Solo Date Night for the Win

FOOD

Went to a local Italian restaurant for a work dinner last Wednesday. I hadn’t been there in 14 years, but I remember them having the absolute best broccoli ever. So we got the table a side order of it (I had a yummy pasta dish), and everyone agreed – still the best broccoli!

Literally broccoli magic

I made a yummy Dijon “pasta” Alfredo with shirataki noodles and broccoli. The Alfredo is literally silken tofu, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard. SO good.

A simple Beyond Meat Brat for a quick meal

Friday night I went on a solo date (more on that later), and stopped at a spot downtown for some wine and plantains

Snacks at the robotics competition included fresh berries

Yesterday I stopped for Thai. And – wait for it – I did NOT get Tofu Green Curry! Instead I got some coconut curry soup with tofu and some steamed tofu rolls (though I couldn’t finish them)

Today I had a work lunch – Greek salad, but since it was with a vendor, I didn’t take a picture 😂. For dinner I made a tofu stir fry with cubed tofu and Konjac noodles in coconut oil and finished with low-sodium soy sauce. Not fancy, but very tasty.

FITNESS

Runs rule the day! Also some spinning, HIIT, and I’m back at hot yoga! it’s been too long, and I’ve signed up for a challenge at my old studio that should have me there at least 3x per week for a month. My stress has been sky high – and anxiety too – which I never get – so that was telling me I needed to get my butt back on the mat. That said – I forgot how incredibly butt kicking it is!

LIFE

As usual, busy – but not freakishly so.

I forgot to mention in my last post two cool things. One was – went to my first Advisory Board meeting! In case you missed it, I’ve accepted a volunteer appointment on the Human Services Board in my city – we advise the city council on matters concerning youth, elderly, and special needs.

The other cool thing is I went to my very first alumni event from my undergrad. It was a wine and app event held at a store – local start up called the Hamilton Perkins Collection – from another ODU grad. They make sustainable bags, but do cool stuff like provide the bags for Coachella this year. I met the founder about 3 years ago in the local start-up community, so it is so cool to see them have a store. He also roped me into being on his podcast in 2 weeks 😳.

Last week was pretty chill actually. Friday I had no plans, my eldest was working, my middle had plans with his friends, and my youngest was on her way to a robotics event out of town. So – solo date night! First I got my nails done, and then I decided to go to a play, and it was so good! It’s called The Play That goes Wrong. It’s basically a play within a play, and it was absolutely hilarious. I splurged for the “Stage Left” lounge before hand for cocktails and apps. https://broadwaygoeswrong.com. The evening itself was wonderful. I had my Kindle to read while at the restaurant and the lounge, and just enjoyed the time alone. I foresee many more of these in my future as my school load lessens.

I got home much later than I’m used to – and was unamused that Kuma took my spot. She’s cute though, so there’s that at least.

Saturday morning I drove up to Richmond where R was having her robotics competition. I didn’t go Friday since there were no spectator events – it’s the kids in the pits putting their bots together. M came up too. They did well, though didn’t advance past the day and a half of qualification rounds. My girlfriend H came on Sunday, along with her husband and their two kids. It was a lot of fun and the kids all did great.

That’s our bot!

Saturday night M and I went out – first to Buskey’s for some cider and chess, and then to Fat Dragon for Chinese food. R stays with her team at a separate hotel.

I won one (because M as helping me) and he won one (because he stopped helping me), but it was a ton of fun!

The past few weeks have been stressful and leaving me feeling pretty anxious often. Personal stuff. The good news is some decisions have been made, and while sad, it is the right decision and the anxiety is gone now. Time will tell, but all I can do is move forward and enjoy life as it comes!

On an exciting front, I submitted my very final edits for my doctoral work (pre-research), and they have been approved! Going through final review now, and if that’s approved, off to IRB! With any luck, I’ll be starting my research by April, if not the last week in March!

