Spring? What Spring?

FOOD

Even though this has been a short week, the eats were definitely on point!

Lots of smoothies, salads, and really nutrient dense meals. I’m trying to focus more on that lately – not just vegan (which is still of the most paramount import for me) – but also less vegan junk.

Also had a trip to the food & wine fest that was a lot of fun too!

Sunflower butter and sliced bananas on Ezekiel toast
The vegan bowl from Cobalt Grille. I’m a fan.

Fun color changing cups M got from Starbucks!

My Lidl haul for ~$30!
Digging on the Morningstar Farms vegan chickn strips!

BEST SUMMER FRUIT

I like a little lettuce with my chickpeas
Made a big batch of chili using Beyond Meat crumbles, Ate it for lunches at work.

Chili with cauliflower rice

PF Chang’s Mandarin Crunch Salad. Good, but too much dressing and could only eat about 1/3 of it.

The Impossible Fajita Bowl from Cowboy Neil’s. Made with Impossible burger (obviously!)

Sangria flight!
Tofu lettuce wrap

Tofu scramble with vegan sausage

Memorial Day we did a cookout at my guys house and he grilled the BEST tofu 🙂

Watermelon, slaw, grilled mushrooms and tofu, corn, and potatoes!

FITNESS

Been a busy week! Lots of runs and various video workouts. I swear though, the lower body workout on Sunday about killed me. Walking was a struggle until nearly Wednesday!

LIFE

Saturday morning I did school work and took Kuma to the pet store.

In the afternoon it was an Eastern Shore adventure. Took a nice drive and stopped for some cider, then back to Virginia Beach for a late dinner before turning in for the night. Was a really nice day.

Sunday was all school work, cleaning, grocery shopping, and cooking.

Monday was the cookout and relaxing.

And then Tuesday it was back to work! But – it was only a 3 day week since I had Friday planned off.

Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday

Each day reached over 100 until Friday, and it was insane. Seriously – it’s like we didn’t have spring at all. I typically don’t mind crazy hot weather, but damn. A girl could use a bit of a warning!

Thursday night I had a 1:1 with my professor/advisor. I basically have 2 weeks to get my research topic approved. Good news is that he’s told me it IS approved. I’ve met all the requirements. But it does give me 2 weeks to take my work and make it even better and more polished. I’m so excited!!

Miscellaneous pics of the week

On a solemn note, there was a shooting here in Virginia Beach yesterday. I, for one, am so sick and tired of these headlines and mourning people who should not have died. Frankly, it pisses me off and the madness needs to end – but no one has the political balls to do anything about it. Ugh.

Dancing in a Car Makes Everyone Happy

FOOD

Can’t believe it’s been another week. Had some of the usual suspects – smoothies, salads, Indian, Thai. And a few new things, like a meal at Veggie Galaxy in Boston that consisted of massive fried pickles and an Alfredo with chickn, grilling, and pho.

Quick pho lunch

IBM made sure to have vegan eats for me at the meetings I was at earlier this week – which I highly appreciate

FITNESS

Monday and Tuesday I was traveling. Wednesday I was a zombie. Went for a run Thursday and some spin today. I’m going to have to resign to checking luggage so I can bring workout gear. So much travel lately!

LIFE

Sunday was all about finishing up Game of Thrones. And while this season (and somewhat last season) caught ten tons of crap for being short or not meeting expectations, overall, I can’t complain. Now if everyone on social media would stop whining, that’d be awesome. Seriously people – IT’S JUST A TV SHOW.

Monday afternoon I hopped a flight to Boston. It was strange – since it was only an overnighter, I brought just a backpack and my iPad. No luggage and no laptop. Felt almost naked!

After landing I headed into Cambridge to meet AF for dinner. Had a great time catching up (as always). Then it was to my hotel, read for a bit, then bed.

Up early on Tuesday to head to all day meetings at IBM Watson headquarters there. Meetings ended, then back to the airport for the trek home!

