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…

A Slave to the Data

FOOD

This morning started with a green smoothie. Spinach, banana, blueberries, cilantro, and Vega vanilla protein powder. While the Ripple is okay – I picked it up because I really like it’s nutritional profile – it’s not the tastiest protein out there. The couple extra calories on Vega is worth it.

A couple hours later it was another breakfast salad! This one had Morning Star vegan chicken strips in it since I didn’t have any pressed tofu. It’s good and super easy. Way easier than Beyond Meat’s version. Lighter too, which I tend to prefer.

My afternoon was a lunch date that included edamame and a totally yummy mandarin salad. It was huge though – only ate about 1/3 of it.

The goofball decided to stick his finger in the picture.

But dinner friends. Dinner was an adventure! During Amazon Prime days last summer I got a wicked sale on a KitchenAid attachment that turned veggies into strips of pasta! It looked freakishly complicated, so I just never used it. But tonight I was motivated, so I busted it out. It actually wasn’t complicated at all, and now I’m annoyed with myself I haven’t been doing this for the past 8 months that I’ve had it!

Crissie’s Vegan Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini – peeled and made into sheets of pasta (you can use thin rounds in that’s what you have available)
  • Any other veggies you have and want to use. I tossed in thinly sliced red onion and kale
  • 1 jar your fav marinara or batch of one homemade
  • 1 pkg of Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles (or meatless crumbles of choice)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa

Directions

  • Cook the Beyond Meat per package instructions.
  • Stir in the marinara and quinoa
  • Layer, starting with veggies, top with marinara mixture, repeat until it’s all gone!
  • Bake covered for 30 min in a 400 degree oven

It was really good and made 4 servings.

FITNESS

So I did go for that run last night. Wasn’t the greatest, but I managed.

Decided on another run today. This one was awesome and is the type of run that reminds me why I like it to begin with. I don’t know I’ll be back on running like I have in the past, but it’s definitely in the rotation – especially now that it’s getting nicer.

Okay, so people who know me, know I like data. Which is funny because I hate math, but I digress. Data tells a story. And if you don’t have the data, it didn’t happen.

SO – imagine my horror when I realized at 10am that I hadn’t inputted my passcode on my Apple Watch and had not gotten credit for anything I did from 530am until 10! So my hours standing will be off. My total calories burned for the day. I keep trying to think it’s no big deal. But I’m seriously a slave to the data and get all flummoxed when I don’t have it!

LIFE

Well it’s only been a day 😉

Last night’s web development class was really interesting. The focus was on defining the user profile, or persona while designing the app. It seems so common sense, but the way it was laid out was really awesome. We focused on the elevator pitch, user experience, app features, and context. Hard to believe that next week we start coding! Yikes – I haven’t coded in a long, long time…

MAD = Mobile App Design

Now, I don’t know that I’ll ever be good enough to really build commercial apps, but since I am involved in the whole start up world, I want to have at least a position of knowledge when working with app developers – so I know what’s realistic, etc.

My youngest wants to build an app related to her robotics scouting component, so I think that’ll be my class project!

Today ended up being a bit different than planned. The course I was supposed to teach got moved to the fall term. He realized he gave me zero time – even though I was mostly ready and could wing it, I did appreciate it.

That meant a work from home day, which was productive. At one point I hear Kuma zooming around. As she is wont to do. I don’t really pay much attention since I’m at my desk. I decided to look up – and she her tearing through the downstairs with some toilet paper in her mouth. I’ve been picking up bits all day….

Otherwise it was meetings, lunch, and kitchen fun.

And….bike shopping!

My eldest is excited by the nicer weather and mentioned a week or so ago about wanting to bike more. Thing is, her bike was stolen back in college and has really just been borrowing everyone else’s. And while her bday isn’t until May, I asked her if she would like a new bike (she did!), so we grabbed Kuma and went bike shopping! We’re fortunate to have a great local bike shop literally blocks from our house.

Meet Evangeline….(the bike)

The day has ended with a walk for the little bear and a nice evening with my kids.

I realize I’ve become my father in this regard…but I admit I miss him and his ridiculously long stories
Another beautiful day = sunshine fluffs!

Meet The Family!