So the conference I was supposed to go to in Orlando did end up getting canceled. Definitely bummed, but also was the right call. No one needs to be traveling during all this COVID-19 uncertainly. That said though – I’m working from home this week. Too much going on emotionally to feel productive in the office, and a very light meeting schedule since I was supposed to be away. Definitely getting a lot of good work done at home though.

Oreogate

FOOD

Oddly, not many food pics.

Before my flight on Monday, my guy and I went out to lunch at a new to us place. Burger and bourbon joint, but has the Beyond Burger. Was a little hole in the wall near the oceanfront area. Nice to try, but not a place we’re likely to go again. Food was okay, but not awesome. Didn’t even get a pic.

While in Chicago, the catering company did their best, and breakfast was yummy. Lunch was never vegan, but I had two great dinners – one Italian with the work crew and one Italian with my sister and her fam!

Last Friday was a ramen lunch date with my guy.

Saturday afternoon was Pho and dinner was Chinese. My guys fav Chinese restaurant now has a dedicated vegan menu, and I had the pineapple tofu teriyaki and it was amazing! That was also my dinner on Sunday.

Sunday was a family brunch, and I had my sorbet mimosas (with coconut rum of course!) and the hummus lettuce wraps.

Monday I stopped for Thai and got fresh rolls and Tom Kha Tofu soup before a meeting. No dinner.

Lunch today was edamame and veg sushi (broccoli and sweet potato).

FITNESS

Mostly runs, but also the gym yesterday and today for my HIIT class. Yesterday was very intense and I loved it. HR monitor says just over 700 calories burned in an hour. Yes please! Today I was pretty exhausted (only 2 hrs of sleep last night), so I was NOT feeling it. Did it anyway though, so there’s that.

LIFE

Another good and busy week. Chicago meetings were great. They really are my fav group of people. Old Fashions and Manhattans were had!

Wednesday the meetings ended at 1pm, and I went up to Milwaukee to first visit my mom and then see my sister on her 50th birthday! It was great to see them all. It was snowing by the time I got back to my hotel in Chicago, which caused some flight delays on Thursday morning, but nothing major. Still home in plenty of time.

Thursday afternoon I dropped off a library book and picked up R. We were supposed to have a private tour of a new robotics facility in our area – but there were wicked storms and we had to reschedule. So we stopped at Moe’s. Main power was out, but they still had emergency power, so it was kinda fun. She was still hungry after eating, so she went back through the line. Apparently got chatting with people and was offered a job. So – my 16 y/o now has a job and starts next Sunday!

On Friday, I’m back in the office, and this thread happens with my children. See – Monday before my afternoon flight, I went to the grocery store to ensure plenty of food and lunch snacks….Oreogate ensued.

Saturday morning R had a hair appt. I sat in the Starbucks next door with a soy latte and a book!

Saturday evening was at my guys house. We normally stay in on Saturday’s, but the boys had plans, so we went out for Chinese. And then watched the single most intense basketball game I have ever seen (Duke vs UNC). Sunday was fam brunch where, among other things, my eldest daughter and my boyfriend did a breakfast shot. Then I bought many, many Oreos.

Yesterday morning R had a Dr’s appt and then I had meetings at a coffee shop in Norfolk that an acquaintance of mine owns. It was 1pm, so tea for me. But it was a great time. Then gym, then home.

Today I was in the office really early because I had to leave early for a derm appt to make sure the skin cancer scar is healing well – and it is. Did provide an opportunity for coffee with the guy though, so that was nice.

Or any clinical job. I was crazy (ED) and then dead people…

Whiskey and Goats

FOOD

Whew 2 weeks! So crazy how time flies.

Eats have been typical. I made a few soups, definitely some curry happening too. Okay a LOT of Thai food the past two weeks. #notsorry

I had a quick overnight work trip, and dinner out in the downtown Charlottesville area. Delicious brussel sprout salad and a butternut squash farro salad. Apparently this is a table service place where people share – but since I was the only vegan I really wasn’t sharing any of the other dishes, but I did share what I ordered.

