Weather Whiplash, History Hike, and Day Date Fun

FOOD

Thursday morning I had an eye dr appt before work. I left early enough to stop at Yorgos for a vegan “bacon, egg, and cheese” on a sourdough bagel and an orange and beet juice. SO yummy. Hadn’t been here since NS and I went when he wasn’t visiting from Kenya.

Lunch was leftover Ethiopian stew and dinner was leftover feijoada with cauliflower rice. Popcorn snack!

I had a great date-day with my guy that started with breakfast – mimosas and hummus plate for me! Then we stopped for coffee, did some shopping, and then headed to our fav place for some cider and beer flights. We tried to stop at the distillery, but they were only doing tastings. Since whiskey isn’t either of our jams, we passed. At the brewery, we shared a big pretzel and I got the Beyond Meat burger and fries.

I was too full for dinner! Though I met up with a girlfriend at a local spot for half a glass of wine in the evening.

Today was oatmeal with banana and pumpkin pie spice and another Beyond Meat burger at the same brewery (too full for the fries), but this time with my daughter. No beer tho.

FITNESS

I went for a 5 mile run on Thursday and R and I went on a 3 mile hike today! The hike was awesome. It was pretty, but mainly just walking and talking with R was the best part. She went over everything she’s currently learning in history, which much of it I’d forgotten over the years. The terrain was very flat, which was a bummer, but lots of beautiful butterflies. I picked up a year-long state park parking pass, so we plan to hit up as many as possible (and VA has a LOT of them!).

LIFE

Thursday was working and school fun and my eye dr appt. No changes, which is nice. The weather definitely dipped though. Crazy that a week prior it was 100 degrees! Getting whiplash with the weather. Today was lovely and near 80.

Friday I had off and made the best of it! Truly a great day. R was in the homecoming parade, A was at work, and M has been sick, so it was nice to get a text from S at the last minute asking to hang out. Since I had time to kill before picking R up, it was perfect.

Today started off with school fun, then R and I getting our flu shots, heading to the park for the hike, to the brewery for lunch, then the drive home where she promptly passed out. Stopped to pick up my dry cleaning on the way home, took a shower, and plan to just ready, study, and chill!

Allergies or Cold? Ask Queen!

FOOD

Being home means kitchen fun! And being sick means soup…

I made a batch of vegan broccoli cheese soup and a loaded veggie one too. Soup for days!

I also made some soy yogurt, oatmeal, tofu stir fry, salads, blueberry sauce, tandoor tofu with curry veggies, green juice, and a spice cake!

Also made my first go at homemade vegan mayo. Seriously – not going back. SO simple and cheap. A jar costs about $7 at the grocery. This was about $1.50. I do prefer making as much from scratch as possible – I know what is in it, and what isn’t. No chemicals to keep things shelf stable, etc. That makes me happy – knowing that’s what I’m eating and how I feed those I love.

And one lunch out with my guy – pad Thai with tofu.

FITNESS

Well, I got home from Boston at the wee hours of Wednesday morning. By late afternoon, I was not feeling well. By Thursday, I was miserable. Friday definitely on the upswing, but still got exhausted easily. Saturday felt dang near normal, so went for a walk around the neighborhood. Nothing overly taxing, but still getting out and moving.

This morning, I felt great, and wildly stir crazy (which is normal for me), so I went hiking! I figured I wouldn’t push it too much. But….I may have gotten lost, so the hike itself was longer than planned, but still wonderful. All told, 5 beautiful miles!

LIFE

Well, already mentioned the being under the weather thing. As such, I worked from home and tried to relax as much as I am capable. Which meant sitting, reading, then puttering in the kitchen or trying to clean something. But mostly chilling out. Which, I admit, I suck at.

Friday afternoon I actually rented a movie! I watched the new Men in Black movie. It was fun enough.

