Whiskey Squares

FOOD

I certainly had a few good eats this past week. I made a big batch of my spicy tofu soup and had that spread out over a few days.

And while I forgot to take a picture, a Thai lunch date with my boyfriend.

I was in DC for a few days, which included one where my girlfriend LS and I went to Equinox. They have a lot of vegan options, and we split the caramelized cauliflower with pistachios, capers, and golden raisins, and for my main dish, I had the pan roasted Japanese eggplant. Everything was amazing!

Last night I stayed at my guys house and he made his homemade spaghetti. Smelling it cooking all day was really awesome, and tasted amazing. Mine with Gardein crumbles. I also had that for breakfast today.

FITNESS

Went to the gym Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before work for the HIIT program. Hate to call it a class since you can come in anytime – it’s a daily curated workout (sort of like a WOD) in a special area of the gym. It’s 15 stations, with 3 1/2 minutes spent at each station in a combo of working and resting.

I get this each Sunday to show what the week will look like. I like how every day varies
So I wear a heart rate monitor, and while I try to hit at least 500, I really prefer to get closer to 700. I often do when I workout in the evening, so I’m going to have to see if it’s just me adjusting to morning workouts or something else. But still, 578 isn’t bad!

LIFE

Been a busy and excellent week. Since our kids didn’t have school on Monday, I ended up spending Sunday night at my guys house. Dinner, a couple movies (Instant Family – which was really cute, and I can’t for the life of me remember the other one!). In the morning we went to our respective gyms and then to work!

About that gym fun. I WAY over packed, and the little locker could barely take it. I had my work clothes plus the ones I wore on Sunday to his house. Obviously I wore my workout clothes to the gym. I had towels, toiletries, my Dyson hair wrap, and my flat iron. Makeup. Etc. In the end, I decided to just put my hair up in a bun and head to the office.

Tuesday was the gym and then a jam packed meeting day. I packed better though and left my purse in the trunk of my car. Before I went to bed on Monday, I straightened my hair, so just needed some dry shampoo after my Tuesday morning workout and could then wear my hair down.

Wednesday was also the gym and then to the office. Not such a busy day, which meant a quick happy hour with my guy. We went to a wine spot (not our typical one) because it was closer to where he needed to be. Wine was not great, but the time was. Then I was off to a happy hour at a new co-working space downtown. Which meant a cooler full of beer (I went with Stella Artois). And then a decision to hit a local bar for some whiskey drinks. The bartender had fun making up stuff for us, and it was all yummy.

Thursday was NOT a gym morning. I went to work, realized I accidentally stole a credit card from my drinking buddy, had lunch with my guy, returned the card, and headed home to pick up my car rental.

My original plan was to drive to DC early Friday morning to get to my 10 am coffee meeting. However – it started snowing, and so I decided to go up to DC Thursday evening instead. In the end, I probably didn’t need to. I couldn’t navigated the roads, but around here you never know. Virginia Beach didn’t get much, but Suffolk got quite a bit. I didn’t want to risk it. So, I hit the road just after 3 and met up with my old doctoral cohort for a few cocktails (they have their residency this weekend – same one I had in Atlanta back in October).

Me and SJ

My coffee meeting got moved up to 9 in Herndon, and that was a great time as always. Another Darden alum I met last year, and we’ve been keeping in touch as careers, etc, develop.

I had lunch with my girlfriend LS. We’ve known each other for ages – met through my best friend AC. I hadn’t seen her in the past few trips I’ve made to DC, so definitely wanted to rectify that. She picked Equinox for lunch (fairly close to the White House), and then we walked over to a liquor store around the corner. I’ve been on the hunt for this Japanese Whisky called Nikka from the Barrel. Can’t buy it in VA anymore, but thought DC may have it. The place was amazing, and while they didn’t have what I wanted, he did give us a tasting and I picked one that was really close. I also got a bottle of Mezcal for my guy, and a nice tequila (NOT mezcal) for my house.

LS has also been wanting to be a whiskey fan, so we spent some time at lunch reading about bourbon, whiskey, whisky, and all the differences. What we finally came to the conclusion of is all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. Sort of like every square is a rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square.