This morning I had brunch with my boyfriend – an Acai berry bowl that was delicious.

For lunch, hung out with LC – and it’s been nearly a year since we saw each other. She has been eating vegan for about a month, so we hit up The Bumbling Bee. It’s an all vegan spot in Virginia Beach. I would definitely classify the offerings as comfort food. Burgers, chicken sandwiches, reubens, mac and cheese, etc. I got the Irishman corned beef – turns out it was a sammich and not a stew (which is what I thought I was getting) and a side of mac. L got a bacon chicken ranch burger with fries. We got an order of cauliflower wings.

Unfortunately, my food came out a good 10 minutes before the rest. The cauliflower was supposed to be an appetizer. Oh well. The cauliflower wasn’t bad – but could only really eat one. The mac was not great, so I didn’t eat it. The sammich was pretty good and I had a little more than half. L said her sammich was really great.

All told – I wasn’t really impressed. I appreciate an all vegan spot – I really do – and maybe what I ordered just wasn’t the best (though the server said the Irishman was her second favorite thing and I just can’t see that). The food is also really heavy – so not something I could eat regularly anyway.

FITNESS

More of the same – though more runs than gym just because of time. In some pretty dire need of yoga though.

LIFE

Been a busy two weeks. Last week was short in the office. Off Monday due to MLK day and R and I coming back from Boston. In the office on Tuesday and Wednesday, then in a class Thursday and Friday. The class is a start-up/entrepreneur course for Active Duty, Reservists, and Vets. It was really good and found out about a ton of resources I didn’t even know I had.

Saturday was a benefit for my friend’s nonprofit organization – Military Mobility. M and I went to support that for a few ours, then I stopped at my bf’s house to watch a movie and then go home.

Monday was a normal work day. Tuesday was one meeting and then on the road to Charlottesville. Had a work dinner and then meetings and lunch the next day and home by 4. Thursday was a normal work day, and that night my guy and I went out and I stayed at his place.

Friday I worked from home in the morning before another class, and then cocktails after with my friend AM (who was one of the teachers of the class). As school winds down, I really do want to focus on my start-up or 2 that I have percolating in my brain for the last year or so.

Saturday was the gym, a quick visit to see my guy, then tons of errands. My youngest had plans last night to go ice skating with a boy who is a hockey player. So I took her and picked her up, and in between went to my office to work on my dissertation. Long story, but Grammarly has a file size limit, and mine is too big. The Mac version doesn’t have the Word plugin, but the Windows one does. Had to hit the office for that, but I got it done, so that felt great!

This morning was brunch with bf and then lunch with LC, and now laundry, cooking, cleaning, packing, and writing. I head to Chicago tomorrow for a few days – but I’m excited because I’ll get to spend my sister’s birthday with her Wednesday evening!

Oh – quick update on this year’s “project food” – whiskey. It’s going quite well! So I stared with the Wiki page in how to drink it – which meant neat, possibly with a dropper of water, or on ice. That didn’t work so well for me. What has worked well, though, are mixed drinks! I’m enjoying Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, New York Sour (which is a whiskey sour with red wine tossed in for fun), and have had a couple others as well. At my work dinner, my dining companion is a big Japanese whiskey drinker, so I got introduced to that, and was quite pleased. So we’ll see!

Other random fun pics

It’s like Luna doesn’t think Kuma should be left alone because she does silly things like sleep in ridiculously awkward positions.

So my eldest makes these exact faces! Especially the one on the bottom right. Which is the exact face she made when she found out about the boy taking R ice skating….

A spot my bf and I like in Charlottesville. Haven’t been in ages though!

Boston Adventures!

FOOD

Well, it was all restaurant and travel eats over the long weekend as R and I were in Boston.

