Gonna Go All Exorcist Now….

FOOD

Nope, this exorcist post has nothing to do with pea soup – that was a couple months ago here 🙂

Breakfast was another green smoothie. Coconut milk, banana, spinach, frozen mixed fruit, and a cut up pear. Like yesterdays, it was really filling. I wonder if it's the loaded fiber of the pear that's doing that….anyway, it's a keeper.

I was at a work-sponsored leadership conference at work all day. 1700 people, and nothing I could eat for lunch. I usually assume that'll be the case (I mean really, probably not a lot of vegan's in the group), but I had thrown a banana and a clif bar in my purse before heading to the convention center, so I wasn't in danger of starving or anything.

Dinner was very simple. An oven-baked sweet potato with pepper, and a small salad with onion, avocado, and salsa.

FITNESS

I did end up going to a hot yoga class after the conference. I was seriously considering skipping it – I was exhausted – but D told me I'd feel so much better if I went, so I did.

And he was right! I was almost falling asleep lying on my mat before class started, but it ended up being amazing. I had killer focus and managed to get deeper into two postures than I ever had before. So yay!

I will say, that's one of the things I love about yoga. My brain swirls constantly – I have no idea how to “shut it off”, and I always envy people who can totally veg out and not “think” about anything. Not me….it's constant head chatter in my melon. Problem solving, list making, worrying about something, making plans for something, figuring out something I forgot to do, etc. All the time – except with yoga. For that 60-90 minutes, my brain doesn't focus on anything other than what I'm doing at that exact moment. I don't think about earlier or later, but right then.

However – according to the crack pot running for Lt. Governor of my wonderful Virginia – yoga will turn me into some demon/devil kind of thing. No shit. So many people I know are screwed….

An excerpt of his wildly ridiculous interview is below. Link to article also included in case you want to laugh and be horrified, all at the same time…

….”E.W. Jackson, the Virginia GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, suggested that yoga could open individuals to Satan, according to a report…

“When one hears the word meditation, it conjures an image of Maharishi Yoga talking about finding a mantra and striving for nirvana. … The purpose of such meditation is to empty oneself. … [Satan] is happy to invade the empty vacuum of your soul and possess it. That is why people serve Satan without ever knowing it or deciding to

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/ew-jackson-virginia-lieutenant-governor-yoga-satan-92321.html#ixzz2jFlPuUhA

So watch out…I may go all exorcist any day now….

LIFE

Today was our annual leadership conference for work. While all the State of the Unions, updates, and presentations are generally nice, my favorite part is seeing people I don't get to see very often – sometimes only at this meeting. That was certainly true today!

After work was yoga, then making dinner, pumpkin carving, and now it's time to pick up the house and head in the direction of bed. Happy Hump Day!!!

 

 

Call Me Blinky

FOOD

I will start with a Gordon Bierch update. They responded to my email very promptly and with as much service recovery as I would expect any company to do. So, despite my upsetting experience, hopefully some good will come of it. Here's the response:

Good morning Ms. ***,

Thank you for your email comments regarding your visit to our Virginia Beach location last week. I sincerely apologize that we did not deliver on your dietary preferences with your salad. We server be better prepared to ask the proper questions of the management team if they are not completely sure of what the guests needs are.

I have passed along your comments to the team in Virginia Beach and we will use them to better educate the team on this important issue.

Please pass along your mailing address so that I can send you out a gift card for the future, as a token of our apology and thanks for letting us know.

All the best,

Arthur

Arthur Forgette

Regional Manager

CraftWorks Restaurants and Breweries

aforgette@cwrestaurants.com

(704) 840-6383

craftworks_email_signature

“Every Guest, Every Time!”

Today started off with a killer green smoothie. Coconut milk, pear, banana, pineapple, strawberry, and spinach. I love the pear addition.

