Spin, Spin, Baby!

FOOD

I’ve actually been home for well over a week straight! And – no trips until a short one in July, so it’s been pretty nice.

Before I got home though, I did get to see a girlfriend in DC and meet for breakfast at an all vegan joint called Fare Well. Had these awesome tofu chilaquiles that I think I could eat every single day!

Other eats on the road. Tofu dishes, fajitas, eggplant, and other yummy stuff.

Home eats!

Fitness

Okay, so for this, I’m totally stoked. I have been obsessed with getting a Peloton bike for months now. For those not familiar, its a spin bike with a built in big screen and, with a peloton subscription, you can take on demand or live spin classes.

On the road trip, we stopped at Tyson’s Corner where they have a Peloton showroom. LOVE. Also was lucky to try it out at the Westin when I was in Chicago, so I knew I loved it.

Well, I literally had it ordered and in my cart and ready to buy it, but just felt too selfish spending $3k for the bike, delivery, set up, and shoes. The subscription is $12.99 per month and not included. Even though all the kids want to use it, I just couldn’t stomach that price.

So what does my guy do? He does maybe 10 minutes of research and finds a “Peloton hack”. Grand total? $350 + subscription! http://www.sippingandshopping.org/my-peloton-bike-alternative/

So I purchased a Sunny spin bike. Don’t need spin shoes since the pedals are clip ins on one side and cages on the other (I have road racing shoes, and just need to change out the clip types).

I got an iPad mount so I can put my screen up. And a Wahoo cadence sensor. Voila! I can do everything a Peloton can do, without the sick price tag.

And I’ve been using the heck out of it! My bum is sore, but that’ll fade in a few weeks.

It’s the perfect addition to the home gym we’ve been building since last fall. Oh, and while the bike wasn’t 100% put together, R (my 14 yo) built it in less than an hour. Just as functional and sturdy as the Peloton bike.

So while I still love to run, I’m excited to spin, spin, baby!

LIFE

Really can’t complain. Picked up a summer cold that had a lingering cough for over a week, but other than that, felt fine.

While out of town, turns out one of my good friends was in Baltimore (he lives in Portland), so we got together for dinner one night, which was awesome!

M turned 21 on the 8th! So right at midnight, had to take him out for his first legal bday shots! My friend B was sending shot ideas. After the four horseman, M quit it on the shots and had a beer before going home.

Big dinner party and then pool party on his bday proper. The next day, he and his girlfriend went to Toronto for the week. They had a blast.

My friends who live in NOLA came to stay for a few days. Well, A didn’t – she had to work, but J and the kids were here, and stayed with me for two days. It’s always nice to see them.

I had a ton of pool drama. First company I hired to come open it and get it ready just sucked beyond reason. After a month of them continuing to muck it up, I hired a different company, and the difference has been incredible! They also spent over an hour teaching me everything I needed to know to do all this myself too. Needless to say, with the weather as hot as it’s been, the pool is definitely getting used!

This past Friday was the last day of the second term of my doctoral program! My last deliverable with a huge paper, but once it was knocked out, I hit the pool with my Kindle Oasis (waterproof) and read all afternoon. I have off until July 9th, which worries me that I’ll get bored, but that’s okay. The mental break is nice.

And A finished up her first term in nursing school and killed it! She was struggling with the schedule change – working full time nights and school full time days. Made a comment about needing an eye mask or something. Got her these – she’s been sleeping great since between the eyemask and ear plugs!

And this tee for R…if you knew her, it describes her perfectly.

Other events included going shopping for new floors for my house, going to see the Incredibles 2 last night (better than the first!), plus plenty of miscellaneous fun and fluffs! Plus a few shots from the MGM casino in Maryland.

Favorite Food Season + Family, Friends, and Fun!

FOOD

It’s been a fun little bit since getting home (and before hitting the road again!).

I love spring/summer when it comes to produce. Time to bust out ALL the zoodles, salads, and other fun eats. And yes – I bought that salad thingy to see if it’s really as cool as it looked. Eh. I prefer my veggies more evenly diced. Did great for the lettuce though. Will keep trying it out! Haven’t done it for fruit yet.

Also went to a local food and wine fest with my guy, which was a total blast!