Friday night was a salad I forgot to snap a pic of. Very yummy though – reminiscent of a wedge salad, but a vegan version.

Saturday brunch I had an arugula salad and mint tea before our adventures began.

Dinner was around 315 and was a veggie burger and spring rolls at the museum.

Sunday we went to brunch in Salem at a place called Flying Saucer Pizza. They have a huge vegan menu. I got baked cauliflower and vegan Mac. They were only ok so only had a few bites of each.

For dinner, we went to Lee’s Burgers on the recommendation of my son M. When he as 15 he went to boston with my now ex-husband to go to PAX East. They stopped and he has amazing memories and really wanted us to go. So we did. I had a Beyond burger patty on a salad.

Monday it was time to head home. Only eats was a veggie sub from Subway. Ate half for lunch and the other half for dinner.

Not overly exciting, but wasn’t bad either. Glad to be home to my kitchen though!

FITNESS

None other than the walking R and I did over the weekend. Hitting up the gym today after work though.

LIFE

Well, R and I spent the long weekend in Boston! Our plans (as we thought of anyway) were as follows:

  • Freedom Trail hike – about 2 miles and covers 16 historical sites
  • Deadmou5 concert on Saturday
  • Tim Burton trivia and wandering in Salem on Sunday

We got into town late on Friday, so it was just eating and in the hotel.

Saturday was a ton of fun, though only 1 of the 3 planned things ended up happening!

After brunch in the hotel we went to the Museum of Science, where we stayed for 5 hours. We went into the butterfly exhibit, which was neat. Lots of pretty butterflies roaming around. We hit up all the exhibits in the “blue” wing, including a really cool show on lightening. Towards the end, we did the Explore the Universe presentation in the planetarium, which was really cool. That ended and the place was closing, so we missed all the “green” wing exhibits, but still had a blast.

So. Deadmou5. That show was at the House of Blues on Saturday. I bought tickets several days before we went. Here’s the thing. I didn’t read the fine print – it’s an 18+ show. So, I figure I’ll take my 16 yr old to Sephora and ask them to make her look 18! However – while she was getting ready for the day, I called and there’s a 100% ID check to get in. I said we traveled from VA and she forgot hers – was told too bad. Dang.

So we shifted our plans and went to the Celtics game! It was her first NBA game (honestly, only my 4th – the other 3 were provided by vendors). We had a really good time.

It snowed Saturday night, which was kind of fun.

Sunday we drove up to Salem for the Tim Burton Trivia event – which was a total blast. We came in 6th out of 13th. Not awesome, but pretty respectable. Our final score was 100. The lowest team was 22, and the top was 118. But most important, we had such a fun time. Then we wandered around Salem for a bit, and went back to the hotel where we watched both Alice in Wonderland movies and then largely packed up.

Sunday we had a private tour of the Amazon Robotics facility! Our very dear friend MM (who retired from the Navy last summer), started working for Amazon in November, and he’s in charge of automation of their supply chain. Being hyper supportive of R’s robotics activities and her desire to study engineering, he hooked this up for her. He also happened to be flying in for 2 days of meetings, and got there not long after our tour ended, so we waited so we could see him before hitting the road. She was flying so high after that, it was great.

So the drive up was totally uneventful, and other than one minor 20 minute backup in Connecticut due to an accident, it was smooth sailing. Not so on the way home. Beginning in Connecticut and through NY, traffic was shite. A combo of major sun glare and craptastic traffic, we were delayed nearly 3 hours and didn’t get home until midnight. We chatted a lot about robotics, mythology, space, and a few other topics though, so the drive still flew by. All told, we had an amazing weekend!

She missed me 😊

Time Flies!

FOOD

I swear, I blink and it’s been 10 days since my last post!

So – some normal eats. Pasta out with R.

Quick lunch date where I got a soup and salad.

A ramen lunch date.

My guy making me homemade spaghetti with Gardein crumbles. (With leftovers for a work lunch!)

