Hey, What Are You Doing Down There?

FOOD

I was home for two days before another trip to Chicago. But honestly, it’s the last planned trip for months, which is nice. I enjoy traveling, but miss being home where all the people I love are.

Eats at home included smoothies, salads, a silken tofu-based Alfredo with peas, sunflower seed buttered Ezekiel toast with bananas, and a tofu stir fry.

While in Chicago, had some yummy Mexican food with the crew I was with and then a solo adventure at The Franklin Room, which I’ve been to before and enjoy.

Breakfasts were typical travel fare – bagels, oatmeal, and fruit primarily.

After I landed I had lunch with my boyfriend, and I had the red curry Thai bowl with hot peppers. Very yummy dish.

My guy and I are regulars at a particular spot on Virginia Beach. The menu is pretty decent, though not very robust on the vegan front. Well our bartender happens to mention that to the chef – who decides to basically go vegan – especially while eating out – to better understand the challenges. First of all, how cool is that?!? Anyway, it’s been 2 months now and apparently he’s loving it. He made me a vegan po boy that was amazing. So stoked to see what else he comes up with! After, we went for ice cream!

This morning was a fav – sunflower seed butter, Ezekiel toast and bananas!

FITNESS

Like I mentioned in my last post – just yoga. It’s mostly been fine, though my back is still bothering me. I have a Dr. appt on Tuesday, though I think I’ll end up going to a chiropractor. It’s strange because sometimes it is really painful, and sometimes it barely registers. Frustrating though because I want to run and kickbox and do other fun stuff.

But Luna enjoys it 😊🐱

LIFE

Another whirlwind week. Last weekend was pretty chill. Cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and packing.

Monday I went to work for half the day and then went home to finish packing and head to the airport. Flight was delayed a few hours though, which sucked. But it did give me time to figure out the Harry Potter Wizards Unite game. Which I have to say I’m having fun with!

The flight itself was fine once we finally took off (and that was after an hour sitting on the tarmac). Free wine though, so bonus! At one point I opened my window and saw another jet flying to my left and going under us. And for some reason, all I could think is “hey, what are you doing down there?”. It was pretty though.

Landed in Chicago where we taxied in circles for an hour trying to find a gate to park at. All told it was a pain in the but and freakishly late by the time I got to my hotel. Oh well, can’t control weather (Chicago had some wicked storms) and I got there safely.

The meetings I was there for all went really well and I’m really pleased with the progress we’re making. We had beautiful weather and I got to walk in the city quite a bit. After meetings ended on Wednesday I walked over to another firm I work with and spent some time there before heading to The Franklin Room.

My guy and I are not-so-low-key obsessed with boats at the moment. Sail boats honestly, but took this anyway because she’s pretty

I flew home on Thursday, had lunch with my boyfriend, and then went home. Went to bed really early (slept like poo for several days – my hotel had the worst pillows!). Work yesterday, then to the bar for the game and dinner. Looking forward to several weeks at home!

School kicks in again at the end of next week, and I’m looking forward to it. Especially since I got some new statistical software!

Hi My Name is Crisis

FOOD

My first day home from being on the road started with a smoothie. Naturally.

Other eats at home included a creamy mushroom stroganoff dish and a big batch of Venezuelan black beans and rice.

I wasn’t home long before it was back on the road again! Eats out included tofu green curry (of course), pastas (because vegan while traveling usually means too much pasta!), and lots and lots of breakfast salads!

Also had a very unique veggie fajita dish, Tom Kar soup with tofu, and a latte with oat milk – which was really delicious. Now I have to make some!

FITNESS

When I was home, it was runs and yard work. This past week while traveling was yoga and two runs. I seriously did something to my back and I’m annoyed. It’s not freakishly debilitating or anything, but I think I’m going to do a ton of yoga in the coming weeks and see how it goes.

LIFE

First part of really awesome news. MY RESEARCH TOPIC IS APPROVED! I’m super excited (obviously). I have a couple week break before class starts up again. Next term’s focus is on research methodology and planning what my research approach will be, as well as continuing researching and writing my literature review. So yeah. Proud moment for me!

A couple weeks off doesn’t mean I’m slacking on the job though. I make a point to review at least one article/study per day as well as reading a book one of my execs gave me – and I’m really liking it. Pay no heed to the matching pen and highlighter colors (I’m cool like that).

