Monthly Archives: September 2016

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!

Bonjour Paris!

Well, I’m coming to you from Paris as my first stop in a 3-city trip! 

FOOD

I will forever believe that the best vegan food I can get is in my kitchen.  Traveling (especially global travels) really nails that home!  What I wouldn’t do for a flat with a kitchen instead of a hotel room!

It’s certainly not all bad though, and I’ve honestly had some lovely eats in the past several days.

First – things I ate before hopping my flight last Thursday…

smoothies, of course!

smoothies, of course!

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I was in a hurry.  Baked spud with chickpeas and hot sauce

I was in a hurry. Baked spud with chickpeas and hot sauce

And since arriving in Paris…

my first Paris meal at a pretty fameous cafe on Champs Elysee

my first Paris meal at a pretty fameous cafe on Champs Elysee

out for Thai food for dinner with some classmates!

out for Thai food for dinner with some classmates!

no green curry :(  so sad

no green curry 😦 so sad

I've been obsessed with Orangina since I started studying French as a little girl

I’ve been obsessed with Orangina since I started studying French as a little girl

FUN meal with wine pairings and lessons at Le Foodist.  My menu was custom made :)

FUN meal with wine pairings and lessons at Le Foodist. My menu was custom made 🙂

simple breakfast eats

simple breakfast eats

room service.  Only bleh, to be honest.  Plain pasta w/olive oil and a side of mushrooms and celery.

room service. Only bleh, to be honest. Plain pasta w/olive oil and a side of mushrooms and celery.

soy yogurt (along w/a banana were today's bfast)

soy yogurt (along w/a banana were today’s bfast)

Overall, being a vegan in Paris isn’t the easiest.  I try to keep bread to a minimum (causes inflammation and irritates the RA).  Veggies and fruits aren’t hard to find, but to not have everything swimming in cheese is….

FITNESS

Before heading to Paris late last week, it was runs and yoga.

Since getting here, it’s been walks, hikes, and one run so far.

LIFE

Last week was the start of the school year!  Seems so strange to have only one of my kids left in regular school (as in, not college where the other two are!).

And it was all about spending time together before my nearly 3-wk trip out of the country.  That and wrapping up all loose ends at work and trying as hard as I could to prep for my residency and all the cases I had to do!

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after nearly missing my connection in Philly, I ended up with a whole row to myself!

after nearly missing my connection in Philly, I ended up with a whole row to myself!

and here I am.  36 hours of being awake later (I had a red-eye), checked into my room, and not looking as delieriously tired as I actually was!

and here I am. 36 hours of being awake later (I had a red-eye), checked into my room, and not looking as deliriously tired as I actually was!

Paris is beautiful (of course), though I will say that the city reminds me very much of Washington DC.

Day 1 was walking around with a friend until our hotel rooms were ready.

Le Ard de Triomphe

Le Ard de Triomphe

lunch with M

lunch with M

courtyard view from my hotel

courtyard view from my hotel

a quick pic of the Eiffel Tower near my hotel

a quick pic of the Eiffel Tower near my hotel

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Notre Dame

Notre Dame

through a cab window :)

through a cab window 🙂

Day 2 I went to Disneyland Paris by myself!  Being a theme-park junkie, it was awesome.

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And then classes started, so it’s all studying, all the time, with the exception of company visits, guest speakers, and some school-sponsored fun thrown in (like Le Foodist, a walking tour of Paris, and a visit to Champagne).

D and me on the walking tour

D and me on the walking tour

N & A bonked heads right as we to this at the Four Seasons George V Palace hotel in Paris -> where we were meeting with a couple leaders

N & A bonked heads right as we to this at the Four Seasons George V Palace hotel in Paris -> where we were meeting with a couple leaders

The rest of the pics are non-Europe shots 🙂  My standard morningpictures (now that school is back in!), cats, dog, and general mayhem.

first day of 8th grade!!!

first day of 8th grade!!!

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And now – going back to my studies!!  Au revoir (for now!)

Independent Verification that Audiobooks Rock Runs

FOOD

The new Vitamix container is here!  The good news is it’s a BPA-free container (that wasn’t really a thing 9 years ago), but the bad news is that it feels totally cheaply made – especially the handle.  My last one had a nice cushy handle, and this one just…doesn’t.  I imagine it’s partly because they started selling in regular stores like Williams Sonoma, Target, and QVC – and mine version is still the hardcore commercial kitchen version.  No frills.

old one on the right; new one on the left

old one on the right; new one on the left

I certainly put it to good use with smoothies and soups this week!

beet and fennel soup - one of my favorites

beet and fennel soup – one of my favorites

soymilk, water, spinach, chia seeds, banana, and mixed frozen berry

soymilk, water, spinach, chia seeds, banana, and mixed frozen berry

ginger, carrot, lemon, and pepper soup!  Another favorite.

ginger, carrot, lemon, and pepper soup! Another favorite.

