Am I the Only Non-Whiskey Drinker?

FOOD

Well hell, it’s been a hot minute since I wrote. I’ve been in Vegas for the past 4 days. I wish I could say I’ve gone to a bunch of cool spots, but most days I’m not eating a whole lot. I did hit up Hell’s Kitchen and SushiSamba though before the conference started tho.

Monday I stopped at Plaza Azteca for a late lunch. Vegan bowl as always and a margarita.

Made a big batch of tofu stir fry one night, and also ate the rest of the spicy tofu soup leftovers. And of course smoothies because that’s my jam.

Friday I ate at Hell’s Kitchen in Vegas. My girls and I love that show, so it was super cool. Also super cool is there’s a fully separate vegan menu. I remember reading an article ages ago where Gordon Ramsey was bitching up a storm about vegetarians and vegans. My, how times have changed!

Saturday was SushiSamba! Totally love this place. It’s a Japanese/Latin fusion spot at the Venetian. Much sake was had, along with edamame, coconut rice, cucumber rolls, and a spicy tomato/cucumber salad. Couldn’t finish it all (well not true, I finished the sake!), but still – SO good.

I did pack my portable blender, so at least I’ve been having quick smoothies every day. I grab fruit when I get coffee in the mornings. And sadly, been relying too much on my Clif bars the rest of this week. They’re filling though, so I’ll find myself eating half of one, and then the other half later in the day.

FITNESS

Last week I ran and did yoga. This week it’s mainly be a metric ton of walking and yoga. I have the Yoga Collective and Daily Burn apps, so try to get in at least 20-30 minutes of something in my room before hitting the conference.

LIFE

BUSY AS HELL. Though that’s nothing new and I likely wouldn’t know what the heck to do with myself if I weren’t busy.

I got to Vegas on Friday. My hotel wasn’t ready yet, so I checked my bags and went walking. Stopped at Paris – had great sushi and Korean food last time I was here, but just ended up with a drink (French 75) and then sat to do emails. Didn’t want to ruin my appetite for Hell’s Kitchen!

After my late lunch (3:15), I went wandering around and ended up at the forum shoppes at Caesar’s. They used to have this one spot where I could stand and literally see almost all my fav shoe shops. Unfortunately, they’ve rearranged, and my happy place is no longer there. Alas.

Later that evening I met up with my girlfriend D at Caesar’s. We hit up Vanderpump’s Cocktail Garden where I had two of the English Garden.

Then off to the Neon Museum! D is a member, so she was able to get tix for us. They have a Tim Burton exhibit, and I’m a big fan – but admit there’s no way that man is all right in the head. First exhibit though was the Boneyard for something called Brilliant. And it was amaze balls. The boneyard is where old Vegas signs go to die. And while they don’t work, they do have this light show that makes it look like they work, and it tells the story of Vegas through music and movie clips. Sinatra, Elvis, Liberace… it was seriously incredible.

Saturday was more walking for hours and then went to see Mystere with a colleague friend of mine, M. We walked to Treasure Island, had a cocktail, and then saw the show. Walked back to the hotel, met up with D for more drinks. They both drink whiskey and I’m jelly. I’ve wanted to like bourbon and whiskey and stuff for YEARS. Just can’t seem to do it.

Sunday conference stuff started, and I also spent many hours finishing my lit review! Got that submitted around 630pm and then off to the opening party at Top Golf. Saw several people I know, and then met up with D and one of his colleagues. We wandered back to the hotel and stopped for more cocktails. Vodka for me. And I think everyone else on the planet had whiskey.

Disembodied hands giving out drinks….

Yesterday was a really good day, despite about 3 hrs of sleep. The conference itself is fun. High energy and I’m talking with dozens of early stage companies trying to make a difference in healthcare. Love it. Afternoon meeting that ended up with me drinking vodka and everyone else (literally) drinking whiskey. I swear it’s a damned conspiracy. More meetings, more drinks (gin this time because, you know, I like to shake it up), then bed relatively early.

Today is a lot more meetings, watching people I know give a talk, and then a vendor dinner. Where I’m sure everyone but me will drink whiskey…

Sour Beers and Birthday Fun!