The hustle never stops! My doctoral research at the airport bar!

Got home around 1215am Wednesday, but typically me, took me forever to wind down to fall asleep. It was sometime after 2 when I finally did. And up at 6. I was a hot mess that day! Worked from home, which was great. Also met my girlfriend AJ for drinks at a local spot since she also worked from home on Wednesday.

Thursday was a fairly normal day, but included some happy hour on the ocean. Seriously, can’t complain.

Today I moved my office (short move, but to one that’s less noisy), worked, and then headed out for the long weekend, woo hoo!

I drove up to Williamsburg – was supposed to meet up with a classmate of mine, but fate got in the way. So after grabbing a bite to eat, I headed home. Of course, so was every freaking tourist on the East Cost on their way to the beach. As a result, traffic SUCKED. Anyway, I’m stuck in this nasty backup, music blaring, and just dancing in my seat. A couple next to me roll down their windows and indicate for me to do the same, so I do. They proceed to ask me how I could be so happy stuck in traffic. I explain that since I’m not the CAUSE of the bad traffic, I’m not injured, my car isn’t wrecked, and I’m still going to get where I’m headed, there’s no reason to be mad. They smiled, cranked their music, and started car dancing too!

This weekend is going to be about house and yard work (finally getting around to the whole mulch thing), school work, time with my kids, and time alone with my guy. Can’t complain!

Unhappy Kuma hoping for some grilled eats too

Just love all the attitude this cat conveys
My girlfriend SW who works for a consulting firm sent me this – she knows how much I love to read, especially professional development books

When Your Normal Layover Spot is your Destination

FOOD

Spent half the week on the road, and that was not good on the food front. I was in Atlanta and the event I was at had fruit for breakfast, nothing I could eat for lunch, and nothing I could eat at the one dinner event at the Botanical Gardens. Apparently normal attendees fill out a form during registration to indicate any dietary preferences or restrictions, but since I was a guest speaker, I didn’t do that.

I was able to have one meal on my own and went do a place called Einstein’s. They had one vegan dish – roasted veggies served on a curried Israeli couscous. It was pretty awful. The veggies had zero seasoning and the couscous was just nasty and hard.

To be fair, the carrots were good. The rest – sucked

I was back in the office on Thursday and had lunch with my friend J. I bought Girl Scout cookies from his daughter months ago, but we hadn’t had time to get together. I took him to my fav Thai place – he’d never been before – and had a really great time.

Thursday night I took my kids and BS out for pizza and pool. Well, they played pool and I studied until food game. It was A’s 24th bday the next day, so she got a serenaded to dessert.

Loved this walking into the pizza place. Undergrad from ODU, graduate from UVA, and I was in the Navy!
Synthesizing down my themes from my research materials – with a Bold Rock cider!

Friday I made a huge back of butternut squash red curry that’ll be meals for days. For dinner my guy and I went out and we had olives and I got a mushroom risotto.

Today has been mostly just snacks. Fruit, crackers and hummus. That kind of stuff.

FITNESS

Only got one run in, and that was yesterday morning. I didn’t pack workout clothes – if I had, I would’ve need to check my bag and I didn’t want to do that. I also started not feeling so hot on Tuesday. I think it’s just sinuses, but still. Ugh.

LIFE

Been a busy, but good week. I flew out early on Monday to Atlanta. You know what’s funny, I’ve flown through Atlanta more times than I can count – but it’s been since 2004 that it was a destination (another work thing). Funny – not just a layover spot!

Before I went, I made lunches for R for the days I was going to be gone. Just sammiches because everyone HATES making them. But since I went to bed early the night before and missed Game of Thrones, I was carrying my iPad around to watch it while getting ready to head to the airport. Didn’t finish until I was in Atlanta.