Work was good this week. Got a lot done, which was nice. Also decided to brush up my French and have been reading or watching something in French for at least a little bit each day! Namely, Harry Potter for reading and a TV show on Netflix called Mauvaises Herbes (Bad Seeds).

I was taking an Uber to a yoga studio and when I got in the car, the guy called me crisis. Um. I get Cassie sometimes and maybe the spelling of my name is a bit different (thanks, ma), but crisis? Who would call their kid that?

We spent some time at a cute wine bar this week as well as an evening for Darden grads in what was supposed to be a rooftop party, but it was raining. 30th floor with a fun view was good enough! The best part though was the spontaneous arrival of a classmate from Taiwan who happened to be in town for just one night. Talk about lucky! Always great to catch up with classmates and meet new people too.

Of course there were other fun libations as well.

Then it was back home to these two snuggle bunnies.

And other fun things spotted out and about.

Sent a pic of this to my daughter – and we’ve decided on a LOTR and Hobbit marathon this weekend!

Sent this to my Irish fam – and yes, this is a vegan blog, and no, I didn’t go in or anything, but doesn’t mean I can’t find humor in it.

Dancing in a Car Makes Everyone Happy

FOOD

Can’t believe it’s been another week. Had some of the usual suspects – smoothies, salads, Indian, Thai. And a few new things, like a meal at Veggie Galaxy in Boston that consisted of massive fried pickles and an Alfredo with chickn, grilling, and pho.

Quick pho lunch

IBM made sure to have vegan eats for me at the meetings I was at earlier this week – which I highly appreciate

FITNESS

Monday and Tuesday I was traveling. Wednesday I was a zombie. Went for a run Thursday and some spin today. I’m going to have to resign to checking luggage so I can bring workout gear. So much travel lately!

LIFE

Sunday was all about finishing up Game of Thrones. And while this season (and somewhat last season) caught ten tons of crap for being short or not meeting expectations, overall, I can’t complain. Now if everyone on social media would stop whining, that’d be awesome. Seriously people – IT’S JUST A TV SHOW.

Monday afternoon I hopped a flight to Boston. It was strange – since it was only an overnighter, I brought just a backpack and my iPad. No luggage and no laptop. Felt almost naked!

After landing I headed into Cambridge to meet AF for dinner. Had a great time catching up (as always). Then it was to my hotel, read for a bit, then bed.

Up early on Tuesday to head to all day meetings at IBM Watson headquarters there. Meetings ended, then back to the airport for the trek home!

The hustle never stops! My doctoral research at the airport bar!

Got home around 1215am Wednesday, but typically me, took me forever to wind down to fall asleep. It was sometime after 2 when I finally did. And up at 6. I was a hot mess that day! Worked from home, which was great. Also met my girlfriend AJ for drinks at a local spot since she also worked from home on Wednesday.

Thursday was a fairly normal day, but included some happy hour on the ocean. Seriously, can’t complain.

Today I moved my office (short move, but to one that’s less noisy), worked, and then headed out for the long weekend, woo hoo!

I drove up to Williamsburg – was supposed to meet up with a classmate of mine, but fate got in the way. So after grabbing a bite to eat, I headed home. Of course, so was every freaking tourist on the East Cost on their way to the beach. As a result, traffic SUCKED. Anyway, I’m stuck in this nasty backup, music blaring, and just dancing in my seat. A couple next to me roll down their windows and indicate for me to do the same, so I do. They proceed to ask me how I could be so happy stuck in traffic. I explain that since I’m not the CAUSE of the bad traffic, I’m not injured, my car isn’t wrecked, and I’m still going to get where I’m headed, there’s no reason to be mad. They smiled, cranked their music, and started car dancing too!

This weekend is going to be about house and yard work (finally getting around to the whole mulch thing), school work, time with my kids, and time alone with my guy. Can’t complain!

Unhappy Kuma hoping for some grilled eats too

Just love all the attitude this cat conveys
My girlfriend SW who works for a consulting firm sent me this – she knows how much I love to read, especially professional development books

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.

She Devil

FOOD

Lunch on Monday I went out and had tofu green curry! Shocker, I know. Dinner was beer and popcorn 🙂

Met my guy after work for a couple beers since we hadn’t seen each other much lately

Tuesday I had a day road trip for work. I stopped at Wegman’s in Woodbridge, VA for a breakfast salad. On the way home I admit – I stopped at Taco Bell. Traffic was a nightmare and I just wanted to get home! (It was 8 hrs of driving + 2 hrs of meetings). I generally dislike anything fast food quite a lot since there’s literally no nutritional value at all and helps contribute to the widening waistlines of the world, I do admit sometimes (tho rarely) it’s the only option. Had I used my normal purse, I’d have had granola bars in it that I would’ve had instead.