FOOD

I made a big batch of my spicy tofu soup that I ate several times during the week. My eldest loves it too, so I was forced to share.

Other eats included Thai green curry on a lunch date. I’m wondering if the quality of our normal spot is going down, or just a new chef maybe. It was honestly too thick and a bit too sweet for my liking, and his wasn’t as awesome as usual either.

I still had leftover Ethiopian stew, so I had that a few times too. Breakfasts were often oatmeal.

Friday was Indian lunch date and then an after work cocktail (lemon basil-tini for me) and for dinner was vegan pizza on a cauliflower crust.

Saturday was the most fun (of course) because it was birthday brunch at our fav spot with all but one of our munchkins (he had to work). The Bee and Biscuit is awesome not just for it’s food, but for the outdoor oasis you wait in before your table is ready. Jay is the best bartender, and we had some delicious drinks. Vegan Bloody Mary to start, a manmosa, and their summer solstice. That meant more coffee with my hippie wrap and fruit meal.

For dinner we checked a new spot off the list – Oiishi Burger in Virginia Beach. It was only ok, and not likely we’ll go back. Miso soup was bland, edamame was good, and the veggie curry was only ok. His meal was only mediocre too.

FITNESS

Started the week at the gym for some strength training and treadmill/dreadmill fun. Rest of the week was workouts at home, namely runs, walks, spin, and yoga.

LIFE

Sunday started with what should have been a quick drive to the gym. Alas, major car fire had the highway near me completely shut down for about an hour. Good news is it doesn’t appear anyone was hurt and that’s all that matters. Me sitting in traffic just means I’m lucky that I wasn’t the cause of it.

Always that guy who has to get out of his car to try and see the scene 🙄

After the gym, it was grocery shopping, meal prep, cooking, laundry, and homework. Typical Sunday!

It was a pretty busy week on the work and school front. Couple of coffee and lunch dates with my boyfriend as we could squeeze them in, but otherwise a really normal week (meaning I was actually at home!).

Thursday night R (who is a junior in HS this year) had a 2 hr event at one of the primary schools in our city called STEM&M (which I think that name is totally adorable). Her robotics team went to the event with last years bot and talked to the 3-5th graders about robotics. She had a blast. And I had 2 hrs to kill. I was going to hit up a Starbucks or something and study, but one really wasn’t close. BUT, a newly opened brewery was – so of course I had to hit that up! Texted a girlfriend of mine, and she met me there briefly. Really love their sour beers!

Saturday was my birthday and it was really awesome. It began with brunch with my 3, my boyfriend, and his oldest. That was several hours. After brunch, the kids and I headed to Ikea because R needed a new desk and M also got a new shelf. We had some fun karaoke on the way. After getting home, I packed up a bag and headed to my guys house. We hung out there for a bit until his youngest got home and got ready for a night out. Then we also headed out to our fav Cape Charles for some cider. Then off for dinner and back to his place. This morning was a lot of snuggling and then going grocery shopping on my way home. All told, about 70 people – friends and family all around the world – wished my a happy birthday and my heart is warmed knowing I have so many wonderful people in my life.

Necklace from my sister. When I thanked her (because it’s awesome!), she wrote that “the message is so you. You’re one of the strongest people I know and can do anything.” I cannot express what that means to me coming from my older sister – someone I’ve always admired and wanted to be like!

And of course, other random pics of the week, mainly of the floofs!

This week should fly by. I’m in the office only Monday, with offsite meetings and responsibilities Tues-Thurs and then a flight to Vegas Friday morning which kicks off a marathon trip of conference and residency!

Weather Whiplash, History Hike, and Day Date Fun

FOOD

Thursday morning I had an eye dr appt before work. I left early enough to stop at Yorgos for a vegan “bacon, egg, and cheese” on a sourdough bagel and an orange and beet juice. SO yummy. Hadn’t been here since NS and I went when he wasn’t visiting from Kenya.

Lunch was leftover Ethiopian stew and dinner was leftover feijoada with cauliflower rice. Popcorn snack!