A chauffeur met me at the airport – that was new! Walking up on someone with an iPad displaying my last name. It was nice and he took me to my hotel. I got settled and went for a walk. Then went back to my room to work and study before the welcoming reception, which was really fun.

Kids wanted a picture. They’re funny

The next day was several sessions including the panel I was on to discuss blockchain in healthcare. It was a really great discussion since this time the audience were all healthcare leaders. We’re historically a slow-to-adopt industry, so it’s fun to be on the cutting edge of something that excites others. And yes, I’m a nerd.

That evening was the event at the Botanical Gardens. The theme was Alice in Wonderland, and it was so neat. But the best part was seeing E! I hadn’t since our grad school reunion over a year ago.

I absolutely adore Chihuly – so was thrilled to see this at the gardens

The next day had some more sessions and then came home. Had some time to kill so walked some more and then got a quick manicure before my ride to the airport.

Cucumber-basil mojito at the airport

I got home literally just in time for my live class at 8pm. Then work and normal routines the next day (not that anything about my life is routine!). Luna decided to stand above my laptop and “watch” class. If my camera was one, my classmates literally just would’ve seen a kitty snoot. She also liked to bat at the cursor as it moved along.

Friday night I spent with my guy after going out for a bit. Early night though since we were both pretty drained from the week. Today Mateo and the boys went to the movies and I mainly studied. I have another ~3 weeks to get my research topic approved. I’m close – but not there yet. The focus now is on the research objectives and research questions I expect my research to address. So – no pressure 😳.

Tomorrow is all studying all day as those research deliverable are due. Then packing and off to Boston on Monday for a quick trip – back late on Tuesday.

So I literally have a stack of notebooks from various vendors and events on a bookshelf at home. A new one for the collection!
I did sneak out to an Italian coffee shop for some much needed java.

My curly peeps get just how real this is.
My study buddy. She’s low maintenance.

She Devil

FOOD

Lunch on Monday I went out and had tofu green curry! Shocker, I know. Dinner was beer and popcorn 🙂

Met my guy after work for a couple beers since we hadn’t seen each other much lately

Tuesday I had a day road trip for work. I stopped at Wegman’s in Woodbridge, VA for a breakfast salad. On the way home I admit – I stopped at Taco Bell. Traffic was a nightmare and I just wanted to get home! (It was 8 hrs of driving + 2 hrs of meetings). I generally dislike anything fast food quite a lot since there’s literally no nutritional value at all and helps contribute to the widening waistlines of the world, I do admit sometimes (tho rarely) it’s the only option. Had I used my normal purse, I’d have had granola bars in it that I would’ve had instead.

Wednesday I had a salad for brunch from our new Wegman’s. I have to say – I may not need to go to Whole Foods ever again! One of my big complaints about the Virginia Beach Whole Foods is that their salad bar rarely has any vegan proteins on it, like tofu or tempeh. Wegman’s does. It was awesome. While I didn’t snap a pick, I had a breakfast salad there on my way home this morning also.

Other meals this week were grilled fun, smoothies, pizza, and about half of this awesome burrito made with Impossible meat! Also baked some banana bread for the kidlets.

Never had this one before, but I really liked it

Quick lunch at Brixx pizza! Love they have vegan cheese options

FITNESS

Managed to squeeze in two runs and one bedroom yoga session (and no, that’s not a euphemism – I really did a yoga class in my bedroom).

LIFE

When I got home from my residency Monday morning (about 1am), I discovered that my boyfriend came over and installed my new dishwasher as a surprise! Mine died a bit ago, and I frankly got tired of hand washing them. It was an amazing surprise.

On the school front, it was a bit chaotic, but lower intensity than normal. My guess is our professors were giving our brains a chance to relax after residency last week.

On the work front, it was really busy, but good. Tuesday I had a day trip to DC to speak about blockchain in healthcare to a Federal Services advisory group. It was a really excellent discussion and a lot of fun.