Saturday I was definitely stir crazy. I ran a few errands, but mostly stayed home. I did get quite a bit of writing done, which made me happy. Both for my research as well as a LinkedIn article series I’m writing. This is the second one which I’ll publish Monday morning. Important to focus some energy on building my personal brand.

Unfortunately my boyfriend got sick this weekend, so we haven’t been able to see each other, but it is what it is. Will see him soon.

I head out in the morning for a 3 day trip that I’m actually really looking forward to. Not to say I don’t typically look forward to travels, but this one is different, and I think it’ll be great.

With that – time to get the laundry finished and pack!

Luna likes leftover Indian food!

I think they like me feeling poopy – they get to nap all day on my bed

My fortune from lunch with my guy. I like it. It is my plan, after all.

Learned about this from some colleagues in Boston last week. Perfect timing. Wonder if that’s why I was only sick 2 days instead of longer!
Only Queen can sum up ragweed allergy season!

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!

It’s Party Season!

FOOD

Mostly simple meals, even when traveling the few days I had to this month. Salads, soups, smoothies, curries, and I’ve totally gotten on the ONO (overnight oats) bandwagon. Seriously – 1/2 cup of oats, 1/2 cup nondairy milk (I like the So Delicious Original Coconut Milk), and a healthy amount of Penzy’s Apple Pie spice.

Stir Fried Mushrooms, BBQ Tofu, and Mashers

FITNESS

I finally built the Power Tower in the garage, so there’s a full fledged mini gym, and I’ve definitely taken advantage of it. FYI – pull ups suck.

Also hot yoga and runs as well, plus a lovely trail run.

And on that note, I signed up for a half marathon for later in the year. I got out of the race habit when I started grad school, and I’ve really missed it. It’ll be nice to have a race to train for again.

Also, downloaded a weather app called WTForcast. Love it. This was this evening’s weather as I prepped for a night run….

LIFE

Busy busy busy. But that’s nothing new, and I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I was just home all day all the time. Yuck. I’d be bored senseless and probably become pretty damned boring myself!

Work has been really good. I’m liking my new role a lot – my focus is on building a new program and core competency in innovation, and I love having so much freedom to develop that framework myself. Fun stuff.

I had to do some traveling to attend a staff Christmas party out of town, but it was a nice trip. The party itself was nice, if not small. I also got to see one of my girlfriends who lives up there, so that’s always a bonus!

Last Monday was the UVA Darden School of Business Alumni holiday party for local alums. Three of us from my class went (the 4th was vacationing in Hawaii – the brat), as well as a couple people from work who went to Darden as well. It was a nice evening, and a great chance to network with local alumni.

R had her first high school orchestra concert this week! She plays bass and they all honestly put on an amazing performance.

On Friday R and I went to a pre screening of Jumanji. It was hilarious and we had a blast.

R and I hit up the salon yesterday. She got her hair cut and I got a pedi (sparkly red for the holidays!).

Then it was off to an ugly sweater party at one of my bowling team mates house. That was a ton of fun. My sweater was interactive. Basically a drinking game. The front is a target and people are given Velcro balls to throw at it. Funny enough, one of the other party goers had a similar sweater! All in all, fun stuff.

Otherwise, it’s been normal life stuff. Kids, fluffs, and friends!

Have a great week!!

Grads, Family Fun, and Food!

FOOD

Okay wow, it’ll be another photo collage of tons of eats!  I’ve had family in town for nearly two weeks, so there has been quite a bit of food since my last post a little over a week ago.

pineapple-tofu stir fry!  M's friend was spending the night, and this was his first exposure ever to both tofu AND stir fry.    At one point my Dad said "if you didn't tell anyone, no one would know it's tofu".  That defeats the purpose for me - you SHOULD know what you eat.  And know that plant-based food is awesome.
pineapple-tofu stir fry! M’s friend was spending the night, and this was his first exposure ever to both tofu AND stir fry. At one point my Dad said “if you didn’t tell anyone, no one would know it’s tofu”. That defeats the purpose for me – you SHOULD know what you eat. And know that plant-based food is awesome.

