bone. New kong. Spoiled pups.

that tongue...

that tongue…

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Gin knocking over the basket of laundry

Gin knocking over the basket of laundry

the many shots of Kuma napping on or by me when studying yesterday

the many shots of Kuma napping on or by me when studying yesterday

no clue what was happening here, other than D was cleaning the garage once the water receded.

no clue what was happening here, other than D was cleaning the garage once the water receded.

hanging in a box of stuff I'm sending to my niece

hanging in a box of stuff I’m sending to my niece

Morning Pictures

with big bro!  D and I had to be to the golf course, so M took her :)

with big bro! D and I had to be to the golf course, so M took her 🙂

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Kuma tagging along

Kuma tagging along

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Random shots

picked up new shoes at the Converse store at the outlet mall!

picked up new shoes at the Converse store at the outlet mall!

silly good morning pic sent to D while I was away

silly good morning pic sent to D while I was away

me, JG and RM last night

me, JG and RM last night

 

 

Settling In Before Taking Off Again!

FOOD

I’ve been home a little over a week, and I’m (as usual), so happy to be back in my kitchen.

Smoothies are the breakfast of champions!  Well, maybe that was Wheaties.  But it should be smoothies 🙂

it's a green smoothie, but blueberries win every time!

it’s a green smoothie, but blueberries win every time!

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not the only green smoothie lover in the house!  R loves hers with apple, dates, and cinnamon for an "Apple Jack" smoothie

not the only green smoothie lover in the house! R loves hers with apple, dates, and cinnamon for an “Apple Jack” smoothie

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The weather is starting to get all fall-ish, so I’ve made some warmer meals, like soups, chili, and (gluten free) pasta dishes.

still hands down my fav soup.  Post Punk Kitchen's Red Curry Soup.  Sweet potato, kale, and rice...what's not to love?

still hands down my fav soup. Post Punk Kitchen’s Red Curry Soup. Sweet potato, kale, and rice…what’s not to love?

black bean and sweet potato chili!  Leftovers for days (and days and days)

black bean and sweet potato chili! Leftovers for days (and days and days)

with sweet maple cornbread

with sweet maple cornbread

butternut squash and fresh sage pasta!  Recipe from Zsu Dever's Vegan Bowls.  Made with chickpea gluten free pasta

butternut squash and fresh sage pasta! Recipe from Zsu Dever’s Vegan Bowls. Made with chickpea gluten free pasta

Other miscellaneous eats.

beets cooked in orange juice

beets cooked in orange juice

on a salad with a yummy maple tahini dressing

on a salad with a yummy maple tahini dressing

taco salad!  Spicy tofu and topped with a vegan queso as a dressing

taco salad! Spicy tofu and topped with a vegan queso as a dressing

grilled lime and sriarcha tofu with BBQ sauce "dressing" and grilled corn!

grilled lime and Siracha tofu with BBQ sauce “dressing” and grilled corn!

leftover tofu as a wrap...

leftover tofu as a wrap…

and as a salad with garlic, lemon, tahini dressing

and as a salad with garlic, lemon, tahini dressing

a sad and icky plate of veg sushi that I just couldn't choke down.  Sad because it was from my fav sushi place.

a sad and icky plate of veg sushi that I just couldn’t choke down. Sad because it was from my fav sushi place.

FITNESS

Runs and rides!  More runs than rides though!

Two of my runs in the last week have found me in the middle of unexpected rain storms.  And when I mean unexpected, read it as “Crissie didn’t check the weather”.

Friday!

Friday!

Sunday...

Sunday…

Saturday (pre-ride).  It didn't rain :)

Saturday (pre-ride). It didn’t rain 🙂

LIFE

I’ve been home a little over a week now, and it’s been glorious!  Busy – but in a really good way.  Catching up at work, getting back in the groove of things, and then having a major project many years in the making go live!

The fluffy family members have been awesome, as usual.  Except for the afternoon Kuma decided to steal my highlighter and sticky notes while studying!

puppy kisses!

puppy kisses!

had just put all her toys in her basket, and about 2 seconds later, she starts taking them back off again!

had just put all her toys in her basket, and about 2 seconds later, she starts taking them back off again!

first grooming appt!  Came home with a cute Halloween bandana

first grooming appt! Came home with a cute Halloween bandana

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Bumble doing what cats do best...