Then it was off to a happy hour to finally meet in person a woman I was helping with her start-up. She used to work for my company, but in the DC area. She worked for a hospital president I know well and is in a new role, and asked me to help her out. We’ve had calls and emails and LinkedIn messages, but finally got to meet in person. She’s lovely and I really liked meeting her. Unfortunately, her little one was sick, and not 15 minutes into our wine, her parents called and asked her to come get the baby. Oh well. It was still nice

That did give me time to get my hair done though! In my haste to pack to avoid snowmageddon, I forgot my hair dryer and any hair product. Hence my hair in a bun, once again. But I had a fairly important dinner coming up, and across from the wine spot in Clarendon was a blow out bar – so in I went and had my hair blown out. Overall excellent experience and well worth it.

Then it was off to Jaleo in Crystal City to meet my new academic advisor. She’s the one who is really getting me close to the finish line, and I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to meet her in person. I felt it important to have at least a little bit of a relationship, and her being in DC for the residency was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I am SO glad I did too! She’s lovely. We spent 3 hours eating tapas, drinking sangria, and talking – almost none of it about school. We had similar up bringing, and after talking through other things, feel we may have divorced the same man 🤣. She’s also a world traveler (more so than me) and speaks French! We talked about start-up ideas we each have and how we can help each other with those endeavors after I graduate, and overall just had a wonderful time and connection. I’m grateful she’s in my corner as I head towards the end of this doctoral journey.

Since I saw the crew the night before, I didn’t feel like meeting them all at the bar again, so I headed to my hotel and to bed.

The next morning though, I went back to where the residency was in order to meet my mentee. I signed up through my university to be a mentor, and was partnered with a lovely woman who immigrated to the US from Africa a few years ago, and currently is in banking in Arizona. Similar to me, she’s been doubling and sometimes tripling up on classes to get done as quickly as possible. We speak, text, and email regularly, and it was wonderful to meet her for coffee before her classes started at 8. It also gave me time to say goodbye to my other friends and professors before hitting the road home!

I got to my boyfriend’s house around 1 (had to stop at the grocery for some dinner items!). We watched a couple episodes of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – eh. And then started on Hunters – which I really liked. Just before dinner, his brother came over, and we all ate and watched Guess Who, which I had never actually finished watching before – and it’s cute. Then it was time to watch basketball and go to bed.

This morning was coffee then going home to do wash, clean, grocery shop, and organize for the week ahead!

One of my fav mugs from my guy. Drinking tea while working on my research.
Kuma being very toasty and lazy on A’s electric blanket Thursday
My best friend’s husband sent us this. It’s true – I’m a bit hyper organized and LOVE project management.
The British crack me up. This headline would not fly in the US…
This is me.

Trials and Tribulations

FOOD

Honestly, not a whole lot to write home about the past two days. I had salads for lunch the past two days, but didn’t take pics. Yesterday’s was loaded with the Morningstar Farms fake chicken strips. Today’s was just veggies. No breakfast either day and no dinner yesterday. Boring, I know, but just haven’t had much appetite lately. I’m starting to wonder if it is stress related!

FITNESS

HIIT at my gym both yesterday and today. The class is called Zone4 – which is explained in the picture below. I do find myself in the 4th one more than any other, which I suppose is a good thing.

The workout varies each day, which is nice to alleviate boredom (this week ending is shown). Yesterday I burned 736 calories and today 610. Can’t complain about that!

LIFE

Well, it has only been two days, and a weekend at that. No plans other than focusing on my dissertation. I have a new academic advisor and finally got feedback from her late last week. Let’s just say she blew up more than I was anticipating – and I don’t necessarily agree with her on some of it, so now it’s about finding time to meet with her to review. Overall, I do appreciate what she has to say as it will make me a better writer and researcher – but she also seems to believe her volunteering at an AIDS facility in Chicago in the 1990’s gives her more insights into nonprofit healthcare than it actually does. Everything I’ve pushed back on so far she’s caved on. I don’t want to offend her (can’t afford to since she determines my readiness for IRB), but I’m getting frustrated with having to educate her. But on the flip side – I can assume other readers may not understand either, so I need to do a better job of being clear. With her, it’s a combination of lack of knowledge – which is fine – and bad/inaccurate/uninformed perspective – which isn’t. Alas, such are the trials and tribulations of a doctoral student 😉

So yesterday, I went to the gym, stopped at the library, made lunch, and spent the rest of the day reviewing her redlines on my writing and reconciling those I could. Then I had two vodka sodas and went to bed!