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eating the first slices of cucumber from my first harvest of my first garden!!!
eating the first slices of cucumber from my first harvest of my first garden!!!
morning smoothies for my sister and I
morning smoothies for my sister and I.  It was my only smoothie of the week.  My Dad was sleeping downstairs, so I really couldn’t use my blender.  The greens are from my garden!
a fav meal.  Rye toast smeared with Daiya cream cheese, cuc slices (you know...harvest!) and sprinkled with dill.
a fav meal. Rye toast smeared with Daiya cream cheese, cuc slices (you know…harvest!) and sprinkled with dill.
more of this the next day!
more of this the next day!

We certainly had a few meals out the past week…

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And obligatory morning java shots!

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My brother in law is the chef in his house, so he and I tag-teamed two dinners.  It was fun playing in the kitchen with someone who loves to cook.  His family and mine have different eating habits, and with the kids, it was easier for us to each make our own versions.

One night was sloppy joes!  Mine were a spicy lentil version.  D fired up the grill, and MS (my BIL) made potato pockets – which were awesome, and we also had asparagus and pineapple (which had dark chocolate balsamic vinegar on it before grilling – and topped with some brown sugar and cinnamon after).

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I put the pineapple on my bun and topped with the lentil joes, and it was one of the most amazing things I’d ever eaten!

The next night was Mexican Monday!  I made a tempeh version and toppings included some cabbage slaw (just lime juice and a little raw sugar and salt), cilantro, tomatoes, onion, hot sauce, shredded lettuce, and vegan sour cream.  My niece and nephew are pretty particular and really only like daddy’s tacos, so MS made his, and everyone was happy with PLENTY of food to eat!

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It was nice to have a smoothie for breakfast this morning again though!  I’ve missed them this past week.

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Today’s lunch was a sloppy baked potato.  Meaning it was a baked potato with sloppy joe filling and sour cream.

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FITNESS

It’s been all runs, walks, swimming, and hikes the past week.

I snuck in a couple runs while family was here, but we’ve been so busy – but active – that I definitely got my sweat on!

Monday was a short hike at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, and yesterday R and I went down to the marine science museum and did the nature hike there – which was absolutely incredible!

crazy looking mushroom that R spotted
crazy looking mushroom that R spotted

Today was a great run in the middle of the day.  It was only in the 80’s (vs. the high 90’s and 100 degrees we’ve been having the past several days), and I apparently had some energy to burn, so I did 3 miles with a bunch of sprints peppered in there.

LIFE

Okay, so…my son graduated!  That’s why so much family has been in town, which was very sweet.  The ceremony went off well, and they got nearly 500 grads through in 1 hr and 5 minutes.  I was incredibly impressed!

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Grad party was Saturday, and we had a packed house.  It was a hot day, so having the pool party was perfect!

yes, someone bought M a giant inflatable swan...which is now named Meredith.
yes, someone bought M a giant inflatable swan…which is now named Meredith.

Speaking of the pool….that’s mostly what we did when C (my sister), her husband, and kids were here.  We did a few things out an about too, but they were only here for a few days, so it was mostly just trying to spend time together.  D also picked up an underwater digital camera, so there were many fun pics!

R
R
underwater cousins!
underwater cousins!

My niece and nephew had never seen an ocean, so we went to the Oceanfront in Virginia Beach on Sunday morning.  We went early to beat the tourists and the heat!  It was fun to walk along the surf, find shells, hit up the little shops, and then back to the house for swimming!

the younger cousins at beach front breakfast!  G, R, and M :)
the younger cousins at beach front breakfast! G, R, and M 🙂

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My niece M (yes, I’m realizing we have a lot of M’s in my family) is really into the Civil war.  So, on Monday we went to First Landing State Park where they just so happened to have a civil war spy adventure!  The kids were given a decoder ring, and found codes hidden in the park to decipher a message!  Eventually we found out that the cavalry – which was 200 strong – was going to arrive on the East road in 5 days, and that the ship carrying supplies would arrive in 3.  Too cool.  After that, we did a short hike.  It was another scorcher, and it just wasn’t fun for everyone in that crazy heat!