FOOD

Usually when I have a break between terms I spend a lot of it in the kitchen. I haven’t had a chance to do that much, but I’m hoping I can in the coming week since my courses start again on the 5th.

So I’ve been inspired to get back into juicing. Finally picked up How Not to Die, and it makes me really miss it (both not dying AND juicing!). Of course I have a slow juicer (Tribest Slowstar), but it’s always leaked a bit, which is why I stopped using it. So after doing some research, found it’s a known problem. I contacted Tribest (even tho I bought this juicer in 2014, it has a 10 yr warranty), and they’re sending me the replacement part for free!

Until then, it’s occasionally buying juices until I can make my own.

Other eats include Thai, of course. And salads, soups, meals out with my guy, and a lovely solo dinner in downtown Norfolk. Plus dinner in the DC area last night.

Even tho he’s not a veg head, we have similar tastes in food. Indian is always a good option!

Had a couple cheater smoothies this week. Didn’t make any myself, but still had a couple!

Whipped up a simple tofu ramen for me and the kids one night

Finding vegan brats at a German spot was awesome
Roasted veggie gnocchi at Seasons 52 in Tysons Corner

My guy found a newish Tex-Mex place with a vegan menu. It was AMAZING. Owner is cool
and the bartender made great margaritas (like this strawberry jalapeño)

FITNESS

Couldn’t fit in any Regymen classes, but did get in yoga and spinning. This weekend has been quite a bit of walking too.

LIFE

Even though there’s been no school, it’s been a busy week.

Last Saturday was a fund raiser for my daughter’s orchestra group at the Norfolk Admirals hockey game. When I was in Boston she asked if we could go. Of course! Transferred her $$ to her card so she could pick them up. I get home, and she tells me (very excitedly), that her best friend can come! Thing is – she bought 2 tickets. SO….I scooped the girls up, took them to the arena, and then walked around, ending up with dinner solo at Leone’s. No worries tho. Pasta, wine, and a book, and I was very happy.

Sunday morning I went over to my boyfriend’s house for a bit. Then we went out to lunch, and then I met his family for dinner. No pressure. Actually it was really low key and everyone is really sweet.

Being on a school break means more reading for me. Aside from my fun fiction books on kindle, am working on these 3 too. Just because it’s break time, doesn’t mean I don’t feed my brain.

The rest of the week was work and kid stuff, though went out Thursday night with my guy.

Friday I dropped R off at school – she has a robotics competition out of town that her brother and friends are going to cheer on – because I’m in DC for a long weekend. Had a stop in Charlottesville for a meeting, then up to DC, where I have some events until Monday afternoon.

Bean Town, Take 1

FOOD

Some very typical eats – smoothies and salads namely. I did try out a new protein powder. I really love the nutritional makeup of it, but am not in love with the taste compared to Vega or Garden of Life. So we’ll see if I ever get it again or try another flavor.

Tuesday night was the full blended family dinner fun out for Mexican. Many sangrias were had 🙂

For the rest of the week, I was in Boston, getting home late last night/early this morning. All I can say is thank goodness for Clif Bars since there really wasn’t anything I could eat on the first day. Once the coordinator of the meetings I was in learned I was vegan, she really went out of her way to help ensure there was something to eat for me (even soy milk for my coffee the second day we were there!).

Really tasty mushroom soup

Very typical in a plated meal – when handing out desserts, they don’t know what to give me, so I
get a bowl of fruit. Not complaining though, I love fruit and can do without the sugar of a
typical dessert anyway
Salad was fine. Black bean cakes were not. Certainly an A for effort, but mixed with spaghetti

Wednesday evening I met up with A & L for drinks at the top of the Prudential Tower at a place called Top of the Hub. We didn’t eat, but the drinks were amazing.

Dinner was as Kashmir – and Indian place that A and I actually went to almost a year ago the last time I was there. We ordered a bottle of wine, two orders of samosas, and 3 dishes to split. All vegan because they’re wonderful.

Also some other fun eats.

Discovered a sparkling sake called Mio, and I don’t know that my life will ever be the same

FITNESS

I got to one Regymen class, and it kicked my a$$. Focus was core, and I was sore for days!