Today will be similar. Gym, lunch, and now that I’ve reconciled the redlines, doing actual research and writing. And laundry. And, I assume, some vodka sodas!

Hope your weekend was more fun than mine (though mine has been productive, and I can’t complain about that!). This coming week should be good – light on the meeting schedule and a quick overnight trip to DC for several meetings – including one with my academic advisor!

Horrible shot, I know, but the floofs were really enjoying the fireplace last night

I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To Good…

FOOD

Wednesday dinner was at my boyfriend’s house. He grilled me some delicious Beyond Meat brats! Ate mine with kraut and mustard and a side of potatoes and a salad.

Thursday we met up for lunch – Thai Green Tofu Curry which also became my dinner.

Friday I had lunch at PF Chang’s with IBM. I didn’t take a picture (that’d look strange), but had the steamed Buddha’s Feast, which is tofu, broccoli, asparagus, and carrots.

I haven’t been having breakfast lately. Sometimes a smoothie or some fruit if I’m hungry, but lately I really haven’t been overly hungry. I’m sure it’s just a phase 🤣

FITNESS

HIIT classes, which I totally love. They’ve added a kickboxing station, which is probably my very favorite intense exercise if I had to pick one.

Also did some spin at home. Still need yoga…

LIFE

Meetings on Wednesday and then over to the guys house for some chill time and dinner.

While in my office Wednesday, I get a text from R asking me a question. She’s a junior in HS and has an Econ class. Her teacher isn’t always right – or not right enough – in some of the things he says, so she often asks me as a sort of fact check. I mean come ON, he teaches the Laffer Curve like it’s a legit thing! Anyway….

I feel like I should take over the class sometimes…

So Thursday I did a thing…

To frame it a bit – I’ve always been interested in volunteering, and I have done some minor things here and there (like a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, etc), but nothing very specific. More the past few years, I’ve wanted to focus in my community. So, an opportunity came up and I accepted a nomination to sit on the Human Services Advisory Board in my city! The role of the board is to draft policies and programs that address the most vulnerable – children, those with special needs, and the aging populations – and then advice the city council.

So Thursday morning was my swearing in ceremony. I’m really excited to roll my sleeves up and get busy. Right now, it’s about familiarizing myself with the various laws and programs and doing the necessary training. Then diving into our next board meeting in early March. I sincerely hope that I can do good things for my community.

And to celebrate – I went to a movie! Saw Bad Boys For Life (loved it). Got there early and enjoyed an orange crush and some reading.

Then I went home and eventually took Kuma to get R from robotics.

Today was work and then cocktails with my guy before heading home.

And while earlier in the week was Oreogate. Mid week was Doritogate! Seriously – I got the monster Sam’s Club sized bags on Saturday. Wednesday – gone….no one has fessed up to it, though I’m pretty sure I know the culprit. And it isn’t the dog.

My Dog is a Stalker (and that’s okay)

FOOD

Monday was a Thai lunch date where I had….wait for it….tofu green curry! I had a quick protein shake after my workout, and a tofu taco salad for dinner – sparse on the tofu since my brat children barely left me any. I guess that’s a good problem to have!

Yesterday was tea, spicy tofu soup with bell peppers, onions, green beans, and cauliflower rice. Dinner was a family dinner out. R and I split an order of edamame, and I also grabbed a side salad. Though to be fair, the side salad was pretty big. Though I forgot a pic of it.

FITNESS

Gym both Monday and Tuesday.

