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!

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

The Not Really a Detox Review

FOOD

First, the detox story. I did 5 days of what amounted to 2 smoothies per day and one gigantic salad using the Your Super superfood mixes. All told, it went fine. I wasn’t hungry or anything. Here’s the thing though. Food should taste good, and while I certainly am a fan of super foods – not when they taste icky. And I couldn’t get past the taste of some of these, and I’m doubtful I’ll use them overly much. The package came with a few other flavors I may check out, but for now – I’ll just stick to my normal healthy eats! And honestly – for a detox, I felt no different. That is either because my normal eating is pretty clean anyway or maybe because it’s more solids than I’m used to in a detox/cleanse (usually mine have been green juice fasts). So was it a detox? In the end – not for me.

Eats post-detox included a tofu green curry lunch date with my friend MM, a simple Mac n peas, and a dinner out with my boyfriend consisting of an Impossible fajita bowl! I also did try Burger King’s Impossible Whopper! It was good, though sat heavier than I like so won’t be a regular thing, but nice to know there’s the option!

FITNESS

Runs, yoga, and kickboxing! I went for 3 runs this week, a yoga class with my young one, and kickboxing today. Feels great to not have anything injured anymore!

LIFE

As predicted, it was a pretty awesome week. Also one that was incredibly social – much more so than normal.

Monday and Tuesday were pretty typical days – work, school stuff, dinner, etc. Wednesday and Friday I took off to do school stuff. While I am not behind any official schedule, I was behind on the pace I set for myself. I don’t deal well when things like that happen, so locking myself away for 2 days to focus was exactly what I needed. And it worked – I’m feeling so much better about everything.

Wednesday I went out for drinks with a coworker, which was nice. We had talked about it for months, and finally went out. Good times.

Thursday was supposed to be checking out a new brewery with a friend, but she’s under the weather and we’ll do it another day. Good though, because I was on a roll with school stuff that night.

Friday was out with my guy, first to our fav wine bar and then to get Tex Mex and his and hers margaritas! Strawberry jalapeño for me, cherry lime for him.

Saturday was yoga with R and then out with an old friend I haven’t seen a lot of. We went to a brewery near her house I had always wanted to check out (though I don’t like to drink much beer – too heavy). We then stopped at a place she’s a local and finished catching up.

Today has been school, laundry, the gym, and pretty soon, plan to start batch cooking for the week ahead. This week will be my last normal one for a bit – travels kick back up week after next. That’s okay though, I tend to like the chaos 🙂

You know, vs the BS being spouted about them causing mass murder…

Because Size Matters

FOOD

The week started with dinner out with my boyfriend. We like to spend time on the Eastern Shore of VA, and stopped at this totally adorable restaurant called Kelly’s. It’s in an old bank building. Very quaint. I had a really delicious portobello mushroom dish with veggies and roasted potatoes.

I made a big batch of one of my fav soups too – carrot/coconut/ginger. Ate soup for days!

Then it was off for a work trip. Just an overnighted, so it was quick. Work dinner on Tuesday was at an Italian place, and I had a salad and pasta dish.

All day meetings the next day and they catered. Breakfast was fruit, roasted veggies, and bagel. I skipped lunch. Sick of pasta. Ate a Clif bar instead.

Got home really late Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Had off Thursday and Friday to focus on school stuff (though truthfully, I worked quite a bit). But after very little sleep, I was glad for leftover soup and a quick veggie burger.

Friday morning was a smoothie (of course). And dinner was at my boyfriends house. He made the rice and poured the (very delicious) wine, and I made a tofu stir fry.

This morning was java on the porch before heading grocery shopping and then home. Once home, made a gigantic smoothie. But here’s what’s fun – it’s a new-to-me superfood company that I’ve been intrigued by since learning about them. They’re called Your Super. Anyway, I’ve been intending to do a 3-5 day detox (I used to do them at the change of every season – but fell off that the past two years). So timing worked out that I’m going to review their 5 day detox plan. Since I hadn’t had breakfast yet this morning, I figured – why not start today? So…I did!

Essentially it consists of gigantic smoothies for breakfast and dinner, and a BAS (big a$$ salad for newbies) for lunch. Not a lot of guidelines other than to stick to whole food plant based foods. Um. Ok. That’s my jam anyway. You’re supposed to skip caffeine, but that’s not gonna happen. I love my early morning cupa black coffee. Typically when I do a detox, I try to do it only during weekdays – mainly because I’m so busy, I don’t think about being hungry, or tired, or cranky, or headachy, or any of the other things that can accompany a detox. Not worried about that on this one, mainly because you still have food – though it’s far less than normal, and it comes with a protein powder, so that keeps me full anyway. So, starting today – Wednesday, it’ll be following the Your Super detox plan and, lucky you, you get to read about it :). Will give final thoughts when it’s done.

FITNESS

I went for a run on Monday and Friday. Sadly, that’s it. I spent Tuesday traveling, Wednesday in meetings, Wednesday night into Thursday morning traveling, and then at the hospital for a bit on Thursday with my eldest, and then home contemplating taping my eyeballs open to keep me awake!

Was thinking of spinning later, but think I’ll run instead.

So, not me, but my youngest started yoga this week! I signed her up for an intro series (with her blessing, of course). She’s been stressed out, but also loves being athletic, so I thought this would be good for her both physically and emotionally. I was traveling so my son took her, but she absolutely loved it! I’m excited for her – besides, it’ll give me someone to do yoga with!

LIFE

Sunday late afternoon I went over to my guy’s house. We went out for a bit, but storms started rolling in and we went back to his place. Spent the night there and then work on Monday.

Yummy ciders before the rain hit!
So true, in so many ways

Tuesday I flew to Cleveland. Met two girlfriends for lunch (forgot the pic – Greek salad, no feta), checked into my hotel, worked for a bit, and then Uber’d to dinner with the crew. That was a ton of fun.

Wednesday was up early and at the Cleveland Clinic at 7am for an hour tour before heading to the IBM offices for all day meetings. I will say that this initiative we’re working on – which is literally building a blockchain ecosystem for healthcare – is utterly amazing to be a part of. Currently working with 7 other organizations, and I can say I legitimately adore everyone I’ve met and work with. It’s a ton of work to build this start-up, but incredibly fun and rewarding too. Good times!

Groovy robots CC uses to haul everything except people around!

Then it was time to head home. Flight delays due to East coast storms, but ended up home by 230am. Thursday was busy, Friday I took off to focus on school stuff, which is what I intend to focus on the rest of today and all day tomorrow.

Friday eve at my guy’s was dinner, wine, and snuggling on the sofa watching The Boys on Amazon Prime! Pretty perfect evening.

Also took 2 days off next week just to work on school stuff. I’m so close to getting research approval, but have to get my lit review done first, and that’s a HUGE effort. Excited about it though 🙂

And despite it being a busy week, it was a really great one too. Pretty confident the coming one will be as well 🙂

Silly selfie my son M took with my iPad when I wasn’t paying attention

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.