I had a great date-day with my guy that started with breakfast – mimosas and hummus plate for me! Then we stopped for coffee, did some shopping, and then headed to our fav place for some cider and beer flights. We tried to stop at the distillery, but they were only doing tastings. Since whiskey isn’t either of our jams, we passed. At the brewery, we shared a big pretzel and I got the Beyond Meat burger and fries.

I was too full for dinner! Though I met up with a girlfriend at a local spot for half a glass of wine in the evening.

Today was oatmeal with banana and pumpkin pie spice and another Beyond Meat burger at the same brewery (too full for the fries), but this time with my daughter. No beer tho.

FITNESS

I went for a 5 mile run on Thursday and R and I went on a 3 mile hike today! The hike was awesome. It was pretty, but mainly just walking and talking with R was the best part. She went over everything she’s currently learning in history, which much of it I’d forgotten over the years. The terrain was very flat, which was a bummer, but lots of beautiful butterflies. I picked up a year-long state park parking pass, so we plan to hit up as many as possible (and VA has a LOT of them!).

LIFE

Thursday was working and school fun and my eye dr appt. No changes, which is nice. The weather definitely dipped though. Crazy that a week prior it was 100 degrees! Getting whiplash with the weather. Today was lovely and near 80.

Friday I had off and made the best of it! Truly a great day. R was in the homecoming parade, A was at work, and M has been sick, so it was nice to get a text from S at the last minute asking to hang out. Since I had time to kill before picking R up, it was perfect.

Today started off with school fun, then R and I getting our flu shots, heading to the park for the hike, to the brewery for lunch, then the drive home where she promptly passed out. Stopped to pick up my dry cleaning on the way home, took a shower, and plan to just ready, study, and chill!

When Eyelids Wear Hats

FOOD

Lots and lots of yummy eats! Since my last post I’ve had one trip (New Orleans), a few outings here at home, and some much needed kitchen fun!

Stopped at Whole Foods to grab an Impossible Burger with grilled pineapple and bbq sauce.

The next day, my guy and I spent the day out and about. First a brewery for some pretty darn good beer (I was shocked by the sour – one of the best I’ve had) and amazing food. Then our fav cidery. And then distillery where we had a few cocktails and chatted with E who moved to VA for the summer to collaborate on a pop up sushi restaurant – it was his last day, but he’ll be back next summer.

Then it was off to NOLA for a work/fun visit!

First night was a work dinner, so of course I couldn’t pick the place. Found out the day before where it was, and gave them a call. They made me an amazing dish! Farro, roasted veggies, and a spicy cherry sauce. Totally divine. Didn’t snap a pic because I really just met most of the people at the table and didn’t want to be TOO weird….

Sadly, most eats was grabbing a salad. Staying in the French Quarter, there’s little beyond creole/Cajun and seafood. One night though, A, J, and I went to an amazing placed called MoPho, and I had the tofu spring wraps and the vegan pho – both amazing!

The day I left, A and I met for brunch. Mimosa and a tofu po boy at Surrey’s! Quite tasty.

Then I got home and went a little crazy in the kitchen! In a good way, of course.

Indian feast! Red lentil and sweet potato slow cooker curry, garlic naan, and basmati made with cinnamon and cardamom for dinner my first night home.

The second day, I worked from home – I had 8 hr webex meetings both Monday and Tuesday. Have laptop – will cook!

Ethiopian Stew from Plant Pure Nation

Oil-free tomato salad

Sourdough starter for injera bread! Never made it before, so I’m excited
Shredded TONS of cabbage. Used 6 cups (barely any!) for some slaw

Homemade bread for lunches
Brownies. Obviously

Last night I made feijoada! It’s the national dish of Brazil – usually made with smoked meats. Mine is made with portobello mushrooms, soy curls, and some liquid smoke for that Smokey flavor. It came out great! Kids loved it, which is good because it made tons for leftovers. Also made rice and tostones (which I prefer with lots of hot sauce!)

Today was coffee and a banana for breakfast and then a ramen lunch date!

FITNESS

Well, in two weeks there have been several runs, yoga, long walks, and some spinning in my garage.

LIFE

Whew, where to begin?! The beginning, I guess.

The last Friday night I was home, I hung out with my girlfriend/classmate S and her husband. Wine and chatting for a few hours was nice.

