You Light Up My Life. And My Bedroom.

FOOD

Been a busy 10 days with a combo of home eats and travel eats.

First – I made a chipotle tex-mex risotto that was killer. Ate it for days!

My boy’s 22nd bday dinner was at his fav sushi/Japanese restaurant and I left SO stuffed. Edamame, cucumber salad, tofu, and sweet potato rolls. YUM.

I flew up to Chicago on Sunday and drove up to the Milwaukee area to see my mom and sister. My mom and I went to a lovely Italian place in Mequon. We shared some bruschetta and I had a simple spicy pasta dish.

Monday morning I had a tofu chilaquiles for breakfast that was amazing. At the conference they had fruit and chia pudding for snacks. Loved it.

Tuesday I had some coffee and a banana in my room for breakfast. I don’t recall lunch – probably a salad at the conference – and dinner I went for Italian again!

Of course there was a tofu green curry dish, and last night was also just a veggie salad on toasted Ezekiel bread with Daiya cream cheese.

No pics, but this morning was a smoothie for breakfast, no lunch, and some creamy tofu-mushroom stroganoff for dinner.

FITNESS

LOTS of runs this past week. Sunday and Wednesday weather in Chicago was wet and cold, but Monday and Tuesday were beautiful. So Monday and Tuesday were runs outside and Wednesday morning was the gym treadmill.

Thursday I went for a run outside at home, which was wonderful – perfect weather.

Think I’m going to focus on yoga this coming week though. My lower back has been sore since late last week. I thought it was sleeping funny or maybe from kickboxing, but it’s a bit worse, so some good yoga is in order!

LIFE

Well – it’s been busy! Shocker, I know. R had her end of year orchestra banquet on Thursday, which was really lovely.

Friday was my fairly normal evening with my guy. Out for a bit and then stay at his place.

Saturday was M’s 22nd birthday! I made a cake as usual (lemon with vanilla “buttercream” frosting) and 14 of us went out for dinner! All you can eat sushi is just insane, but very tasty. Everyone had a great time. It included cake eaten with chopsticks.

Sunday I was up early and on a morning flight to Chicago. Picked up my mom, had lunch, took her home, then went to my sister’s for a bit, which is always awesome. My niece is heading to Germany this weekend for 3 weeks on a school trip – SO excited for her. 15 is a great age to start exploring the world. Well – any age really, but I’m still really stoked for her.

Traffic sucked SO badly heading back to Chicago. Oh well.

The conference was really great – especially the first day. That evening was a reception at the CEO’s house, which was very lovely. Not much food wise for me (though he’s a vegetarian – only vegan eat was a fresh spring roll).

I did watch the US Women’s World Cup opener against Thailand. I started to feel pretty badly for the Thai players. 13-0 is pretty humiliating.

I skipped the reindeer games Tuesday night. I like being around people – but I also really like being alone. After a couple days of intense interaction, I decided some me time was needed. It started with a much needed pedicure, then a rooftop bar and a book, then dinner, a walk through a park on the lake, and then bed.

I came home Wednesday, but due to weather, my flight was delayed. Though I met a really amazing woman at the wine bar at O’Hare. Her flight to Denver was also delayed so we spent hours chatting.

It was very cute, but my guy actually stayed awake texting me the entire time (yay for free in-flight texting!). When I landed safely home, he signed off and went to bed. Well, as we usually do – when I got home I sent him a quick text to let him know I made it safely. Especially since I was going to sleep in the next day. He’d worry, and I’d hate that.

A couple minutes later, I get this…. 🤣🤣

Apparently my text lit up his phone – and his room. I mean, he was awake, but still. Freaking hilarious.

Thursday was a 1/2 day for me working from home. My original plan was to head to DC in the afternoon for an event today and then come home today. But I had too much to do, so I scrapped that plan and stayed home.

On the fun front – I’m done with school for another term! My research topic has been approved! So – I have a couple weeks off, but lots I plan to do in terms of my research and getting organized. I’m switching citation software (from Refworks to Endnote), and need to do some cleaning up of my citations. My next term’s focus is on the literature review (about 30 pages and a min of 85 sources – but I already have 60, so that’s a great start) and a course on research methodology as I put together my approach for IRB approval. Guess I actually need to do this now, huh? ☺️

Today R when to her HS graduation to cheer on some friends from robotics and orchestra who are graduating. She’s now officially a junior 😳

Otherwise today was some work related research on pricing models (I’m a fan of vested pricing model approach personally). Then it was grocery shopping, cleaning, yard work, cooking, and a little poolside reading.

