Jambo Friends!!

FOOD

What a busy week! Mostly excellent on the food front too.

Of course smoothies, salads, and my sunbutter/banana sprouted grain toast. But I also had a vegan houseguest for the past 4 days, so that was fun too!

I made a big batch of rice and lentil stuffed bell peppers for the week.

Thursday I made red beans with vegan andouille sausage, rice, and corn bread. Forgot to snap a pic of it tho!

For a BBQ party on Friday I made a big batch of pasta salad and a southwestern spicy rice salad that both went over well.

Saturday morning NS (my friend and guest visiting all the way from Kenya!) and I went to Yorgo’s Bageldashery where I shared my fav quick vegan breakfast – the Peterman wrap – and some fresh juices.

Sunday morning a bunch of us grabbed brunch at Bay Local where we split a hummus appetizer and a hummus/veg lettuce wrap. He also had avocado toast – which I skipped due to the whole allergy crap.

Sunday night I made orange “chicken” with soy curls. It was amazing if I do say so myself.

Smoothies this morning, and then a last lunch outing before taking NS to the airport. We went to Orapax because they have a huge vegan menu. We got a pizza to split as an appetizer (it wasn’t awesome), the Athenian “chicken” wrap to split (which was very good), and the Mediterranean Beyond Meat burger (which was ok), rosemary fries, and Greek potatoes. Holy stuffed, Batman. The beyond meat burger was a request because it is not available in Kenya. Neither of us were thrilled with it, so at least he knows he’s not missing out!

FITNESS

Gentle yoga and that’s it. It seemed to be getting better, and then over the weekend it sucked. Ugh. I’m literally to the point where I’m just going to go for a run and if I make it without wanting to cry, I’m good.

LIFE

Well, the week started off really busy. I had to get all my work AND school work done by mid-day Thursday. That meant a few late nights and early mornings and zero free time, but it was worth it fully.

Thursday evening NS arrived! One of our good friends was retiring from the Navy after more than 24 years of service (plus his naval academy years) and the masses were gathering. NS came as a surprise – and it was priceless. He and I had been planning for several months, and it was just perfect.

Thursday evening was quiet at home. My boyfriend and BS came over (they met NS in Florida last year) and them, NS, and two of mine hung out for a bit. Not late since NS had just traveled for 30 odd hours to get here, but it was still awesome.

Friday was the retirement ceremony, a ship tour (which I skipped – been there, stationed on them!), then swimming and drinks at my house until going to MM (our naval retiree honoree) for the BBQ with 60+ people. We got home around midnight and crashed.

My girl touring the ship with my friends

Saturday was a beach day followed by a sunset dolphin watching cruise – and there were TONS of dolphins. No awesome shots because the ride wasn’t smooth, but it really was awesome. I skipped the after party (I was wiped), but NS got to hang a bit longer and just uber’d back to my house.

If you look really closely, you can see dolphins

Sunday was brunch with some of the crew and then NS and I went grocery shopping then back to my house where we watched two of my fav veggie documentaries. NS has been pretty much a lifelong vegetarian, but went vegan at the beginning of the year (and LOVES it). We did a lot of Amazon prime shopping for things he can’t easily get back home and just spent a lot of time talking about changing how he cooks, etc. It was really fun to share what I’ve learned after the long time I’ve been vegan.

Sunday night was just dinner with me, NS, and all 3 of my kids. It was a ton of fun and hilarious and I loved that NS could share what a typical crazy dinner in my house is like. Lots of stories, jokes, music, and laughter.

Today was low key. We had our coffee on the back porch and talked – like we had every morning he was here. It is my favorite part of the morning – just sitting outside early and drinking coffee. He brought me two bags of coffee from Kenya, so we definitely indulged in that (the “right” way in a French press and not the drip maker!).

Our friend BR came over with 3 of his kids to visit for a while. Then it was off to lunch and then the airport to say goodbye – for now. I’m really hoping to take R and go visit next spring. Will depend on a few things of course, but I really want to see Kenya.

So – this is why I’ve been a bit absent this last week. It’s been a very busy and wonderful time, and I cannot get over how lucky I am to have so many great friends in my life.

Back to business this week, but with an incredibly happy heart.

Crissie the Dessert Fairy 🧚‍♀️

FOOD

It has been a really good week, and I was better than I have been in months on meal prep. Helps that I’m actually home and didn’t have classes, but still. Yay me.

Lots of smoothies.

I don’t use my Tribest personal blender often enough – but my Vitamix was dirty from making cake batter. I forget how good this little thing is – as long as I skip the greens

And I’m a huge fan of this quinoa bowl with a splash of coconut milk, blueberries, bananas, and sunflower seed butter.

Any longtime reader knows of my love of Ezekiel toast with sun butter and sliced bananas!

Since I had made a big batch of quinoa, I also had a black bean salad.

And some chickpea “fakin-tuna salad” wraps too.

Wednesday night my boyfriend and I and 3 of our kids went out to eat and I had pasta arrabbiata that I ate for dinner again later in the week.

Friday I had popcorn and dole whip – I know – not the healthiest, but I was at a theme park…

Saturday my guy and I went out and we shared a hummus platter and then I got a vegan chicken parm. Not the greatest presentation, but it was yummy – though the veggie side looked like a sad afterthought. Definitely more than I could eat, so took the leftovers back to his place for lunch the next day…which I forgot about 🤦🏻‍♀️

This morning we went out for breakfast. I had the tofu scramble, vegan sausages, dry toast, and grits. Ate about 1/2 again, but it was tasty. Their Bloody Mary, on the other hand, was NOT tasty. Tomato juice and sake. Eww….