Bumble doing what cats do best…

Ginny loves shoes.  Mostly recently worn and slightly smelly ones

Ginny loves shoes. Mostly recently worn and slightly smelly ones

guess who just walked in the door?  (hint, size 14's...)

guess who just walked in the door? (hint, size 14’s…)

I was cooking.  They both clearly thought I had something they wanted.  Until they realized it was kale...

I was cooking. They both clearly thought I had something they wanted. Until they realized it was kale…

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getting ready for the best holiday!

getting ready for the best holiday!

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Speaking of studying…

for anyone who wants to really understand merger and acquisitions!

for anyone who wants to really understand mergers and acquisitions!  Or for anyone hoping to pass an upcoming finance exam 🙂

Friday night my eldest and her boyfriend came over for dinner and Rock Band!

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And of course, morning pictures!

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And “others”

me and D while the kids were karaoke-ing!

me and D while the kids were karaoke-ing!

getting ready for Halloween!

getting ready for Halloween!

Friday D and I have a charity golf event, and then I’m traveling for 5 days to support that project I mentioned.  Of course there’s the whole hurricane Matthew thing brewing, which thankfully appears to be turning east of Virginia Beach, but we’ll still get rains and winds.  After last months flooding, that means our region is still in danger of falling trees and flooding – so here’s hoping everyone in Matthew’s path stays safe and dry.  Oh, and this Friday also begins our 2 week exam period.  It’s going to be a chaotic couple of weeks!  But what’s new, right??  🙂

Home and Hydrated!

FOOD

Let’s just say that I’m incredibly happy to be home.  Neither Germany nor Finland were my favorite places on the food front, but it’s really irrelevant now.  I apologize now for how whiny I’m going to sound – at least I HAD food, so that was good enough.

I imagine had I been left to my own devices in meals (or had a kitchen), it would’ve been an entirely different experience.  The administrators of my program try VERY hard to be sure all of us in class with special dietary needs are well cared for and eat well.  I just think I don’t like German food as a whole.  In pretty much each meal, I found the food heavy and bland.  I’m typically “gluten light”, but that was pretty impossible while I was away.  There were literally days when bread was the only option.

Oh – and the most prolific veggie I was given was celery.  Braised, roasted, etc.  Very weird.

Breakfast each day was grapefruit and orange segments, bran cereal, and soy milk.

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One day I did order a beet/orange/ginger juice from room service.  It was amazing!

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Lunch was only eaten on occasion.  It depended on if what was served contained a vegan dish.  A few times they did make me a special dish, which I appreciated greatly!

tofu with celery and shoestring spuds.  Pretty tasty.

tofu with celery and shoestring spuds. Pretty tasty.

cabbage, zucchini, rice, and tomatoes.  Eh.  Filling enough (but lacking in beans/tofu, etc).

cabbage, zucchini, rice, and tomatoes. Eh. Filling enough (but lacking in beans/tofu, etc).

miso soup.  Freakishly salty, but was grateful for the tofu

miso soup. Freakishly salty, but was grateful for the tofu

a German ratatouille (which was actually gross - had olives in it, which is just strange), some greens, cabbage, and bread.

a German ratatouille (which was actually gross – had olives in it, which is just strange), some greens, cabbage, and bread.

more tofu!  And celery...

more tofu! And celery..

Dinner was also only an occasional event.  Most vegan eats were bready and pasta, and that was a challenge.  Quite honestly, I’d usually grab a salad from room service.

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our final farewell meal.  Potato/leek soup, potato/pea pancakes, pickels, and cabbage (at least the company was wonderful!)

our final farewell meal. Potato/leek soup, potato/pea pancakes, pickles, and cabbage (at least the company was wonderful!)

One exceptional meal stood out though!  One evening a few of us went to a restaurant after an afternoon and evening spent at a start-up incubator (called Axel Springer – freakishly amazing place).  I had this AMAZING dish of whipped vanilla carrots topped with mushroom ragout and micro greens.

I could've licked this plate if we weren't in such a nice place!

I could’ve licked this plate if we weren’t in such a nice place!

The other thing I struggled with the entire time – surprisingly – was water.  I’ve never been one who didn’t get enough H2O!  I easily drink a gallon per day.  That was impossible in Europe.  Water is never served at meals unless you ask (and it’s always bottled), and I found the significantly reduced water intake to be the most difficult.  Coffee, orange juice, beer, and wine – yes.  Water – not so much.

Needless to say, I’m so excited to be back where I clearly take my ready access to water for granted.  As soon as my plane landed, I bee lined for a drinking fountain to fill up my water bottle.