And other random pics for your entertainment!

My chilling at Borjo’s coffee doing my pricing model research waiting on R while she was at graduation

Our fav wine bar has several of these horrible prints in full size. Cracked me up seeing a shop of them at O’Hare

This is me. I’m directionally challenged. Badly.

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

Boredom Be Gone!

FOOD

I honestly have very little to say here! It’s been a week of fend for yourself kind of meals, including leftovers. That means soups, sammiches, beans and rice, and pasta dishes.

Had a 10am meeting in Norfolk, so stopped at Yorgos for one of my fav bfasts!

Gf shells, peas, chickpeas tossed in Earth Balance and pepper

I did make tempeh and cauliflower buffalo bites in the foodie tho, using the air crisp function! Served with the last of the vegan ranch I made last week.

FITNESS

A couple runs and some bedroom yoga.

Started getting sick on Friday, so the weekend was not an overly active one.

LIFE

Vacation is over! Both work and school started back up, and I for one am not sad about that. No more boredom! I was getting very stir crazy. Went back to work last Wednesday, and classes started on Friday. Well, technically it was today, but the materials were available on Friday, so that meant I started then too.

I didn’t do a 530 wake up most days when I was on vacation. I was usually up by 6 most days, and 7-730 on the days I wasn’t feeling well. Figure sleep is more important for healing than anything.

Wednesday I went to Back Bay Farmhouse Brewery with my girlfriend LC. Was awesome to catch up, and the beers were pretty yummy. Much better than the ciders – only other time I was there was with my guy, and neither of us liked the ciders. Glad to know their beer is better. It’s a really cute place too. One of the beers I had was figs grown on their property that was then soaked in barley wine and then brewed into beer. Fun!

I was a little early, so was working until LC got there.

Friday night was supposed to be a fun night out with my guy and staying there. I tried, I really did. But I couldn’t be in denial anymore when I realized I actually felt like hell. Sore throat, body aches, ear ache, and fever. So – I went home and pouted.

Saturday one of my girlfriends was supposed to come over, but I had to cancel. Both me and R were sick.

Sunday I was actually feeling pretty well. Woke with a minor sore throat, but my appetite started coming back. So, it was off to Richmond with my boyfriend. One of my really awesome friends NS (from Nairobi) has gone vegan for 2019! Something I want to send him I can either order and pay insane shipping fees, or go to Richmond and buy it. Plus, we really love Richmond, so that was an easy choice.

We stopped first in Cary Town for spices and coffee, then to the store for NS’s surprise (he reads this, so I can’t tell you what it is….yet!). We then went to Buskey’s, which never ever is a bad idea. Had a totally amazing time (as always) and then went home. Stopped at Subway on the way, and I stayed at his place for the night. Good times.

FYI, Tart Cherry, Earl Grey Lemon Ginger, Blue Hedgehog, Heritage Blend, and (not shown but they had in the back so we got it anyway) jalapeño lime and grape expectations are all amazing.

On the Luna front, she’s assimilating quite nicely. She and Kuma actually get along great. They tend to sleep near each other and play often. Luna chases Kuma just as much as Kumabear chases Luna. It’s really fun and sweet and they’re both just so silly.

Ah yes. Can’t leave paper towels where kitties can get to them…
My bed. Kuma next to me, Luna on the pillow. At one point I woke and Luna had her paw on
On A’s bed as she studied

After R took a bath with a lavender bath bomb and lavender bubble bath….Luna apparently liked it so much (after the water evaporated) that she rolled around in it!

I LOVE my spice rack. Custom built from upcycled wine barrels. Excited that my boyfriend is making one too! Not from wine barrels, but I can’t wait to see it. It’ll be beautiful. And everyone who loves to cook should have a bitchin spice rack!

I was out of popcorn. Don’t judge.

My boyfriend bought R a camp chair she wanted. Let’s just say she’s not waiting until camping
season to use it…

At Starbucks doing some reading before classes started. And documenting in my Commonplace Book

MY YEAR OF LESS

Happy for the start of the year. Decided this week to cook from food I already had in the house. I always have a TON – beans, rice, veggies, and fruits are always in supply. I picked up a few fresh veggies and fruits, but otherwise have been making meals with what I have on hand.