FITNESS

Yoga, and not every day either. It’s killing me how badly I want to go for a run. Ugh. Stupid back.

LIFE

Overall, quite an excellent week. Tuesday I had my doctor’s appt for my back. Basically – she thinks the muscles have just seized up so badly, nothing is helping (ie – Motrin), and it is not resolving on its own. She put me on prednisone and flexeril. Though I have not taken the latter because it makes me loopy and I have no time for that. However, after being admonished yesterday by the guy, I guess I’ll take it maybe around bedtime. Though I don’t like the idea of being out of it then either – what if something happens and I’m too loopy to deal with it? Ugh. Stupid back.

Wednesday morning I had my labs drawn (figure I may as well get all my normal yearly labs done). Let’s just say when I got to the office the admin had to get me the first aid kit since I was still bleeding. Nothing the phlebotomist did wrong, I tend to have a low platelet count for some reason.

Thursday was the 4th of July, and the guy and his youngest came over for some grilling and pool time. It was really nice. They left early though, and I was in bed by 930!

Friday I stopped at my guys house in the morning briefly for another cake delivery (apparently the youngest didn’t get enough the last time – or maybe any, I’m not sure if the other 2 ate it all or not!). I’m starting to feel like the dessert fairy, though that’s okay. They’re worth it.

My coursework opened, and I got that organized. It’s going to be a busy term, but I’m looking forward to it. Last term before it’s strictly just research & writing until graduation.

In the afternoon around 3, R and I went to Busch Gardens to have fun and watch fireworks. Apparently the 2 days of only taking half of my meds didn’t work as well as I had thought they were. A few hours in and I was starting to hurt. Pushed through, but perhaps it was a bit premature to hike around for hours and ride rollercoasters! But the fireworks were beautiful and the company wonderful and made it all worthwhile.

Funny though, we got home late – around 1130 – and I notice the bathroom door in my bedroom is closed. Odd. I open it…to find this….M apparently was having fun home alone 🙂

Saturday morning was a nail appointment and then a couples massage, dinner, and then an afternoon of drinks and walking around and ogling at sailboats. Quite the awesome day.

This morning we woke early and went to breakfast. Then I studied a bit until the match started. It was tense, but awesome to see the US take another World Cup! Then it was time to go, hit up the store, and grab my eldest from the airport!

Sent this to my sister – who is a law librarian. 🤣🤣

Can I Get a Hell Yeah?

FOOD

So awesome having my kitchen again. I feel like I neglect her some when I’m home, but when I’m away, I miss her dearly!

I know it’s only been two days, but I’ve been a busy bee in the kitchen

Breakfast yesterday was some overnight oats made with coconut, cinnamon, and mango.

Lunch was a simple quinoa and black bean salad, and for dinner I made Kung Pao tofu with orange sauce.

This morning I had a qunioa dish with coconut milk, blueberries, banana, and sunflower seed butter that was really delicious.

Lunch I made a chickpea “not-tuna” salad wrap. Dinner was a lentil and kale soup that was not soupy at all and more of a stew.

FITNESS

Still just yoga but I was literally twitching to go on a run. Good think I have my Dr appt tomorrow because I’m going bananas.

When all better though, the young one and I are going to do some Muay Thai kickboxing! I used to do it ages ago, but it is really pricey. Single mom, I try to cut down on things like that, but got a great groupon deal, so we’re both really stoked!

LIFE

I had a really great and chill weekend. Will be the last one of those for a bit! Saturday I did the meal planning and grocery shopping and stopped at my boyfriends house for a little bit to visit. M had some friends over and they and R played in the pool while A looked on and I grilled dinner.

Hoping I’d drop something. It’s possible I gave her a baby potato or two after they cooled down…

Sunday was also low key. Another quick morning visit at my guys house (to deliver dessert I made), but didn’t stay but a few minutes. I honestly spent much of the day either in or next to the pool reading (yay, Kindle Oasis!). Ran a few errands, finished laundry, and cleaned and meal prepped for the next couple of days.

I went to bed early because I needed to leave to take A to the airport at 6. Unfortunately getting into bed early does not = sleep. It was midnight before I fell asleep. 5 hours is usually plenty and I’ve been fine, but it’s still annoying.

Then I picked up java and had that with my boyfriend before getting to the office by 730. Busy day, but great. Flew by. Totally awesome and random though was my VP of strategy asking if I want to accompany him on a site visit – to the hospital system where one of my very best friends works! Um. Can I get a hell yeah? Excited for the reason to go, but not gonna lie – more excited that I get to visit her and her fam.

And I had better appreciate the last of the chill days for awhile since school starts up again next week and the following weekend tons of friends from all over are converging here to celebrate the naval retirement of one of our friends. But, there are worse problems to have then a bunch of really great friends getting together to celebrate!

Okay, so I’m not sure Luna always knows how to be a cat. Like I put an open box on the floor and she looks at it, sniffs, and walks away. I chalk this up to her spending her first year of life living in a cage at the shelter, and now that it’s been 6 months here (as of Saturday), she did her first real cat thing! SITTING ON MY KEYBOARD. In a strange way, I was proud.

Business humor, but I did sent this to my guy who thought it was funny.

ME EVERY DAY. FYI, I’ll ignore vendors who persistently spell it wrong.

A

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.

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.

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…