Also lots of grilling and other amazing eats (like a vegan butter chicken made with soy curls and served on cauliflower rice!).

And on the road eats…

FITNESS

A few runs but the best was going to yoga with my guy. He had never been before and really enjoyed it, which makes me totally happy.

Also stopped by the Peloton showroom, so that’ll be happening soon too!

LIFE

Busy, but what else is new? I happen to love being busy. Not that I can’t slow down now and again, but there’s so much cool stuff in life, may as well do as much as possible!

The second term for my doctorate is winding down. We’ll have a couple week break before ramping up again. It’s mostly reading and writing, but also doing research on potential topics for my research project/dissertation. I have two topics I’m interested in at the moment, so that’s good. A month ago I was at a complete loss!

The pool has been opened and even got in one day of swimming between the rains and travels! But it is also the season where I try to have my morning java outside on the porch as much as possible!

Spent a night in DC, which was a ton of fun (though it always is) and got to see several of my local friends to celebrate me being in town as well as a friend’s birthday AND his wedding anniversary!

And of course miscellaneous pics of family, fluffs, and life!

Please Can I Go Home Now?

FOOD

I’m realizing that I don’t have a lot of food pics from the past week. I was home for a few days, and then back on the road to Milwaukee and Chicago.

Sushi with my guy

We had a couple annoyingly chilly days, so a spicy tofu and veg soup was perfect

Couple oatmeal dishes. One at home, and one at my sister’s in WI.

Dinner with my sister and cousin. They had vegan meatballs!

Always Thai and smoothies!

Brunch with my mom was a simple spinach salad and a basmati and carrot pilaf

The best meal by far was with a friend of mine who lives in NYC, but was in Chicago the same time as me! We hit up Vegan Plate for an all vegan Thai restaurant. Drunken noodles with soy chicken and a fish-less dish. The drunken noodles were insane! Then it was to Paulie Gee’s for some dessert! They not only have vegan pizza, but they carry the delicious baked yummies from Pie Pie My Darling! I had the carrot cake and vanilla ice cream. D had the chocolate cake. Needless to say – beyond stuffed!

The rest of my meals were provided by the conference I attended. They did a good job of having vegan snacks and my dinner last night at the Chicago Cultural Center was amazing too!

FITNESS

Runs at home, one of which ended in the rain. My hotel in Chicago had a Peloton room, so I had cycling workouts! So thrilled by that. Otherwise yoga.

Actually excited to take my guy to a yoga class this Saturday.

LIFE

Well, as usual BUSY BUSY BUSY.

Got home from Dallas on Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday was work and also my eldest cabbage’s birthday! Yep, A turned 23! Crazy. Didn’t get to celebrate much as she had to work and had school.

Thursday was also the final orchestra performance of the school year. As usual, R and her classmates sounded wonderful.

Friday was work, packing, and then chilling out. Saturday morning I hit the road again! Spent Saturday night at my sister’s. Dinner out, then a movie (Molly’s Game – it was really good). Sunday was a crazy, but fun board game with my sister, nephew, and niece. We all died. Then brunch with mom, tea with S (who I think it’s been about 9 years since I’ve seen!). Then down to Chicago to study and write a ton of papers.

Mon-today was conference stuff – which was really good. Probably one of my favorites. I think it helped that I got to meet and talk to Andy Slavitt about an impassioned topic for me (and him) – mental health care in the Medicaid population. I’m considering this topic for my doctoral research. I have a few other ideas I’m investigating too – I have until October to decide. But anyway, if there was ever an Andy Slavitt fan club, I imagine I’d be the president!

Tonight I fly home, and I’m SO ready to see the people I love and sleep in my own bed!

On a fun note (ish – it doesn’t start out fun, but bear with me)….I suck at sleeping. I’ve had insomnia issues for almost 15 years. I’m a lot better than I was, but still struggle with it. Coupled with being a freakishly light sleeper, I rarely sleep soundly. In an effort to help, my guy got me a white noise maker. We had stayed with friends a few weeks ago, and they had one and I slept great! So, I used it all this week, and I have to say – it was miraculous. I slept so well. Crazy for this tiny little disc thingy.