I bought the gift for NS, a replacement spiralizer for me, and yesterday out in Richmond. Also some pet supplies for Luna.

Nope. Brain isn’t Melting. I Hope.

FOOD

Been a fairly typical week. Smoothies, salads, soups, curries, and stir fries mainly! I’m loving the (mostly) chilly weather.

Lazy meal – beyond meat crumbles + marinara over pasta
Simple Instant Pot dish – 1 c soaked pintos, 1.5 c br rice, 1 jar salsa, 4 c broth 25 min high pressure

Yes, popcorn is a meal!

Out for Indian with my guy!
Enjoying drinks on the water
Special order FAIL. Our admin is amazing – always orders me vegan eats. Kitchen screwed up and added feta 🤨
Thankfully (or sadly) I expect them to screw up, so I always bring back up eats. This time – leftover soup!
Killing time at the Sbux where my son works. Apparently this is my new nick name??

FITNESS

Been another really active week. Runs several days and LIIFT4 on 4 of the days. Good times!

LIFE

School, work, school, family, school, school, school. Oh, you get the point. Every waking minute when I’m not working, working out, with my family, or my guy – I’m studying. And since I sleep for crap, that leaves a LOT of time for studying! I can’t tell if my brain is melting or expanding. I’m hoping for the latter. It’s all good though. I really do love learning.

Kuma – my study buddy sleeping on the job
Was a really cold saturday, so studies with tea!

Friday night was fun. R and I hung out, played Backgammon, and watched Black Panther.

My guy got some new shades and he sent me a selfie in them. I was already in bed, so sending a reciprocal selfie was met with squinted eyes due to the flash. So I got my old Burberry glasses (that he hates) and did one with those instead!

I was feeling pretty run down on Saturday, and while I took a nap, A took R (and Kuma) to a local farm to get pumpkins!

Also having all 3 kids home – at the same time – for a picture! (Ignore the floors – we’re mid- home improvement project!)

Sunday was studying during the day and then most of the day and evening with my guy. Was tons of fun, as always.

Otherwise- my life in miscellaneous pictures!

R and I were at Sbux waiting on M and saw a rainbow!
My guy’s youngest and I whine about math. So I sent him this 🙂
For my next house?
Showing off my new glasses for my guy (while wearing his fav sweatshirt 🤣🤣)
Quick wine and magazine break from calculating statistical control charts. Can ya blame a girl?

Looking forward to the rest of the week. Have a few really cool/nerve wracking things happening, my birthday, and fun times planned!

MY YEAR OF LESS

Well, I was confronted for the first time for something I didn’t allot for. Eyebrow waxing! Now, thankfully I’m not really hairy or anything, so every 2-3 months is fine. But I will tell you – I will NOT tweeze. Ugh. So, I did pay the $10 to get them waxed last weekend.

The only other unplanned thing was an Uber – which was a necessity after the golf tournament! Otherwise, everything is within expected categories: replacing things that ran out, groceries, and going out, but not going over my monthly limit.

And what am I doing with all this $$ I’m not spending? Paying off bigger ticket item bills, loans, and putting stuff into savings.

I Need Work Shoes…Who Knew??

FOOD

I think it’s really fortunate that I love to cook. Well, I guess it’s only fortunate that I’m a GOOD cook. Would kind of suck for people if I loved to cook but was terrible at it…

Anywhoo. There was lots of cooking the past couple days.

But first. Smoothies!

Chocolate Vega powder, banana, and spinach

Saturday night was an Indian Feast + Game night. I made 8 dishes:

  • Garlic naan
  • Basmati rice
  • Tofu/pea tikka masala
  • Red Lentil Dal
  • Soy Yogurt curry Potatoes
  • Charred eggplant and potato
  • Curried cauliflower/carrot/peas
  • “Butter” “chick’n” – made with soy curls

Cooking took several hours, but that was fun

Sunday was obviously more chill. I marinated some pressed and cubed tofu in tamari, lime juice, garlic, and agave, and then stir fried that up. Also made a sweet and sour red cabbage dish in the Instant Pot too. Very simple recipe of broth, apple cider vinegar, unsweetened apple sauce, and salt.

Today was lasagna-ladas! Basically – and I’ve mentioned this before – I’m lazy. I don’t like going thru the drama of rolling up the enchiladas since it all ends up a mess anyway. So – layer the corn tortillas and filling like lasagna, top with enchilada sauce, and bob’s your uncle.

