Fireplace Season Has Begun!

FOOD

I was only home for a few days before another brief work trip.

While home had tofu green curry, a breakfast salad from Whole Foods, baked a loaf of bread, and made a rice and broccoli casserole.

Then it was off to Chicago for a quick overnight trip. Stopped for java at Stumptown Coffee before my meetings, and then had lunch at Sunda after, which consisted of sake, spicy edamame and vegan ramen.

Dinner that night was a group affair at the Little Goat Diner. They did make me vegan eats – I just wish they were good. I feel badly, because I could tell they really tried, but I just didn’t enjoy the meal. The company, however, was amazing, so that more than made up for it. And I was still full enough from lunch that it wasn’t a big deal to largely skip dinner.

Just shredded Brussels with lime juice. And a bit too much lime juice unfortunately. One bite, and I was done
Chickpea fritter was okay, but the red cabbage it sat on was amazing!
Mushroom pasta. Didn’t like the flavor combinations that included raisins and cinnamon.
Again with the raisins? Roasted Brussels with raisins and almonds. Didn’t take more than a bite.
Chocolate sorbet paired well with the red wine 😉🍷

The event had no vegan breakfast mains, which isn’t surprising. I had fruit and cashews, which was totally fine. Munched part of a Clif Bar too.

Lunch was a taco bar, which I really liked. Easy enough to make up something tasty.

Then it was back home! I grabbed Thai, but not at my usual place and got Tom ka and pad Thai, both with tofu. And since R and I were the only one’s home for dinner last night, so we went to YNot for some Italian yumminess.

FITNESS

Nothing in Chicago, but runs and a trip to the gym while home.

LIFE

I got home from Atlanta fairly late last Sunday night. Monday I spent some time with my guy before taking Luna to the vet. We’re trying probiotics, thinking the antibiotics killed off all the good bacteria in her belly, causing her poop issues. Fortunately, she’s still eating, drinking, playing, and stealing my spot in bed!

I worked from home on Tuesday. R didn’t have school, so it was nice to spend the day, even though most of mine was at my desk, with the exception of going to vote! Then it was cooking, martini’s, packing and heading to bed for a morning flight.

Chicago was cold. Like grossly cold, and for that reason, I’m not looking forward to heading back in a few days! Ugh. Otherwise the trip was great. Was part of an Innovation “bootcamp” with several other organizations for a day of sharing what we’re each going through in building innovation programs as well as sharing best practices. I really enjoyed it and met some very groovy people.

Walked past 2 of these. Can’t help but wonder how long they’ll actually be around considering the massive $ loss and issues they’re having

Getting as bundled as I could before heading to morning meetings!

Got home late on Thursday night, and then to the office for meetings on Friday. This weekend will be all about school and cleaning and kids before I had to Chicago again on Tuesday! At least this time I’ll get a chance to see family.

Kuma and me hanging by the fireplace this morning! Cold has come to VA. Ugh.

Gift from my boyfriend for my bday. I’m a big fan of this album
Drinking tea for the first time from the cup, and it did cool stuff when it got hot!
Just a silly exchange with my guy when I was coming home from Atlanta

Still a Whiskey Conspiracy and Doctoral Fun

FOOD

Still been on the road since my last post. I had another day in Vegas and the highlight for sure was dinner at the speakeasy Beauty & Essex.

My last morning I found a açaí bowl that I ate just before my last meeting of the conference! Though it was with DB, who is one of my favorites.

Then it was off to Atlanta until today (I’m sitting in the airport killing time and waiting to go home!). It was my doctoral residency so most food was in the hotel. Breakfast was oatmeal, lunch was whatever they had – typically a salad, though one day was much more dynamic. Dinner one day was with K and I had the vegan grit bowl. Second day was with K and our advisor Dr. J, and I had the red and white quinoa bowl with tofu.

Saturday I got out of the hotel and hit up ATL with my girlfriend E. Stopped at the Wrecking Bar first for some flights of in house brews, then The Porter for a Beyond burger and their signature salt and vinegar popcorn (which is totally worth the hype!).

FITNESS

In Vegas I walked. In ATL, I did yoga and my daily burn app. Nothing fancy, but hell, 10 days on the road and I’m thrilled with what I managed!

LIFE

Oh hell, where to start? Left the HLTH conference in Vegas energized and excited, but nervous too. Excited about all that’s going on in the space to truly disrupt my industry. Nervous because the disrupters are the outsiders – and that can be a problem for those entities that aren’t willing to adapt. The next 5-10 years will be really fun to watch.

I got to my Atlanta hotel around midnight on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. The trip is for my very final residency in my doctoral program. I will admit, the experienced was mixed. There are only 2 of us left from our initial cohort (me and K), and while we all keep in touch with the original crew, we are a bit on our own.

This trip was supposed to focus on specific skills to aid in the research process. K and I are both done with all coursework, etc, so what we really have coming up is IRB approval, research, writing, and (hopefully) graduate. So this trip was to focus on tactical skills to get to graduation – like interviewing, site permissions, and going over all the detailed elements we need to know. And while we got some of that, our professor (and there were only 5 of us in total, K and I in the lead cohort with Strategy & Innovation, and 3 others who are behind us in various areas of Leadership and HR), liked way too much to pontificate on things that were entirely irrelevant. All told, it was valuable, but not nearly as much as it could/should have been. I mean really….making us work on creating a mission statement on how we are the “leaders of our own dissertation project”? UGH. All that aside, I got enough to where I’m super jazzed to get going. I submit to IRB at the end of this month, which is totally insane. There is a distinct chance that I start my research before Christmas. It moves up my timetable somewhat, but I’m still so very excited!

Thursday night after class K and I grabbed drinks (SHE DRINKS WHISKEY AND I SWEAR IT’S A CONSPIRACY) and dinner, and it was to bed pretty early.

Friday night after class we had dinner (and a fair amount of very good wine) with our current mentor.

Saturday night after class was all about time with E (WHO ALSO LIKES WHISKEY). Also my youngest R did a cybersecurity scavenger hunt thing at a local community college and got second place!

And today was class and then off to the airport to wait relatively patiently for my flight. And people watch. And I desperately wanna give this woman a makeover…

And while this entire trip has been very productive, I am beyond ready to get home to the ones I love!

Other fun stuff for your viewing pleasure.

Getting prepped to hand out candy on halloween!

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.