Naturally my first at-home meal was a big ole green smoothie!  Never mind that it’s my usual breakfast!  It’s always what I want when I first get home after travels.

coconut water, banana, pineapple, strawberry, spinach, and kale

coconut water, banana, pineapple, strawberry, spinach, and kale

For lunch, I made a quick meal (I had a ton of meetings and work catch-up to do).  Rice noodles with cabbage, water chestnut, green beans and peas, and a creamy sauce of silken tofu, soy sauce, ginger, garlic powder, and hoisin sauce.  No real measurements, but one container of the Mori-Nu tofu blended with about 2 tbsp. each of soy sauce and hoisin, about 1/2 tsp each of ginger and garlic.

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FITNESS

I went for two runs in Germany as well as yoga.  That was by far the most fun.  I don’t know German – no one at the studio spoke English – but it was perfect anyway.  Everyone was super nice and all I can say is thank goodness for Google Translate!  Class was easy to follow without knowing what my instructor was saying.  Yoga is universal!

where I hit up a vinyasa class.  It as perfect - not only for the workout, but my stress levels were horrible, and I needed this very much

where I hit up a vinyasa class. It as perfect – not only for the workout, but my stress levels were horrible, and I needed this very much

I went for a run today and got caught in a total downpour!

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LIFE

Oh jeeze, not even sure where to start!  Of course the purpose of my trip was school and that was most definitely the majority of what I did while away.  We had some amazing school-related events (Axel Spring Plug & Play incubator was by far the best and most inspiring thing EVER).

We met with representatives from Aston Martin, CNN, and The Economist.  Helped people with start-up ideas work through things on their pitches, and spent time learning how Europe views the world (like the refugee crisis).  My mind is still blown from the entire trip, and I’ve taken away some amazing lessons that go beyond my classes.

Berlin is a beautiful city, but felt strange in it’s newness.  About 80% of the city was destroyed in the war, so almost everything you see is built post-1950.  But there’s an intense history underneath that is told in different ways by different people.  My favorite was a cabbie who grew up in Hamburg but moved to West Berlin in 1984.  His retelling of the wall falling was one of fear that the East German and Russian army would take him away.

I went to two museums while I was there.  One was Neus Museum where the bust of Nefertiti is (no pics allowed in that display)  and one was their Natural History museum.  Pics below!

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called a Face Urn and I love it

called a Face Urn and I love it

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this was amazing - to see original artist renditions of Nefertiti!

this was amazing – to see original artist renditions of Nefertiti!

rusted gear from the war, found in a river in Berlin

rusted gear from the war, found in a river in Berlin

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they LOOK like rocks and minerals.  It's melted glass from stained glass windows from a church that was bombed in the war

they LOOK like rocks and minerals. It’s melted glass from stained glass windows from a church that was bombed in the war

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meet Tristan the T-Rex!

meet Tristan the T-Rex!

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I went to the expo for the 43rd BMW Berlin Marathon, which was fun, and then cheered on the runners the next morning.

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I had a brief stop in Helsinki (where I want to go back and spend real time), which was beautiful.

um.  no thanks.

um. no thanks.

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Random other pics

the last evening, after classes were done.  Chilling out with a newspaper and a glass of wine!

the last evening, after classes were done. Chilling out with a newspaper and a glass of wine!

finally found a grocery - which was in a mall.  My goal was dental floss...

finally found a grocery – which was in a mall. My goal was dental floss…

goal achieved!

goal achieved!

my classmate AF found these while out shopping and bought them for me!

my classmate AF found these while out shopping and bought them for me!

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loved these!  France had them too.  Electric Smart Cars for rent

loved these! France had them too. Electric Smart Cars for rent

how I'd get around - take a screen shot of my destination and then have fun pronouncing street names

how I’d get around – take a screen shot of my destination and then have fun pronouncing street names

But – there’s no place like home 🙂

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Au Revoir, Paris! Guten Tag, Berlin!

FOOD

All I can say is – I’m definitely not traveling for the eats.  Ugh.  Vegan options here are just too heavy for the way I’d like to eat.  Honestly, my best meals are makeshift eats from the local market, and I find myself eating very little otherwise.  And I’m getting kind of sick of bananas.  But alas – I can’t complain because the trip has been awesome.

One thing I love the French for is a yummy Dijon beet salad.   Germany has yet to impress me much, but it’s early yet 🙂

do love me some ginger ale!

do love me some ginger ale!

best meal! Grocery store eats are just fine with me

best meal! Grocery store eats are just fine with me

closest thing to a veg juice I could find. Quite good though!

closest thing to a veg juice I could find. Quite good though!