A yummy salad at drag brunch.

Beyond Burger at a brewery with my son.

Whole Foods soup and salad bar.

Build your own pizza at a local place (they have vegan cheese!) with my kids.

And another salad.

FITNESS

More of the same! HIIT classes and a few runs because we had gorgeous weather.

LIFE

Well hell – been 10 days. My guess is because my school term started and I’ve been quite busy between that and work. The holiday lull is definitely over!

Went out with a friend to catch up and grab cocktails.

Got to spend quite a bit of time with my boyfriend, which was nice. Even if it was just a quick lunch. Spent the night last Saturday. We watched basketball and a movie, and then went to a drag brunch at our wine bar and had a fun time. The bartender knows us and made us fun breakfast drinks. After, we went out for coffee and I headed home.

My son and I went to Cape Charles for a bit so he could do a whiskey tasting at the distillery and then we stopped at the brewery for an early dinner and went home.

On the totally awesome and amazing side – my eldest is graduating from nursing school in a few weeks! She just passed her last major exam and is doing her preceptorship now. The rest of the time is prep for her board exam. I am so incredibly proud of her!

This weekend I’m with the young one in Boston. More to come I’m sure in the next post!

My Dog is a Stalker (and that’s okay)

FOOD

Monday was a Thai lunch date where I had….wait for it….tofu green curry! I had a quick protein shake after my workout, and a tofu taco salad for dinner – sparse on the tofu since my brat children barely left me any. I guess that’s a good problem to have!

Yesterday was tea, spicy tofu soup with bell peppers, onions, green beans, and cauliflower rice. Dinner was a family dinner out. R and I split an order of edamame, and I also grabbed a side salad. Though to be fair, the side salad was pretty big. Though I forgot a pic of it.

FITNESS

Gym both Monday and Tuesday.

I really do love this HIIT program. Monday was full body + abs. Yesterday was chest + triceps. Today – everything is sore! In the HIIT room, they have a board where they post the week. Every day rotates each week, so if you never workout on Friday’s (which is my scheduled day off since I usually have Friday evening plans), I may miss plyometrics this week, but next week it could be legs and shoulders. That way, you’re never unbalanced. Though I hate plyometrics, so I’m not sad to miss it this week!

There’s always a warm up and cool down. And what they don’t show is the reps, the laps, and the times. For this month, the goal is endurance, so it’s 3 reps and 1 lap (there are 15 exercises). You work for 55 seconds, and then rest for 20. Last month was power, where exercises were 35 seconds and rest was 25. I have to say, I love the way it changes up every day and then again every month – can’t get bored that way.

Oh, and both days I got my locker 139 back 😏

Find it a bit disconcerting that my phone maps knew where I was going yesterday morning – despite me not telling it!

LIFE

Monday was low key at work. Meaning no meetings other than an impromptu call with a friend from another health system.

I left the office and went to the gym. Got home, showered, and made dinner. Then R and I went over to the library where we ran into an old friend S and her son. Of course I’m in my pajamas, but that wasn’t a big deal. S and I used to hit the bars in pajamas!

Me reading at the library while waiting on R to find her books

Tuesday I worked from home because I had a car appointment in the middle of the day. I don’t live that close to work, and I’d have lost more time driving back and forth than just working at home.

While I was waiting for my car, I was reading the news. Saw that there was snow in Charlottesville. I happen to be heading there in a few weeks and was texting my girlfriend who lives there.

My eldest and I picked R up from robotics at 5, and then headed to meet M, my boyfriend, and his boys for dinner. It was a nice time, as always.

Kuma always stands there like a stalker when we drive away without her…

But guess what I did?! I ordered my first whiskey drink ever! And you know what? It was good! My best friend and her husband were very pleased with me 🙂

Today I’m off. I have a bunch of appointments, so just took a vacation day to get it all done. Dentist, surgeon post op check, and letting Raven play with my hair 🙂