I had some tea during one of my morning meetings. I have a stash of agave in my drawer, and since I was having an apple cider tea, I went with a cinnamon flavored sweetner. Totally great addition. Though one of my managers asked if it was honey, and I made some bizzare face before saying “no, I don't eat honey”. He was confused. Two words. Bee vomit. No thanks.

I ran out of time to make lunch (early meetings), but did have just enough time to run over to Whole Foods and grab something. My intent was a box of fun from the bar and a Kombucha. I ended up with that – and a slice of vegan pizza! I ate the pizza at my desk and then the salad in a late meeting as dinner. Totally worked out well.

FITNESS

I was hoping to hit up a yoga class today, but was in meetings too late to get there. I laced up and went for a run instead when I got home!

We're having a total “Indian Summer” here (if you're from a cold weather state, you know what that is!). It was in the 70's today, and in the mid-60's for my run. Perfect. It was one of those amazing runs too with endless energy. So I guess I can't complain that my meetings ran late and I was “forced” to run instead of do yoga. It was all for the good.

OH, and I was lit up!!! Despite the warmer temps, it was full dark when I went to run. I finally had a chance to use my blinky lights!

I forgot my iPod at work on the docking station (I have an old Nano), so had to use my phone. I wore a running belt and D clipped blinky on my backside. I will say, I definitely felt safer.

I also answered my phone when it rang (had on headphones with a mic, so it was easy). Carried on a quick conversation with my Dad while chugging away!

LIFE

Back to normal about sums it up. Work, meetings, swim team practice for R, general normal/crazy/awesome life.

Tomorrow is an all day leadership meeting, but we end at 3, so it'll truly be a short day. I'm hoping to hit up a 4pm yoga class before calling it a day. It's also supposed to stay nice and warm for a few days, which means a warm trick or treat on Thursday! Woo hoo!!!!

 

The New Math: Little Black Dress + Jammies = Tater Tots and Beer

FOOD

The past few days have been a whirlwind, and since I can't quite remember everything, here are a couple highlights.

Thursday evening was out with AC. We shared a bucket of tater tots with siracha ketchup, and then I had a faux chicken sammich with pasta salad. The pasta salad didn't taste like anything, but the sammich was good. I ate about half because the tater tots were better. Not a healthy evening, I know.

Lunch on Friday left me scarred for life. After an all-staff meeting, one of my co-workers and I went to Gordon Biersch for lunch. I ordered the veggie tacos – no cheese/sour cream – and a side salad. I told the waitress I was vegan as I was ordering to (hopefully) ensure that my food was animal-product free. Two bites into my side salad, I realized it had bacon. I was SO pissed. The waitress looked at me like I was nuts (it killed my appetite, and no…I didn't want a new salad). Her response “oops”. Ugh. I understand that my being vegan is my choice and not driven by a medical necessity, etc, but still. The lack of understanding of why I was upset was disturbing. I don't eat meat for ethical reasons, and knowing I had some may may not be a big deal to others, but it was a very big deal to me.

I did write a letter on their Contact form from their website:

I dined for lunch in your Virginia Beach restaurant at approximately 1130 am on 10/25. I ordered the veggie tacos and a side salad, and explained to the waitress that I was vegan, so no cheese, etc.
The salad was delivered, and after two bites, I realized it had bacon in it. When she came back, she seemed baffled why this was upsetting to me and why I didn't want a replacement salad (I lost my appetite).
I will say the manager was wonderful – came to our table, apologized, and explained that he will speak with her.
I understand that my not eating meat is not an allergy and may not be taken as seriously by the restaurant, but as an ethical vegan, I was horrified.
Choosing a dietary lifestyle can be as important to a person as a medically necessary restriction. Please reinforce to all your leadership and staff how important it is to understand food differences and choices, and how to honor that appropriately.

Thank you.

Lesson learned.

The rest of the weekend was low key. Soups, salads, smoothies, and fruit.

FITNESS

I went to a hot vinyasa class on Thursday, which was awesome. I hadn't done a hot vin class in awhile, and the pace was perfect.