Though, as I’m stuck on 395 trying to get out of the city, I check Facebook. And what do I see? This post from my sister. FYI, she lives in Wisconsin…

So I text her. And SHE WAS IN DC AT THE SAME TIME AS ME. Most disconnected sibling award goes to….? US. Ugh. Good thing I’ll be in Chicago in a couple weeks and will drive up to see her. Because I’m a good sister 😏. All kidding though, I live 3 1/2 hrs from DC and there’s no way she’d think I’d be there mid-week when she’s only there overnight. But still. Crazy.

Busy week otherwise. Work and a plumber to install a new kitchen sink. All good things though. Oh, and I also figured out how to use my pressure washer on Wednesday! Been sitting in my shed for 2 years unused. Last year I just hired someone, but its silly to have one and not use it. And I was sick of the pollen, so M and I figured it out (YouTube helped). Which means I was able to enjoy my coffee on the back porch this week!

Friday night my guy and I went out to one of our fav spots. Saturday morning I went home and worked on school stuff for most of the day. My girls went to some curiosity fair together in the morning and also picked up some plants for the garden. After they got home, we went out to get the remainder of the plants and then A finished all the planting!

Late that afternoon went back, we went out to dinner, and then up to the Eastern Shore to our fav cider place. It’s actually in Richmond, but they have a tasting room on the bay too, and that’s closer. Not as much selection since it’s not where the ciders are brewed, but still awesome.

And funny enough – we ran into one of my girlfriends and her husband! My guys son always says I have friends everywhere (I’m a lucky girl), but even this was funny. So they joined us and then we went to a distillery for a couple drinks before going back home. Awesome night.

My fav! The Resolution
The She Devil. Also good, and VERY spicy

I hit up the grocery on my way home this morning and have otherwise had a really peaceful Sunday and lovely Mother’s Day with my kids! I got a spa gift card for a Mother’s Day package (massage, facial, hair appt), and a beautiful crystal lotus. I have a love of them – after all I have a tattoo of one on my inner arm. It has a very personal meaning for me, so I’m totally thrilled with it.

Spotted on my drive to DC. I admit – I don’t get the appeal of trucks like this unless you have a business that requires hauling heavy stuff!

My morning java on my guys porch yesterday!

Lazy bear staring at us upstairs but not wanting to put in the effort to join us

BS made a playlist he shared – so I was jamming to it while making banana bread today!
I feel like I should make business cards with this and just hand them out to people when they learn I’m vegan

Will be another busy week. I fly out tomorrow morning for another blockchain panel discussion, but this time for a healthcare audience. I’m excited to see one of my girlfriends who lives where I’m heading – she’ll be my date on Tuesday night at an event at the Botanical Gardens!

What Kind of Residency is in a Hotel???

FOOD

It’s been a good week, though quite busy. Nothing new there!

Sunday I got to have brunch at one of my FAV spots ever in VA Beach – the Bee and Biscuit. One of my girlfriends from grad school was in town with her family, and we met up for brunch. I had a sangria and a crush and the dirty hippie wrap (sans avocado – stupid allergy).

I made vegan “butter chicken” with soy curls in the Instant Pot. And grilled veggie dogs and veggies one night too.

On Thursday morning I flew out for my first doctoral residency. So – I was largely at the mercy of what the hotel buffets had for me. Surprisingly, breakfast always included steel cut oat and soy milk, so that was never an issue. Lunches varied. Day 1 was great – lots of chickpeas to load up on my salad. Day 2 – not so much. Dinners, won’t lie – were mostly of the liquid variety with one exception where food included a lovely mushroom risotto and a salad from a local private club that one of my classmates took a couple of us to.

I wanted to like these. Alas…

Pineapple Jalapeño Margarita!

FITNESS

I had a couple runs early in the week, but none while in school. I didn’t want to check a bag – and frankly knew I wouldn’t run anyway while in Florida.