And of course, miscellaneous pics from the week! And while it’s been great, can I please just go home now??

Peanuts Suck Less Than They Used To

FOOD

It’s been a mixed bag of at-home meals and dining out. Nothing really new there to be honest. Did have one quick trip to Dallas, which is always yummy 🙂

Smoothies always rule!

As the weather warms up (and it’s FINALLY warming up!), plenty of salads! (Pay no heed to the butter – it wasn’t mine! )

Last time I was in Dallas (last October) we went to a restaurant called Mesa Mayo. OMG. The food was amaze balls, but so were the margaritas. I fell in love with the Serrano Berry. My travel partner in crime loved the avocado one, but since I’m allergic to avocados, I could not partake. However, being in Dallas earlier this week, I sure as HELL went and got my Serrano Berry! And studied at the same time 🙂

Last night I went out to dinner with my girl JG from grad school! She took me to a place called True Kitchen. She picked it due to the great selection of vegan eats for me. I had an amazing cucumber Tom Collins, a tempeh, lettuce, and tomato sammich, kale salad, and sweet potato hash. And we shared a hummus plate. SO GOOD.

I also tried Poke for the first time at a place called Low Key Poke. And while I was recently told it was a Hawaiian tuna dish, this place described themselves to me as “Chipotle for sushi”! So, I had the green tea rice, tofu with a soy and sriracha sauce, and tons of veggies. It was really yummy and spicy!

Other misc eats!

Like this awesome seitan gyro wrap! Recipe is from Zsu Dever’s book Vegan Bowls. Only I made it as a wrap instead. Kids love it, and it’s supper tasty. Enough for leftovers for the oldest cabbage to take to work.

FITNESS

The hellacious coughing finally stopped around Sunday/Monday. Until then, it was just the walking, yoga, and some strength training – as long as it didn’t set off coughing fits.

Otherwise I ran in the hotel gym. Felt good to run – and even though I hate the dreadmill, I hate not running for 2 weeks even more!

LIFE

Been a very busy and awesome week. Last Wednesday my kids booked me for a massage in a salt room at a local place called Green Leaf and Pebble Tea Spa in Virginia Beach. It was incredible. 60 minute massage and they give you an extra 30 in the room to do whatever you want – nap, meditate, etc. I mostly just laid there enjoying the peace, but had to get pics too! My sinuses were a mess, but being in that room helped so much. I picked eucalyptus as my aromatherapy addition just for that reason too. And of course it’s a tea spa, so I had tea too! Licorice – and it was killer. I don’t like black licorice, but they gave me a sample and I was hooked. So tasty!

I had some dryer issues (basically, had to hire a chimney sweep to clean out the ducts. Who knew?). So while I had to wait a week for them to come, I did have to hit up the laundry mat one time. It actually ended up being kinda cool. Aside from not being cheap ($2.50 per wash!), they had WiFi, and I was able to get 4 loads of laundry done in an hour, study, and do a webex. That, my friends, is multi-tasking!

Thursday I had a happy hour/dinner with a colleague from IBM. Of course I had to take her down to the Oceanfront of beautiful Virginia Beach! She’s from Pennsylvania and had never been down this way before. It did start to rain just as we were leaving.

On Friday, R had a really big appointment. For those long-time readers, I’ve chronicled the last 16 months of her working on something called OIT – Oral ImmunoTherapy – which is a protocol to help build immunity to food allergies. R has a life threatening allergy to peanuts, and additional allergies to several tree nuts. Well, after 16 months, it was time for her food challenge! She had been eating 3 peanut M&M’s for the past 7 months. The food challenge basically goes like this – eat 5 grams of peanut butter, wait a half hour, eat 10 grams, wait another half hour, eat 15 grams. If all goes well, that’s a pass, and she’s safe to eat peanut stuff freely. Though to maintain immunity, she would have to eat something with peanuts everyday.

First of all – R HATES the taste of peanuts. Watching her every day eat her dose, it looks like she’s being tortured. She opted for peanut butter and saltine crackers.

Well, about 8 minutes into her first dose, she started to have a reaction. Sore throat and some itchiness. When it didn’t resolve (it can often be caused by anxiety), and she was monitored the entire time – her breathing and vitals, etc – they gave her prednisone and Benadryl to resolve her symptoms. We hung out another hour and change and then went home.