I had every intention of getting up Friday morning to run. I even put out my clothes so I'd be ready to go. It worked so well on Wednesday, I figured it was a sure thing!

Then at 5am my alarm went off, and it was only 37 degrees outside. I was not prepared for that! I had to be at work by 8, so I wouldn't have had enough time to dig out the super-cold running clothes, get my run in, and get ready for work (while getting kids ready for school). And then Friday night I got busy, and didn't do it either.

Today I went to a regular hot yoga class. It was also a really good class and was luckily taught by the same instructor as the class I took on Thursday. I will say, that I've never had a bad experience at this studio!

LIFE

Thursday was work, and then workout. AC texted early in the morning to see if I'd be free after yoga, and I said sure – as long as we go somewhere I can chill in my jammies. The yoga studio is near where we were going out (a few blocks away), and there was no way I was going to simmer in my own drenched sweat while we had beer. I also wasn't going to go home to clean up, nor put real clothes back on after showering. So – the deal was I yoga, shower at the studio, and throw my jammies on.

I walk into the place, and here AC is in this totally cute black dress with boots looking all pretty – and I'm in fleece with soaking wet hair and a beet red face. It was pretty amusing, actually. She had a bucket of tater tots waiting when I got there, so it was all good.

Friday evening D and I were both wiped out. We went to a fall fair at R's school, and by the time we got home around 6 (which isn't late), all I could think about was getting out of the house or going to sleep. So….we went out for a bit. Just to a sports bar down the street (not many other options close to home), but it was really nice. We had fun and were home by 9.

Saturday we went up to A's school for an event and to see her new dorm room and meet her new roomie. It was a relatively short visit, but nice to see her! She's loving school – though needs to work a little harder at math, and less on socializing.

D, M, R and I hit up Busch Gardens for one last Howl-O-Scream hurrah! It was chilly and we were bundled, but it was awesome. D used his new beer sock I picked up in Seattle, and we wandered around the park and had a great time.

Today – laundry, yoga, cleaning, cooking, Whole Foods…the usual. I love Sunday's!

A few random cute weekend pics…

 

Time to gear up for a busy week ahead!

 

Easing Out of Vacation Mode to Real Life

FOOD

I have very little fresh produce in the house, and desperately need to go grocery shopping! That always happens when I travel. I envision a Whole Foods trip after work today!

I made pumpkin chili from Happy Herbivore and a salad for dinner last Tuesday night. The family ate it over veggie rotini noodles, which made it even more hearty. It's one of my favorite simple chili recipes. It's very flavorful, and it uses pumpkin! And that's just cool.

Yesterday for breakfast was a banana and oatmeal (which I accidentally put frozen mixed veggies into instead of blueberries…and when I realized my mistake, added the blueberries too. That, my friends, was a strange yet not unpleasant flavor combination).

Lunch and dinner was Thai food (dinner was lunch leftovers). I wasn't home, so it worked well.

FITNESS

Tuesday afternoon I hit up a hot yoga class. It was a mid-afternoon class (2-3pm), so it wasn't overly crowded. That's the nice thing of a weekday off!

It was also a wonderful class. I don't think I've had an instructor at that studio that I haven't really liked. It also felt great after a day spent traveling.

Yesterday morning I set my alarm early and got up to run. It was way outside my comfort zone (to be up and physically active that early), but I'm glad I did. I ran, got home, showered, got R ready for school, got ready for work, and went about my day!

It did remind me of my paper route when I was a kid. My Dad would get me up at 330am on Sunday delivery days to go get and sub the papers, and then he'd take me around as I delivered it. Then it was off to breakfast, then back to bed. As a result, doing my paper route that early felt more like a dream than anything else. My run was sort of like that. I remember doing it, but it sort of felt like I dreamed it instead.

LIFE

Post vacation life has been pretty good. I took Tuesday off – I like to do that when I travel. I spent the day doing laundry, cleaning, went to yoga, and catching up on a few household and personal things. It also meant I got to take R to school 🙂

That means yesterday was my Monday at work! I got a lot of catching up done, but also had a lot of meetings. All told, it was a good day. It was a late one though, and I wasn't home until after 730 pm. Today will be another long day, but since it's really only a 3 day work week, that's fine with me!