Wednesday I had a salad for brunch from our new Wegman’s. I have to say – I may not need to go to Whole Foods ever again! One of my big complaints about the Virginia Beach Whole Foods is that their salad bar rarely has any vegan proteins on it, like tofu or tempeh. Wegman’s does. It was awesome. While I didn’t snap a pick, I had a breakfast salad there on my way home this morning also.

Other meals this week were grilled fun, smoothies, pizza, and about half of this awesome burrito made with Impossible meat! Also baked some banana bread for the kidlets.

Never had this one before, but I really liked it

Quick lunch at Brixx pizza! Love they have vegan cheese options

FITNESS

Managed to squeeze in two runs and one bedroom yoga session (and no, that’s not a euphemism – I really did a yoga class in my bedroom).

LIFE

When I got home from my residency Monday morning (about 1am), I discovered that my boyfriend came over and installed my new dishwasher as a surprise! Mine died a bit ago, and I frankly got tired of hand washing them. It was an amazing surprise.

On the school front, it was a bit chaotic, but lower intensity than normal. My guess is our professors were giving our brains a chance to relax after residency last week.

On the work front, it was really busy, but good. Tuesday I had a day trip to DC to speak about blockchain in healthcare to a Federal Services advisory group. It was a really excellent discussion and a lot of fun.

Though, as I’m stuck on 395 trying to get out of the city, I check Facebook. And what do I see? This post from my sister. FYI, she lives in Wisconsin…

So I text her. And SHE WAS IN DC AT THE SAME TIME AS ME. Most disconnected sibling award goes to….? US. Ugh. Good thing I’ll be in Chicago in a couple weeks and will drive up to see her. Because I’m a good sister 😏. All kidding though, I live 3 1/2 hrs from DC and there’s no way she’d think I’d be there mid-week when she’s only there overnight. But still. Crazy.

Busy week otherwise. Work and a plumber to install a new kitchen sink. All good things though. Oh, and I also figured out how to use my pressure washer on Wednesday! Been sitting in my shed for 2 years unused. Last year I just hired someone, but its silly to have one and not use it. And I was sick of the pollen, so M and I figured it out (YouTube helped). Which means I was able to enjoy my coffee on the back porch this week!

Friday night my guy and I went out to one of our fav spots. Saturday morning I went home and worked on school stuff for most of the day. My girls went to some curiosity fair together in the morning and also picked up some plants for the garden. After they got home, we went out to get the remainder of the plants and then A finished all the planting!

Late that afternoon went back, we went out to dinner, and then up to the Eastern Shore to our fav cider place. It’s actually in Richmond, but they have a tasting room on the bay too, and that’s closer. Not as much selection since it’s not where the ciders are brewed, but still awesome.

And funny enough – we ran into one of my girlfriends and her husband! My guys son always says I have friends everywhere (I’m a lucky girl), but even this was funny. So they joined us and then we went to a distillery for a couple drinks before going back home. Awesome night.

My fav! The Resolution
The She Devil. Also good, and VERY spicy

I hit up the grocery on my way home this morning and have otherwise had a really peaceful Sunday and lovely Mother’s Day with my kids! I got a spa gift card for a Mother’s Day package (massage, facial, hair appt), and a beautiful crystal lotus. I have a love of them – after all I have a tattoo of one on my inner arm. It has a very personal meaning for me, so I’m totally thrilled with it.

Spotted on my drive to DC. I admit – I don’t get the appeal of trucks like this unless you have a business that requires hauling heavy stuff!

My morning java on my guys porch yesterday!

Lazy bear staring at us upstairs but not wanting to put in the effort to join us

BS made a playlist he shared – so I was jamming to it while making banana bread today!
I feel like I should make business cards with this and just hand them out to people when they learn I’m vegan

Will be another busy week. I fly out tomorrow morning for another blockchain panel discussion, but this time for a healthcare audience. I’m excited to see one of my girlfriends who lives where I’m heading – she’ll be my date on Tuesday night at an event at the Botanical Gardens!

Busy Busy Busy!!!

I have been admonished, so here I am with a long overdue blog post.