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coconut water, pinapple, banana, mango, and spinach

coconut water, pineapple, banana, mango, and spinach

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Also had a few other fun eats this week.

our green smoothie selfies!  D opts for the straight up Island Green.  Mine is the Detox Island Green (no sugar, add ginger)

our green smoothie selfies! D opts for the straight up Island Green. Mine is the Detox Island Green (no sugar, add ginger)

open-faced sammies with marinated tofu, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and mustard

open-faced sammies with marinated tofu, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and mustard

majorly on sale at the grocery.  Perfect mid-morning snack at the office.

majorly on sale at the grocery. Perfect mid-morning snack at the office.

BAS picked up from the grocery down the street from work.  Had a lemon-tahini dressing in the fridge in my office.

BAS picked up from the grocery down the street from work. Had a lemon-tahini dressing in the fridge in my office.

brownies.  Getting ready for school starting up!

brownies. Getting ready for school starting up!

tofu stir-fry.  General Tso's style (with asparagus because it's what I had on hand)

tofu stir-fry. General Tso’s style (with asparagus because it’s what I had on hand)

grilled corn and veggie burger - open faced on some Ezekiel toast

grilled corn and veggie burger – open faced on some Ezekiel toast

FITNESS

Just runs since my last post, no rides.  The days I was hoping to ride was either too late or too wet (thanks, Hermine!).

before 4 mi on the left.  After on the right!

before 4 mi on the left. After on the right!

Today’s was awesome though.  Not only was the post-Hermine weather cool and gorgeous, but I also discovered Serial!  I’m between audiobooks (and that’s my fav for running), and D’s been trying to get me to try podcasts for ages.  I have a few that I’ll pop in now and then (WSJ, This American Life, TedHour, and RadioLab) – but it’s rare I listen to them.

I had heard over the past year about a podcast called Serial.  So – I downloaded that and decided to listen to Episode 1 of Season 1.  I figured it was about an hour and my planned run was about 45 minutes, so I wouldn’t run out by the time my run ended.

Holy.  Cow.  It’s unbelievable.  The first episode is called “Alibi”.  It centers around the murder of a 17 year old girl and her ex-boyfriend who was convicted of her murder.  It’s already got me hooked (even though I know what’s happening with this case currently), and I can’t wait to lace up and listen again.

great run, though I saw some of the damage Hermine caused in my neighborhood.  Nothing tragic, thankfully.  Sadly, too cold to cool off in the pool!

great run, though I saw some of the damage Hermine caused in my neighborhood. Nothing tragic, thankfully. Sadly, too cold to cool off in the pool!

Oh, and I ran across this on my running app today.  HELLO.  I knew that.  Been saying that for many, many years.  Especially for a new runner, it’s a great distraction.  Music is easy to tune out, and you find yourself focusing on how much your legs or lungs hurt.  A good book draws you in, and you get lost in the story while you’re trucking along.  I like my music now and again, but I vastly prefer audio books.

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LIFE

It’s been a pretty normal week for the most part.  Family, school, and work.

yes, D and I send selfies when we don't see each other in the morning.  I was out way too early Thursday for anyone to see me first!  This was my "good morning".

yes, D and I send selfies when we don’t see each other in the morning. I was out way too early Thursday for anyone to see me first! This was my “good morning” from my office at 6am.

D went out for a drink with one of our friends earlier in the week and brought him home for dinner!  It was taco night, and we had a lot of fun standing around talking, eating, and just hanging out.  Oh, and Ginny took residence in his shoes (she loves shoes!).

face first, inhaling the aroma....

face first, inhaling the aroma….

D and I actually went out Friday night!  We grabbed dinner and went to see the latest Jason Bourne movie.  Great fun!

pre-movie dinner selfie!

pre-movie dinner selfie!

Saturday was a solid day of studies.  I made of goal of accomplishing 3 specific things by the end of the long weekend.  I got them ALL done on Saturday, so the evening was spent watching Terminator Genisys and cooking!

Today was up super early, cleaning, walking the dog, studying, and going for a run before anyone else woke up.  Then grocery shopping, more studying, a school team meeting, and a BBQ at home with all of the family and some of the kids’ friends too.

And now, I end with my typical random week pics and the intent of going to bed early 🙂

snapped this while chatting with BF from school about the pups so he could see how much she's grown!

snapped this while chatting with BF about the pups so he could see how much she’s grown!

you can't see my cute little ballet flats I wore to work.  Because as soon as I got home, Ginny crawled over them.  She has a shoe thing.  I totally get that.

you can’t see my cute little ballet flats I wore to work. Because as soon as I got home, Ginny crawled over them. She has a shoe thing. I totally get that.

cats and bags.  enough said.

cats and bags. enough said.

I can just imagine Kuma pleading to Ginny to play with her.

I can just imagine Kuma pleading to Ginny to play with her.

Saturday night movie fun!

Saturday night movie fun!

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typically Ginny getting all over my homework.  This is forward currency contracts and interest rate parity.  My cat is the smartest cat is the world!

typically Ginny getting all over my homework. This is forward currency contracts and interest rate parity. My cat is the smartest cat is the world!

all 3 getting along....

all 3 getting along….

And the week’s a wrap!  Later gators 🙂