I really do love this HIIT program. Monday was full body + abs. Yesterday was chest + triceps. Today – everything is sore! In the HIIT room, they have a board where they post the week. Every day rotates each week, so if you never workout on Friday’s (which is my scheduled day off since I usually have Friday evening plans), I may miss plyometrics this week, but next week it could be legs and shoulders. That way, you’re never unbalanced. Though I hate plyometrics, so I’m not sad to miss it this week!

There’s always a warm up and cool down. And what they don’t show is the reps, the laps, and the times. For this month, the goal is endurance, so it’s 3 reps and 1 lap (there are 15 exercises). You work for 55 seconds, and then rest for 20. Last month was power, where exercises were 35 seconds and rest was 25. I have to say, I love the way it changes up every day and then again every month – can’t get bored that way.

Oh, and both days I got my locker 139 back 😏

Find it a bit disconcerting that my phone maps knew where I was going yesterday morning – despite me not telling it!

LIFE

Monday was low key at work. Meaning no meetings other than an impromptu call with a friend from another health system.

I left the office and went to the gym. Got home, showered, and made dinner. Then R and I went over to the library where we ran into an old friend S and her son. Of course I’m in my pajamas, but that wasn’t a big deal. S and I used to hit the bars in pajamas!

Me reading at the library while waiting on R to find her books

Tuesday I worked from home because I had a car appointment in the middle of the day. I don’t live that close to work, and I’d have lost more time driving back and forth than just working at home.

While I was waiting for my car, I was reading the news. Saw that there was snow in Charlottesville. I happen to be heading there in a few weeks and was texting my girlfriend who lives there.

My eldest and I picked R up from robotics at 5, and then headed to meet M, my boyfriend, and his boys for dinner. It was a nice time, as always.

Kuma always stands there like a stalker when we drive away without her…

But guess what I did?! I ordered my first whiskey drink ever! And you know what? It was good! My best friend and her husband were very pleased with me 🙂

Today I’m off. I have a bunch of appointments, so just took a vacation day to get it all done. Dentist, surgeon post op check, and letting Raven play with my hair 🙂

Odd Numbers are My Jam

FOOD

I only actually made one meal in the past 4-5 days. I had so much of the kitchen sink curry leftovers, that I had that for three meals.

I did have tofu green curry, but it was a work meeting and it felt a little odd to take a picture – then I’d have to explain that I have a blog, and while I normally don’t care, not everyone I have meetings with really needs this insight into my personal life 😏.

Friday night’s dinner was an olive tray at our wine bar, but I forgot to take pics.

Saturday brunch was a Bloody Mary, pointsetta mimosa (which was delicious), and half of a hummus and veggie wrap. The menu item was labeled vegan, and it came with some chips. I had one, it was quite good, and my bf tried one. Immediately told me they were likely NOT vegan. Waitress double checked – they were indeed not the vegan ones. They gave me sour cream and onion (no wonder I didn’t recognize the flavor – I just kept telling my bf that it tasted like garlic or something). She felt horrible – bought me another mimosa, and brought some salt and pepper chips – in the bag so I could check. I ate a few and took that bag and half the wrap home. Honest mistake. Not thrilled I ate dairy, but it won’t kill me. I don’t have an allergy, it’s a choice.

Last night I made a vegan ramen-ish dinner. Vegan ramen noodles, a broth made of veggie broth, miso, ginger, and soy, and then threw in peas, corn, green beans, and Morningstar farms fake chicken strips. It was really good, but way too much. Ate about half.

FITNESS

HIIT and a run. Packing for the gym after work is new to me. And I had my bag on Thursday – but forgot my shoes 🤦🏻‍♀️. So I went home and got into my gym clothes – shoes included – and then drove back to the gym. I always use locker 139. It’s strange, but 1 – I like odd numbers, and 2 – I guess I’m more a creature of habit than I like to admit. Getting there Thursday evening, my locker was taken! As were all of them in that row. So I had to use a <gasp> even number. 134. Oh the horror. Honestly though, odd numbers have always been my favorite. Pretty much every good thing in my life is related to an odd number. Most of the people I love (excluding my sister and her kids and dad, who were both in even years) were born in odd years. Graduations were ALL in odd years. Other milestones too. I tend to pick them for hotel rooms, movie seats, and yes, my locker damnit. What can I say? Odd numbers are my jam.