Saturday was a long date day with my boyfriend to the brewery/cidery/distillery.

Wednesday I took off for New Orleans. But first…!

I went to Ulta. I’ll be honest. I’ve always wanted to try false eyelashes, but I admit to being totally intimidated by them. So I stopped in Ulta because I was out of hair stuff, and it turns out they’ll put them on for you! They also happen to have latex free glue (which is rarer than you’d think). So voila! I liked them. Though it felt like my eyelids were wearing little hats.

I arrived fairly late and went to my hotel and to bed. The next morning I was up early. Since my meetings didn’t start until noon, I wanted around the quarter for a bit and stopped for coffee.

I sent my kids the pic of the Lost Boys poster – it’s a family favorite. Anyway, the conversation got interesting and they called me bougie!

After meetings and dinner, A and I met up and hit the quarter for a bit. Then back to my hotel to sleep. I had more meetings in the morning and she had a conference until 3. Then we met up at a happy hour event, headed to her house, and then out to MoPho.

The State of Grace

I was done before A on Friday, so I stopped at a spot in the Quarter for a salad, a drink, and a reread of a classic! This is the Effen Amazing – which is some gin and cucumber concoction. Yum.

Saturday was a ton of fun. Met up with A and J to tour and drink in the quarter. It sounds like a lot, but it really wasn’t. First was Tableaux and the incredible Pimm’s cup. 3, to be precise.

Then it was someplace else to get a to go cocktail since that’s totally a thing so we could keep walking around and shop. This was the Cajun Cooler. Ended up drinking about half.

We eventually stopped at a Mexican place – after going through Jackson Square and the French Market – where I had a little bit of the pineapple cilantro.

This trip included stops in voodoo shops, art galleries, kitschy shops and an open air market.

J and A had to head out to get their kids. I went back to my room to chill a bit, and eventually wandered out again for a salad and class of wine.

Sunday I met with with A for brunch and shopping. Picked up 4 pieces of art, I’m really excited about!

Bathroom at Surrey’s…which honestly is one of the stranger one’s I’ve been in

Home and school has started up again! Let the extra chaos commence 🙂

Fast forward to today. Luna had a vet appt late this afternoon. She HATES carriers. After many scratches, I got her in. And she broke through it – literally – on the drive! We hung out in the car while waiting for our appt (I managed to hold her in the carrier until I arrived). The tech came and let me know when a room was open so we could go right in. She has a UTI and will be just fine. They gave me a box crate to get her home in – which was MUCH easier, and I’m keeping it!

And other miscellaneous pics

Road Trip and an Alt Animal Creation Story

FOOD

Been on the road most of this week, so the eats were as well.

Monday I had a banana and then picked up this oat milk latte on the drive to Baltimore. To be honest – didn’t love it and didn’t finish it. Not the oat milk’ s fault since I typically enjoy an oat milk latte. Think I just didn’t like the coffee they used. Cute place though in Salisbury, MD.

Rolled into Baltimore around 230 or so. Spent some time at the hotel then walked into Little Italy where we stopped for a happy hour drink and hummus appetizer and then moved on to a different place for dinner. Where we initially stopped told us in no uncertain terms that we were to be out by 5 since they were hosting a Dancing with the Stars watch party. Um. Ok.

Wasn’t hungry for anything more substantial than a bruschetta app

Tuesday morning we stopped at Teavolve for breakfast and I had a really yummy marinated tofu wrap. Good thing too, since I really didn’t have lunch (my “vegan” plate at the conference was about 5 noodles and big chunks of charred bell peppers – I picked at it, but didn’t mind skipping since I had a good breakfast).

Dinner was divine though. Papi’s in Fell’s Point for Taco Tuesday! I had the street tacos, vegan style, with Beyond meat. We also had a plantain appetizer that was killer. Sangria was mediocre, but I forgive them due to taco yum mines.

Wednesday morning was coffee and a banana with Chinese for lunch in Richmond. And when in Richmond, Buskey’s is a necessity! They actually weren’t open for business, but the door was open and in we went. Chatted with the owners where we got a tour of their canning facilities and were then asked for recommendations on places to go on tap in our area. And a great discount on a 4 pack of Matcha cider for M (and he LOVES it).