So – she didn’t pass the food challenge. And as discouraging as that is, it’s still incredible progress! That dose just 18 months ago could’ve been deadly. So, we have a choice to make. Keep doing the dose, slightly higher (at 4 peanut M&M’s) and then try the challenge again in 4-6 months, or just stay at the 4 peanut M&M’s indefinitely. At this point, she’s cleared to fly in terms of peanut exposure – what she’s eating daily is way more than any accidental exposure she’d face – and leave it at that. If she has no desire to free eat peanuts and peanut containing foods, then mission accomplished. We haven’t made a final decision on that yet, and technically we have 4-6 months before we need to. So for now, peanuts still suck – but they suck less than they used to.

Before we left the hospital, she did have her blood drawn to retest her for treenuts. Sometimes they can be outgrown, and her severity to treenuts was MUCH less than peanuts. So if she’s clear there, she’s clear to fly! That was her big goal. And especially now with her Dad living on the other coast, it really is important so she can visit him.

Saturday was a really fun day. R had an adjudicated orchestra competition up in Williamsburg. After their performance (which include schools all over VA and NC), all the kids went to Busch Gardens for the day! They played amazingly well and won first place for High School orchestra! In between activities, I parked myself and studied. And had a cider too…

After getting home Friday eve, it was a quick shower and then going out with my guy. I was leaving the next day and wouldn’t see him for a bit. We went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Norfolk then for drinks. Good times and then back home!

Sunday was coffee on the back deck, packing, studying, chilling with the kids (ones who were awake anyway!), and then eventually heading to the airport for a late afternoon flight. It was direct, so I got into Dallas at a pretty reasonable time.

Then it was work and then spending time with JG! We went to the movies – of which I entirely blame her for picking something shitty! We saw I Feel Pretty. Apparently she didn’t look at IMDB ratings. I did. I had low expectations. She was sadly more disappointed I think!

Then there’s random pics of the fluffs. Like Kuma who really just wants to sleep. All the time. And Ginny who can get comfortable in what looks like uncomfortable positions.

I also had a little extra time yesterday, so got a mani and pedi and went from reds/burgundies, to pinks! Ready for summer! Helps that on Monday the pool was opened and will be swim ready early next week! Perfect timing as the weather really heats up.

Shenanigans, Horses, and Awesome Friends

FOOD

Been a combo of quick eats and meals out and some travel.

Smoothies of course, and seem to be vacillating from chocolate to vanilla depending on my mood!

Also whipped up a batch of banana chocolate chip muffins with some overly ripe bananas.

Simple pasta dish with Beyond Meat crumbles and marinara. Fast and always a quick crowd pleaser.

Salads! Again lazy by topping it with a Boca vegan burger, but whatever. Don’t judge. It was balanced 🙂

Tofu green curry (duh)

Vegan enchiladas (another dining out for life meal event).

Cauliflower steak.

And this, my friends, is a paffle! A spot in Charlottesville that makes sammiches out of puff pastry-turned-waffle. Mine is a gf vegan one stuffed with tofu scramble!

Lunch in Richmond with H – these delightful things called “garden balls” and a rice noodle and tofu sesame dish too.

FITNESS

Runs and strength training workouts!

LIFE

Well, been great and busy! Last weekend was theme park fun! The week was crazy – couple nights out and then a weekend away for my grad school reunion weekend. I’m telling you, nothing like hanging out with 20+ of your friends! Many came from out of state just to be here.

We arrived Friday morning, had sessions and catching up with friends and professors, then a cocktail reception and a class party at a local brewery.

The second day was at the Foxfield horse races, which was amazing. We had a private chalet, food, open bar, etc. Then all of us went to dinner on the downtown mall. It was hard to say goodbye to everyone – but thankfully we do a good job of keeping in touch and getting together regularly when we can.

Sunday, after wrapping up, went to Richmond to have lunch with my girlfriend H, then home! I was supposed to go see Infinity War with the kids (bought tix way early), but wasn’t feeling too hot and had school stuff to wrap up, so they went, had a blast, and I’ll hopefully go in the next week or so.