Today R had a 2 1/2 hour robotics meeting in Franklin, VA, which is just about an hour away. I knew I couldn’t use that time to study, so decided to use it to run and then read. Unfortunately the school she was at did not have a track, but it was in a residential area, so the run was still easy enough. Streets are nicely square, so I didn’t get lost either. Knocked out 5 miles and then sat in my car reading. Let’s just say that by the time I got home, I was more than ready for a shower after wallowing in my own sweaty mess for hours.

LIFE

Well, only two days of work after the holiday. Both were good days. Thursday’s focus was on a joint venture new company proposal downtown, and Friday was a lot of things, but the best one is with a start up I’m working with in the UK. It’s been a slow process, but things are really moving along now. I also had a work lunch meeting, and while the guy was late and mildly annoying, it was overall ok.

Thursday after work was the gym and writing. Friday after work was wine bar date with my boyfriend and staying at his place. Brunch in the morning, and then a nap in the afternoon with the floofs.

Today was the robotics adventure for 5 hours. Was chatting with my guy about my digital planner. I do a weekly plan, a daily plan (always planned the night before) – which includes my schedule and a separate page where I do bullet journaling to keep track of tasks for that day. This is what today’s bullets looked like. So far I’ve done them all except meditate…

I also do a weekly meal plan, but I created a OneNote template for that and groceries. I swear, I’m not nuts – I just like to be organized. And I like lists…

After I got home, I took a shower and snuggled with the floofs again for a bit.

Even after I got up, Kuma decided naps were really the best way to spend the afternoon

Then I worked on my edits for my dissertation for the rest of the day, until it was time to make dinner.

Will be strange to have a full and normal week. Work, family, school, gym. Rinse and repeat!

Au Revoir 2019, Bonjour 2020!

FOOD

Been a pretty good week. Not a lot of food, but what I did eat was yummy!

Bruch with my baby was delicious. Vegan burrito and festive drinks.

Grapes for dinner at Busch Gardens.

Morningstar Farms vegan chicken strips with greenbeans (I was hungry and this was fast).

Tofu green curry (of course)

Kitchen Sink Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 block tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 can green beans
  • 1 package frozen cauliflower rice
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 1 sweet potato peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp red curry powder or paste (I use the Spice House powder)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

Directions:

  • Throw everything in your pressure cooker (I used my Ninja Foodi)
  • High for 6 minutes. Natural release for 10.

It was really, really yummy! Makes 4 servings.

Family Mexican dinner night out – vegan bowl and margaritas!

Today was an Eastern Shore lunch date for a Beyond burger and beer flight (of which 1 I just couldn’t stomach – so he drank it for me!).

FITNESS

4 gym days for that HIIT class and 2 runs.

I really do dig this class. But saying it’s a class isn’t exactly accurate. It is a daily curated workout where there are 15 stations. You exercise 3 rounds at each station, and each round is 1 minute. There’s a timer that indicates when a round starts and ends (there’s a 20 second rest period after each round) Each day is a different focus. Like yesterday was arms and back. Today was full body and core. There’s almost always a trainer or two wandering around to motivate and correct. There are also videos for each station to show the moves, so when I’m there and there isn’t a trainer (like today), I’m not lost.

So – here was today:

10 minute warm-up on the rower.

  1. Sit in a V position in front of weighted ropes and, using your core, flip the ropes over your legs.
  2. Using a TRX suspension trainer, put your feet in them, and then walk into an inverted V as many times as possible before the buzzer rings.
  3. Leg raises on an inverted incline
  4. Skierg (love this thing. It’s essentially a standing rower – more to mimic cross country ski motions with your arms than any leg work)
  5. Walking dumbbell lunches
  6. Pulley rope pull. This one you sit and imagine tug of war, but the rope is silicone and going through a pulley to put tension on it.
  7. Barbell squat + overhead press
  8. Rower
  9. Hard to explain this one – you hold dumbbells overhead – but in an X shape. Then touch elbow to opposite knee. It was awkward and I felt highly uncoordinated!
  10. Cybex Arc Trainer on a forward incline
  11. Combo move of dumbbell curls to overhead press while stepping up on a box and doing a knee raise
  12. V sit ups while sitting on a 1/2 bosu ball
  13. Cybex Arc trainer upright (not forward incline)
  14. While lying back, raise legs and move in a half circle to one side, back, and then the other
  15. Oblique crunches

Total circuit takes 45 minutes plus whatever warm up. You wear a HR monitor that displays on the screen to let you know how you’re working. Today I was feeling slow, but still burned 612 calories, so despite the struggle, it was still awesome.