FOOD

Fairly typical eats the past couple weeks. One cool thing I was introduced to by my boyfriend’s mom is a local produce delivery service. They grow everything hydroponically and deliver every Friday. Due to travels it took me a couple weeks to finally order, but it was amazing! I got bibb, Romaine, and red leaf lettuces, arugula, wasabi sprouts, pea shoots, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and a huge back of juicing greens. It was an excellent haul. You just leave a cooler on your porch and come home to it filled with goodies!

I certainly used it all up too! Juicing, of course, and lots of salads. I took the bib, romaine, and wasabi sprouts to my guys house one night where he grilled and made everything else, I made the salad, and the 3 of us (BS – my admonisher) watched the season premier of Game of Thrones!

The next morning we went out to breakfast at a new place in VB. It’s a chain I’ve been to in the DC area, but it just opened a location here. It’s called First Watch, and to be honest, it wasn’t as wonderful as I had hoped. Wasn’t terrible, but not a spot we’d probably frequent too often. That said, I had the coconut chia pudding with granola and fruit and a side of multi-grain toast. It was good, but also the only thing on the menu for breakfast I could eat. Though the fresh juice (beet, orange, and turmeric) was awesome.

Other miscellaneous eats…

My girlfriend H made this slow cooker vegan chili with Daiya shreds for R and I when we spent
the night at their place
Mish mash meal of quinoa, Morningstar Farms chick’n strips, cabbage, and BBQ sauce

Simple coleslaw from the 1st China Study cookbook
Slaw on a baker with those Morningstar farms strips again

Vegan fried rice with tofu at Fat Dragon in Richmond!
No Bull burger at a tap house outside Richmond
My relatively boring mono-meal of steamed sweet potato and carrots

Homemade hummus from the Forks Over Knives cookbook

Monday night I went to an event with my girlfriend LC. I can’t believe I didn’t get a pic of us – but I DID get a pic of the food, so that’s what matters! It was held at a local place called Taste, and it was a food demo and dinner event called Vegan Food for Non-Vegans. L eats a lot of veg based meals, and knew I’d love it, so we went. Food was amazing. Wine was eh. I had to skip the first course due to that damned avocado allergy, but I couldn’t finish all I had anyway, so no loss there.

FITNESS

It’s funny how I went months without running, and lately it’s been the only workout! But I’ve gotten a bunch in since my last post, which is nice.

LIFE

It’s been ridiculously busy the past couple weeks. I know that’s a common theme, but still. Yikes.

On the school front, I’m now officially done with all didactic work. That ended with my last term. Starting with this term, it’s all about the research. First – this 10 weeks is about getting approval to even pursue my topic – which has been much more challenging than I would have thought. In a good way – and it’s really forcing me to narrow things down and consider what I would find valuable with a more critical eye, but it’s freaking exhausting. But also exciting. And hive & insomnia inducing (not an exaggeration), but also rewarding.

My son M went to a GoT watch party dressed as Jon Snow. It was awesome.

My youngest flew to CA so visit her Dad for spring break week. Her flight was out of Richmond, so after school that last day, we drove up and spent the night at a friend’s house. Unfortunately, her little one was really sick – so much so that they needed to take him to the ER. R and I stayed and hung out with their other son D, and while I missed seeing H, I’m glad we could be there to make it at least a bit easier for them to take care of J.

This only R’s second flight (since she was 2 anyway), and the first time not flying with an adult. We did the unaccompanied minor thing with Delta, and it was a great experience. They take her safety very seriously, which I appreciate. All went off without a hitch!

I had all these plans for spring break. I was going to take most of the week off, do all the yard work, prep the garden, and study. Let’s just say that life got in the way of most of those goals, and study was the only thing I planned that I actually did! It was still a good week though.

Friday we went to Richmond to spend the night. R was flying home the next evening, and my guy and I love spending time up there – especially in the Scott’s Addition area that has our fav cidery and Chinese restaurant.

Our first stop was Fat Dragon. And then we went to Blue Bee Cider. We went a year or so ago, and weren’t fans. But people he and I know or meet keep saying how much they love it, so figured we’d go see if our first impression was wrong. It wasn’t. There wasn’t a single cider we really liked. At best, 1-2 were “ok”. The rest were just not our style. Should always trust my cider instincts!

Thankfully Buskey’s is just around the corner and that very much IS our jam. Had a great time too.

And tomorrow is back to the regular routine of school and work. And that’s okay!

Making sprouts! They’re almost ready too!!
R at her Dad’s, about to go surfing