I love that Dijon mustard is a regular condiment with the salt & pepper!

I love that Dijon mustard is a regular condiment with the salt & pepper!

more beets!

more beets!

my entree at the Eiffel Tower!

my entrée at the Eiffel Tower!

my last morning, took off to a little cafe down the road from my hotel to enjoy some quiet and coffee

my last morning, took off to a little café down the road from my hotel to enjoy some quiet and coffee

Starbucks in Berlin!

Starbucks in Berlin!  Because it’s universal

today's lunch. Okay, but too heavy. Rice pilaf, roasted onion, and cabbage.

today’s lunch. Okay, but too heavy. Rice pilaf, roasted onion, and cabbage.

One of the grocery stores I went to (we actually did a case about them a year ago!)

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FITNESS

A couple short runs (1 outside, 2 on the hotel treadmill) and some in-room yoga.  And hiked up a ton of the Eiffel Tower, so there’s that…

ran through this park one morning. Had to snap this pic because I GO TO HIS UNIVERSITY!!!

ran through this park one morning. Had to snap this pic because I GO TO HIS UNIVERSITY!!!

I am excited that I found a hot yoga studio just down the block from my hotel here in Berlin.  It’ll be interesting because I don’t know diddly about the German language, but I figure I’ve been doing yoga long enough that I’ll be able to follow along just fine!

LIFE

Okay, busy few days!!  I may just tell it in pictures!

Disneyland Paris headquarters, where we spent the afternoon with their Investor Relations dept and VP of Marketing!

Disneyland Paris headquarters, where we spent the afternoon with their Investor Relations dept and VP of Marketing!

and after...another bit of fun in the park

and after…another bit of fun in the park

me and J after the parade!

me and J after the parade!

walking back to the hotel

walking back to the hotel

Thursday night was spent at the Eiffel Tower, including having dinner at one of the restaurants.  We then went to the very top (a combo of a TON of stairs and elevators that move in a diagonal), and had just an incredible view.

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goofy face, and my "photobomber" is actually one of my classmates, MS!

goofy face, and my “photo bomber” is actually one of my classmates, MS!

 

restaurant menu

restaurant menu

not photobombing this time...

not photobombing this time…

The Seine and the city!

The Seine and the city!

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After our last class in Paris Friday, and we celebrated with a lovely champagne lunch.

me and B and champagne!

me and B and champagne!

Then, me, NS (HUGE Liverpool fan), and WB left the group to hit up a local bar called Lush to watch the Chelsea v. Liverpool game.  Being the ONLY one in a Chelsea shirt (and only 1 of 2 supporters in the place), it was a bit unfriendly at first.  That vanished quickly when they realized I was a good sport.  The evening was a blast, and we hung out for a long time talking politics with the locals!  (They find our situation in the US both hilarious and troubling…pretty much like the rest of us to!).  Beyond that, I met some wonderful people, exchanged contact info, and hope to come back soon!  (and actually have Chelsea win…).

yum!

yum!

pre-Lush bar shot (WB, me, NS)

pre-Lush bar shot (WB, me, NS)

my forehead, but basically meant to be a shot of the bar where everyone just stands and watches the game!

my forehead, but basically meant to be a shot of the bar where everyone just stands and watches the game!

on the metro back!

on the metro back!

By the way, NS sang annoying Liverpool songs at me for 2 days.  I figure he ought to enjoy it now, because despite Liverpool’s win, Chelsea is still beating them in the EPL standings….

Did pick up a magazine for those rare non-school reading moments…

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Yesterday was traveling to Berlin (flight was delayed), but the hotel is freaking amazing!  Oh – did I mention that during my stay in Paris a Saudi royal Princess was at my hotel with her entourage?  Yeah – there’s that.  And the Berlin digs are even better!

setting up camp at the airport in Paris to get some studying done before our flight.

setting up camp at the airport in Paris to get some studying done before our flight.

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Of course D is at home holding down the fort.  I missed R’s 13th bday 😦  However, A and M went to her school and took her for lunch in a little picnic – and then Skyped me so we could sing and I could see them.  The 6 hr. time difference is probably the worst so far in being able to talk to my family regularly.

fell asleep 12, woke up 13!

fell asleep 12, woke up 13!

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me taking a pic of my laptop when we all skyped!

me taking a pic of my laptop when we all skyped!

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2 days of morning pictures!

2 days of morning pictures!

So goodnight from Berlin!