 

Winner, Winner, VEGAN Dinner!!!! (and breakfast, lunch, snacks, & desserts too….)

It is time to declare the winner of the China Study Cookbook giveaway!

I had 7 entrants (listed below in order of their comments), and using http://www.randomnumbergenerator.com, a winner was selected.  Come on down number 2!!  (okay, okay, even I think that has a bad joke behind it somewhere)…..

1 Tracy
2 S.O.B
3 Andrea
4 Jarkie
5 BridgetAnnie
6 Jennie
7 Vegan Homemade

Random number generation / Random Numbers

Generate a random number between  and   = 2  Get number

So congrats to Miss. S.O.B, you will soon be the recipient – direct from the publisher – of The China Study Cookbook!

Going to Ghana (someday…I hope)

FOOD

Okay, so I got to meet up with some awesome Seattle vegans for brunch at Chaco's in the U District yesterday morning! AC and I met up with DQ and MC for some yummy grub and conversation.

I had tofu scramble with tempeh bacon and potato pancakes! Oh, and their fresh 'detox juice' with golden beets.

Lunch primarily consisted of bloody mary's at Finn MacCools, also in the U District. Dinner was snacks while watching a movie (edamame, hummus, guacamole, veggies, and kale chips! – yes, CT knows how to feed us well!).

FITNESS

None. I was planning on yoga yesterday, but was out too late tooling around town. LC and CT went though, so that was cool.

LIFE

Saturday night was the Water to Wine benefit at SkyLine winery in WA. It was for an amazing group called Water Access Now that raises money to drill wells in Ghana. They partner with Catholic Relief Services to build community based committees (always comprised of men and women) as the Water and Sanitation Committee, to ensure appropriate maintenance and use of their new resource. As a side note, 100% of the funds raised by this group goes to WAN, as all members are volunteers who pay their own way to West Africa.

I was extremely moved and inspired by the presentations. In the past year or so, this group has brought water to over 33,000 villagers. The speakers told amazing (and sometimes sad) stories of how life in Ghana can be, and how difficult it is to find water. Not to mention the percentages of death from drinking contaminated water, WAN and CRS have done amazing work to truly improve the quality of life of tens of thousands of people.

I hope I have the ability someday to become involved in a group like Water Access Now, and to make a difference in someone's life.

Sunday was a low-key day for everyone. We all pretty much did our own thing. That's one of the things I love about this group – no one is clingy. No one is offended if one or two people peel off and do their own thing.

HF met up with her Aunt and Uncle for breakfast and church, LC met up with her cousin and actually met her cousins children for the first time! CT took her kids out for some family time, while AC and I had brunch.

BT dropped AC and I off for brunch on his way to play rugby, so afterwards, he met up with us at Finn's for a beer and hung out a bit. Then it was back to the house, and AC was able to meet up with her maid of honor from her wedding! It was really awesome that everyone was able to have a special last day.

The evening ended with a movie and packing!

My flight home was drama free, though the same can't be said for everyone in our group! Even though LC, AC, and I booked our flights at the same time, LC and I had major flight changes – but AC didn't. We all sort of assumed we all had the changes to the schedule, so when we got to the airport, AC had actually missed her flight. Good news is she was booked on one later in the morning, and will be landing about an hour or so after the rest of us. HF had a different flight since she had a different destination, but all told, we managed to get home fine.

Last year we went to Vegas for a birthday celebration, and this year Seattle. Since none of us have a major milestone birthday coming up for several years yet, we all pretty much decided we need to do this yearly for no other reason than we're friends and it's cool. Top of the list for next year is Maine. Stay tuned 🙂

I had an absolutely perfect trip, and am so grateful for good friends who made it happen. I'm happy to be home, but looking forward to when we can do this again!