This morning for breakfast was….coffee and a banana! Really wasn’t feeling anything else. Lunch was veggie sushi and dinner was leftover veggie sushi!

FITNESS

Other than walks around Baltimore, not much Mon-Wed. Went for a run today though!

LIFE

Monday was largely spent driving to Baltimore and then hanging out until going to bed pretty early.

When I was a kid, my family (mom, dad, sister) went on a road trip to Colorado. My father had this old memory or something about how awesome Stuckey’s was and insisted we stop at ever single one he saw. I think we all got food poisoning at LEAST once each on that trip after breakfasts at Stuckey’s. Every time I passed one since, I’d send a picture to my dad. He’d get a huge kick out of it. He passed away 3 years ago, so I had to send this one to my sister so we could reminisce about our dad and his poor dining suggestions on that road trip!

Monday Baltimore sights.

Tuesday was the conference. I was there because I was speaking and I dragged a couple of co-workers with me as governing board members. Each has a really unique perspective that I find is partly overlooked in our industry, but also two of the hottest and in demand skill sets. I was glad they could participate as both are really tops in their fields.

Then it was dinner, more walking around, and to bed early again.

Wednesday was up and immediately on the road with the pit stop in Richmond. Got home around 4 or so. We were apparently out of Luna food so I took Kuma to the petstore on a Kumaventure where she was loved on by many at the store.

And today was back to business as usual! Work, some school work, and a run.

Saw this thread of pics from my cousin – couldn’t help it. I have to share as an alternative animal creation story.

Allergies or Cold? Ask Queen!

FOOD

Being home means kitchen fun! And being sick means soup…

I made a batch of vegan broccoli cheese soup and a loaded veggie one too. Soup for days!

I also made some soy yogurt, oatmeal, tofu stir fry, salads, blueberry sauce, tandoor tofu with curry veggies, green juice, and a spice cake!

Also made my first go at homemade vegan mayo. Seriously – not going back. SO simple and cheap. A jar costs about $7 at the grocery. This was about $1.50. I do prefer making as much from scratch as possible – I know what is in it, and what isn’t. No chemicals to keep things shelf stable, etc. That makes me happy – knowing that’s what I’m eating and how I feed those I love.

And one lunch out with my guy – pad Thai with tofu.

FITNESS

Well, I got home from Boston at the wee hours of Wednesday morning. By late afternoon, I was not feeling well. By Thursday, I was miserable. Friday definitely on the upswing, but still got exhausted easily. Saturday felt dang near normal, so went for a walk around the neighborhood. Nothing overly taxing, but still getting out and moving.

This morning, I felt great, and wildly stir crazy (which is normal for me), so I went hiking! I figured I wouldn’t push it too much. But….I may have gotten lost, so the hike itself was longer than planned, but still wonderful. All told, 5 beautiful miles!

LIFE

Well, already mentioned the being under the weather thing. As such, I worked from home and tried to relax as much as I am capable. Which meant sitting, reading, then puttering in the kitchen or trying to clean something. But mostly chilling out. Which, I admit, I suck at.

Friday afternoon I actually rented a movie! I watched the new Men in Black movie. It was fun enough.

Saturday I was definitely stir crazy. I ran a few errands, but mostly stayed home. I did get quite a bit of writing done, which made me happy. Both for my research as well as a LinkedIn article series I’m writing. This is the second one which I’ll publish Monday morning. Important to focus some energy on building my personal brand.

Unfortunately my boyfriend got sick this weekend, so we haven’t been able to see each other, but it is what it is. Will see him soon.

I head out in the morning for a 3 day trip that I’m actually really looking forward to. Not to say I don’t typically look forward to travels, but this one is different, and I think it’ll be great.

With that – time to get the laundry finished and pack!

Luna likes leftover Indian food!

I think they like me feeling poopy – they get to nap all day on my bed

My fortune from lunch with my guy. I like it. It is my plan, after all.

Learned about this from some colleagues in Boston last week. Perfect timing. Wonder if that’s why I was only sick 2 days instead of longer!
Only Queen can sum up ragweed allergy season!