I also like that it changes every day. I don’t do well with monotony.

LIFE

It’s been a really nice and mostly lazy week.

Thursday my guy and I hit up our wine bar and I stayed at his place, and then we had brunch in the morning.

Friday was cleaning and mostly hanging around the house. Oh, and an emergency vet visit because Kuma got into A’s stocking and ate chocolate! She’s fine, and after getting home, we snuggled on my bed watching Star Wars.

Did visit the guy for a bit that evening and finished the last Star Wars movie in the series before the new one.

Saturday was The Rise of Skywalker! I actually really liked it. I was never a big Star Wars fan (I was always Star Trek over Star Wars), but having just watched them all in the previous week, I had a good appreciation of it. Stayed over again.

A very hippie book was recommended to me, and I promised I’d read it, so I glad I got it at the library (and didn’t spend any $ on it). I’m trying, but I can honestly tell you I am not really digging it. But I’ll finish it because I did make a promise. But ugh. Sunday morning was wonderful and lazy – coffee and reading on the sofa with my bf. Then home.

Sunday afternoon R and I hit up Busch Gardens for arcade fun and Christmas Town. Honestly, the lights were beautiful. It always does blow me away.

Was hoping for an air hockey rematch battle, but it was busted

Monday it was really warm out – so it was run fun and I honestly can’t recall what else 😳. Grocery shopping probably.

Tuesday I went to see my good friend M, who is moving to Nashville this weekend. Going to miss him and his wife very much, but I have friends all over the world I manage to see on occasion, and I have no doubt we’ll visit M&R over the years.

Then it was time to hit up the outlet mall with R to spend some gift cards and then meet up with all the fam, minus my eldest, for NYE dinner.

We went home, I rented a movie, and was in bed by 1030!

2019 really flew by. It was mostly a good year, but I’m not sad to see it go. The past decade has been really eventful! Obtained 2 degrees (and the majority of a 3rd), raised a family, got divorced, made some of the most amazing friends a girl could have, traveled the world, lost my Dad, discovered what drives me and makes me passionate, found love, and, more than anything, realize just how much I like me. Will I always strive to be a better person? Absolutely. But by and large, I like who I am as a person, what I stand for, my independence and strength, and who I surround myself with.

So 2020 is here – now what? For me, big focus is on graduating with my doctorate. No reason I can’t finish this year – just means a lot of work (not like that’s anything new – but this is now all self guided research and writing). It’s really exciting! And then focusing on what to do with it, which I’ve certainly been giving a lot of thought to.

One thing I will occasionally do is take on a “project food”. My dad always said that if you don’t like something you eat, it is because it wasn’t prepared in a way you like. I took that to heart, and over the years, I’ll tackle a food I didn’t like, but make myself try it and prepare it in various ways over a year. If I still hate it, then I know I at least tried. I’ve done this with blueberries (used to hate them unless in a muffin), beets, and mushrooms. Mushrooms I say are a partial success. I like portobellos, but that’s about it. This year’s project food – WHISKEY!

Yes, I know it’s not a food, but if you’ve read recent posts, you know I’m pretty obsessed with becoming a whiskey drinker. My eldest and son-in-law even bought me a nice bottle for Christmas. And I picked up one recommended by my best friend too. So – I’m not sure how it’ll go – I’ve always disliked it – but I’m going to give it a shot! Wish me luck.

First attempt….

Random pics from the week that don’t fit anywhere else!

Not bad, considering most my free time is spent on school! I love to read, and while I do a blend of professional and fiction books – I know there’s more fiction in here than non!