And of course, fun pics of fluffy ones!

Ginny just happy I brought my suitcase home for her!

Kuma getting yet MORE toys

Wild Week of Travels!

FOOD

Well, it’s been a week and only one night home, so lots of meals out!

I had an amazing meal at Q Restaurant in Chinatown, Boston (no pics – sorry!), but it was a General Tso’s Tofu that was divine.

Also met up with my good friend AF for Indian one night at Kashmir’s in Boston. We split some somosas, and I also had the vegetable korma, which was yummy.

My one night home saw me making my fav soup – it’s a Thai red curry sweet potato soup with rice and kale (with leftovers for 2 the next day). That morning was also a breakfast at a local spot – Portobello mushroom and hummus bagel with fruit. Really, really good.

Thursday evening was hitting the road again, and we had a really simple dinner at the hotel – mine was just rice and roasted veggies. And some vodka cranberries too 😉

The next night we discovered the joy of a place called Busboys and Poets! OMG. Great place for anyone who may have mixed company (vegans + omnis) – tons of yummy vegan eats and certainly a selection of non vegan ones too. We got the crispy Brussel sprouts and coconut tofu bites as appetizers. I also got Korean BBQ “beef” sammich with Asian slaw and a side of tabbouleh. WOW.

So good, we grabbed R and went back the next day for lunch. I had the tempeh panini, tabbouleh (I’m a fan), and a 2 bean harira soup. Now, if they’d just open up in my area! Apparently it’s a small chain in the DC and MD area.

This morning back home was my go-to simple breakfast – especially when I need to go grocery shopping! Oatmeal topped with cinnamon and coconut milk yogurt.

The afternoon was some apps and drinks after hiking. For me – monster cucumber slices with hummus! They gave pita rounds too, but I don’t really eat those, so they ended up bringing double the cucs!

FITNESS

Lots and lots of walking! And today I swapped out a planned hot yoga class (which I need terribly – my hips are SO tight), for a hike instead since it’s such a gorgeous day! Left my phone in the car though, so no pics. But it was an amazing day. Can’t wait for a bit more sustainable days of good weather to start to see blossoms.

LIFE

The rest of my trip to Boston was great. I got to see AF, who currently lives there (his wife is a professor), which was great. Fortunately got to see him and his wife LF on the ski trip in Feb, and will see them again in late April. AF had just flown in from New York and literally met me at the restaurant with carry on in tow!

I will say that Boston was really cold, but I managed to survive ;). Also – they have way too few Starbucks. Apparently Dunkin Donuts is their thing – but other than really not liking their coffee, it’s not a healthy spot I ever go to. It was literally in the airport on my way home before I finally got to one! I know – first world problems – but a girl cannot survive on hotel java alone!

The conference – from the Economist magazine – was amazing. It was there Healthcare Forum 2018, and with Boston being the global hub of life sciences, it really was incredible. The panels, topics, and people were all very exciting, and it was totally worth it.

I flew home the next day, landed around 4, did wash, made soup, and packed for a long weekend away! R’s team advanced to the robotics championships, which was held in MD. She had to be at school at 3am for the bus, and while I had meetings I had to attend on Thursday (being the ONLY day in the office for nearly a week), I headed up after. Rolled into town around 8, which really wasn’t bad.

The competition was so much fun, and the kids did wonderfully. They didn’t advance past the qualifying rounds, but still – what they accomplished was quite impressive. We walked through the pits, and some of these teams have sponsors like NASA, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Deloitte, etc. We were honestly sitting among the future engineers of the world, and it was really inspiring.

Yesterday we drove back home and eventually got to bed around 1130. I seriously slept like a rock until about 9am!

Today was a hike and then chilling at the waterfront having some apps and drinks and watching boats go by. Pretty perfect day!

I’m really looking forward to this week. It’s spring break, and I’ll be working from home for all but tomorrow. R has tennis camp (she’s stoked), and it’ll be me mostly cleaning house and yard and gardening!

Hope you’ve had a great holiday if you celebrate it, and a lovely weekend regardless! Until then – misc pics from the week! Some in Boston, some home, and some in between!

IKEA gets it!