Several other days I did Peloton streaming cycle workouts in my home gym.

LIFE

Tuesday evening was dinner with the 7 of us. BS helped me with my first ever basketball bracket! I have 3 total. One that is all him, one that is mostly him with a few changes (just couldn’t make WI lose – though I should have because they did!), and one that was actually a Wall Street Journal analytics one. I’m currently in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place! Though my 3rd is tied with my girlfriend A up in DC. My 1st place is my WSJ bracket, 2nd is the slightly modified one, and 3rd is BS’. Still a bit to go, but it’s been fun and minorly obsessive to check rankings after each game.

Most of the week was in Boston for my first trip there this spring. Two more to go. I left early Wednesday morning. Had a few afternoon meetings while I was there (one hanging in a Starbucks in Harvard Square), and then met with A & L (A and I went to grad school together. L is a professor in Boston). I hadn’t seen A since last summer, and L since a ski trip a little over a year ago, so it was awesome to catch up. Both are coming for a visit this summer, so that’ll be awesome.

Our view
Pick the waitress took. My guy said it was too dark, so A took a selfie and fixed it

Thursday and Friday were meetings, which were really engaging and productive. We had a dinner that Thursday night, which was a lot of fun. It’s always nice getting to know people you really only know via phone calls! Lots of non-work related interesting conversations, especially about food and travel.

I flew home yesterday.

Today I went to Whole Foods and then met my boyfriend and his oldest for lunch. This evening is taking my youngest and her bestie to a hockey game. It’s nice being busy. Not having school work to do won’t get to me 🙂 I have read quite a lot though, which I really enjoy.

Dragons!

So BS admonished me again. I did tell him to bite me because I had a 40 page paper due and that was more important than his blog fix, but whatevs. Paper is done and now it’s time to catch up!

FOOD

As you can imagine, there has been plenty of food in the past 2 weeks! Thai, soups, salad, smoothies. You know – the typical. And eats out and about too of course!

Beyond Meat Brat & pretzel bun at Brick Anchor!

Dinner & drinks with a girlfriend from Boston who was in town

Take out Thai while paper writing

Today’s breakfast salad! Pit stop at Whole Foods on my way in this morning…

FITNESS

The past two weeks have been too chaotic to go to the gym. Good thing I have a small home gym with a spin bike – been quite a bit of that!

And yoga, of course. I’d probably burn out without it.

LIFE

Very busy couple of weeks! Went out of town with my guy a couple weekends ago. Great trip about 3-4 hrs away from home. Got back on Sunday – realized I left my wallet at the restaurant where we had breakfast, and proceeded to drive back to get it. Ugh. It was 7pm by the time I got there and raining, so I just spent the night and came home early in the morning. What a pain. Otherwise a wonderful weekend.

Got annoyed that they left the Irish whiskey with the same dumb Scottish spelling…but

Then it was a normal week of working, working out, studying, and going out one night with my guy – typically a Friday night.

The following weekend was an almost full family movie fun with Captain Marvel (A wasn’t there – her man was in town!). The next day was a brunch party at our fav brunch spot to celebrate A & J. Minus my son who was working and one of my guys sons who had pre-existing plans, and plus two other friends. We reserved the tea room, ate, drank, and laughed a lot. It was a lot of fun.

Then more work and school. My girlfriend H from Richmond was in town for a few days (she grew up here and was here for family stuff). We went out Tuesday night.

I took off Wednesday to focus on my paper. Library, then Brick Anchor for lunch, then Starbucks, and then meeting S from Boston for dinner and drinks.

This past weekend was all about robotics! R had a competition locally and was a ton of fun – though two 12 hr days is loooong. My guy came to some of it both days and that was fun. R was student ambassador so had to work shifts giving tours and explanations of the program. We were her first she gave tours to, so it was cute.

My term ended yesterday, so I’m done until April 8th. Here’s hoping I don’t get too bored…

And misc pics of course 🙂

Snuggly sunshine friends

Umm. I go thru a LOT of highlighters. Bulk purchase for $5 and I was excited.

So this weekend while at robotics, M bought everyone in the family their very own dragon! I was so excited that this one is mine. Totally perfect! Still needs a name tho…