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The final night here was movie night, and we watched Megamind.  Here’s a shot of all the cousins getting ready for the flick!!

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Yesterday my sister and her family left.  R had a dr’s appt (physical for camp next month!), and we decided to spend the day together – which was really awesome.  We learned about local sea life and did a nature hike.  We’ve decided that we must do at least one nature hike a week.  We really do live in an amazing state…we have it all…mountains, oceans, rivers, marshes, forests, and everything in between (okay, we don’t have tundra or deserts, but that’s okay with me!).

yesterday's morningpicture!
yesterday’s morningpicture!

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My Dad left this morning, so today has been getting life back to routine.

And I leave you with other random shots of the week!

harvest!
harvest!

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my boys!
my boys!
R saw this yesterday and thought it was hilarious
R saw this yesterday and thought it was hilarious
M (BIL) was photobombing my wine shot
M (BIL) was photobombing my wine shot
Bumble by the pumpkin
Bumble by the pumpkin

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uncle D and M doing something fun on the iPad.  Two little techie peas in a pod right there!
uncle D and M doing something fun on the iPad. Two little techie peas in a pod right there!

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Falling for Hiking

FOOD

I honestly can’t remember everything of the past week.  My guess?  Smoothies, salads, and fruit are mostly likely what I ate.  Nothing is standing out though, so no amazing new (or accidental) creations.

I was lazy a few days.  This was my dinner one night...
I was lazy a few days. This was my dinner one night…
avocado and pickle on a rice cake!  I do so love this combination.
avocado and pickle on a rice cake! I do so love this combination.
a greens and berry smoothie
a greens and berry smoothie

FITNESS

I was all over the map last week when it came to fitness.  I’m trying to find my groove-thing without running, and I found myself pouting more than once about how life would be so much easier if I could just go run.

I did, however, get to go on a beautiful hike on Saturday.  A part of a meet-up group, R and I went with about 20-30 other hikers to a place called Crabtree Falls in the Blue Ridge Mountains, about 4 hours from home.  My HR monitor said it was 1200 calories burned in those couple of hours.

I live in a region called Tidewater.  To give you some type of explanation….it’s flat.  Sea level or below, it’s flat, marshy, wet, and flat.  The 1-2 hikes I’ve been on haven’t been the most fun, and I was really trying to find out what the big deal about hiking is.  Turns out, just a few hours away is the Piedmont region (as R was lecturing to me on the drive), and it’s NOT flat.  It made for a much more beautiful and challenging hike, and I’m starting to understand why people like hiking.

On a personal note, R flew to the front of the group and was the first to reach the summit.  I was somewhere near the back!  We had lunch and then hiked back down.  It really was an awesome time.  I’m glad she’s my hiking buddy.

R ready to hit the trails!
R ready to hit the trails!

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an her at the summit with the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains behind her
and her at the summit with the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains behind her

LIFE

Since R and I had woken up just before 5am on Saturday to get to the group hike, we spent the night in Richmond at a hotel.  We went swimming, had dinner, and then curled up in bed watching the Harry Potter movie marathon on ABC Family until we fell asleep – around 830 or so.

Sunday we met up with D, A, and M in Williamsburg and did a little shopping at the outlet mall and then over to Busch Gardens, where we had a blast (as always).  R is tall enough to rider her first big rollercoaster, and she loved it!  Yay…looks like we’re a rollercoaster family!

all 5 of us
all 5 of us
my girls....
my girls….

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D and I
D and I
M and R - about to go on their ride!
M and R – about to go on their ride!
random picture of Bumble, who can get comfy and sleep anywhere....
random picture of Bumble, who can get comfy and sleep anywhere….

So, all in all, my Mother’s Day weekend was absolutely amazing!