I should have done some yoga though – my neck and shoulders are now killing me

LIFE

Well, it’s been a crazy busy week for sure. I know that’s pretty typical, and this was even crazier.

Week kicked off with brunch where I got to not only see one of my great friends, but her little princess who I totally adore. Then it was home, nap with Kuma, and then school work the rest of the day.

I got up. She didn’t…

Monday-Wednesday were the normal work, kids, school days. Thursday though – that’s when my week got interesting.

I had my first residency for my doctoral program this past Thursday – Sunday. I had an early flight on Thursday and the fun kicked off pretty much as soon as I landed. I met up with 3 other classmates in the airport and we rode together to the hotel. Then it was sessions on IRB processes (institutional review board – basically the process to get your research approved), academic honesty, etc.

We had classes from 8am-6pm (ish) every day. It was intense. And amazing. And I think my brain melted often while there, but I honestly loved every minute of it. I left knowing my topic is on track for approval by the end of the term, and that is such a relief. It’s not actually approved – but my advisor is pleased with the progress to date, so I am too.

It was also really awesome to spend time with my classmates. My cohort has 11 people, and they’re all pretty amazing.

One of the girls from Accounting program jumped in with us – plus our advisor

I had a late flight home Sunday, got a couple hours of sleep, and back to the office today!

On a side note, my mother texted me sometime while I was there (not sure, the days all ran together). We don’t really talk all that often, so she was asking questions about what I was doing when I mentioned being at a residency. At one point she asked where I was, and I said I was at a nice hotel in Jacksonville. To which she says “what kind of residency is in a hotel?!?!”. So I explained it to her – just like with my MBA where I was jetting all over the world, it’s a business degree. We converge in a hotel for in person classes and immersion. I guess she thought because my background is medical (though I haven’t worked clinically since 2001!), that my residency would be in a hospital. Oh well.

And as wonderful as the residency experience was (and it REALLY was – I’m freakishly motivated), I’m so glad to be home. This girl needs a nap. Preferably one that lasts a few days….

Cute seeing both fluffs napping with my eldest

These two are SO sweet. Luna grooms Kuma, and it’s adorable.

I found the need to directions strange…

An Onion As Big As My Head

FOOD

Simple couple days on the food front. Breakfasts have mostly been fruit or a smoothie. Nothing new there.

Wednesday I made BBQ tofu (Marinated pressed and cubed tofu in some soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, air fried for 15 minutes, then tossed with BBQ sauce), mushroom risotto, and salads.

Couldn’t get over the size of this onion!

Thursday I had planned to make Indian, but ended up having really late meetings and didn’t get home until 630pm. So it was leftovers.

Took the black bean spread from taco Tuesday and made a taco spud

Friday was a “fend for yourself” night since everyone was busy. I had wine and olives 🙃

And of course I had a few other meals too!

Homemade hummus and veg

Leftover red beans and rice at work one day
Awesome Impossible Burrito at a Tex mex place we like.

FITNESS

Only got 1 run in the past 4 days. Yesterday I got rained out, and the other days I was just slammed with school stuff.

LIFE

Work has been busy, but school has been insane. My research topic is still too broad, so most of my free time is spent working on that. This term is all about getting my topic approved, and thankfully I’m on the right track – but it’s still intense. I have my first residency next week and I’m excited.

Last night was a ton of fun. My guy and I go out most Friday’s, but last night we were joined by one of my classmates and her husband. LOTS of wine was had!

This morning I got home, took a nap, and cleaned. Then it was off to see Avengers: Endgame! Unfortunately A couldn’t go since she works nights and needed to sleep. But the rest of us did and it was honestly perfect. Lots of laughs, tears, and yelling out ‘holy sh!t!’. What more can you want from a flick?

Kuma napped with me!

One of my grad school girlfriends is in town this weekend, and the plan is to get together for brunch tomorrow. Then spend the day writing, Fun times!

I may need this…