Topped with the last of my homemade soy yogurt

Mine was loosely based on Chef AJ’s Enchilada Strata dish from The China Study All-Star Collection. I used canned enchilada sauce (read above “lazy”), and some different fillings. I also topped with my pickled jalapeños from last week! SO good.

FITNESS

Okay, had two runs. One Saturday morning and one this morning. I also did a Beachbody workout today called LIIFT4. It’s a combo weight training and HIIT program. Just launched today, so I figure why not check it out? I really enjoyed it, though I was literally a sweaty puddle on the floor after….

LIFE

It’s only been a couple days, so not a whole ton! Saturday afternoon I went out with my guy for a while. Then we went grocery shopping and came back to my house so I could start my marathon cooking spree. It was fun bouncing around the kitchen, drinking wine, and getting kisses.

It turned into a little party. It was me and my 3 kids, him and his youngest, a friend of A’s, M’s girlfriend, and another of M’s friends. Certainly plenty of food for the 9 of us. The kids all hung out either playing or watching video games, and the playing a board game after dinner while my guy and I chilled outside and then napped!

Sunday was cleaning, yard work, and reading. Very low key. Just maybe a wee boring. BUT – one more week and my next term starts and then I’ll wish to be bored!

Today was work and finishing the yard work. That’s it!

Definitely need “work shoes”…my flip flop life ain’t havin it…

On a different note – I have been seriously slacking on my “becoming a morning person” plan. And after some serious shaming by my guy yesterday, I’ve recommitted to it. Despite the fact that lately I can’t seem to fall asleep before midnight-one am (and last night was no different), I still got my a$$ up at 530. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t pretty. But I did it. So suck it, baby.

MY YEAR OF LESS

Month one is DONE. Overall, I’m pretty happy, though there are areas I can definitely tighten up.

Overall, I spent 9.56% more than I intended. That was due to a few things I bought for the house (to facilitate said yard work mentioned above), and MUCH higher water and power bills than anticipated. My water bill was 252% higher than budgeted and my power bill was 63.9% higher. What was cool was I was under in so many other areas. Not always by a lot, but by enough that – even with those crazy expenses – I wasn’t too far over what I thought I’d have in expenses as a whole. I spent much less on groceries, gas, entertainment, and my natural gas bill than I budgeted. Will definitely trend that over time.

All this meant I put a healthy chunk into savings as well as paid down some other bills. All told – good first month, but I know it could be better. Stay tuned!

AC Off, Soup ON!

FOOD

Okay, I’m a big believer in soups whenever the heck you want soup. Doesn’t matter about the weather, but there IS something fun about fall soup season kicking in.

I was going to whip up a butternut squash/apple soup for dinner tonight but the darn thing was bad. But, I did have an acorn squash, so whipped up something fun with that.

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed into large chunks
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Place squash cut side down in oven-safe dish with about 1 inch of water
  • Place remaining veggies and garlic in a different oven-safe dish. Coat with olive oil and maple syrup
  • Roast everything in the oven for 45 minutes. Let cool.
  • Put all the veggies (scoop out the squash, silly), the broth, coconut milk, and broth in a large sauce pan. Blend with immersion blender. If you don’t have one, blend in batches in your blender. But really – for $25, if you’re a soup junkie like me, just get the immersion blender!

Also – will say I went a little sweet with this. I think it’d be yummy with curry in place of the nutmeg and cinnamon too.

And this was not my only soup either! I whipped up the Spicy Potato Kale soup from Awesome Vegan Soups, using hot peppers from our garden of course.

Speaking of hot peppers, we’ve had so many from the garden, had to do something with them. My guy suggested pickling. Brilliant! Used this recipe. Minus the bell peppers, with a blend of jalapeño and hot cherry peppers, and 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 bragg’s apple cider vinegar.

Other eats I made include this applesauce cake, tahini/maple/balsamic dressing, vegan sushi bowls (which I shared w my guy’s youngest), creamy mushroom stroganoff, salads, and smoothies.

Seasoned sushi rice, spicy cucumbers, edamame, tofu, and shaved carrot

Eats out include salads, Thai, various portabello mushroom dishes, olives, and pasta.

One of the portabello dishes. It has a LOT going on, but was tasty!

Olives and Wine!!!

Out with friends – portabello dish #2 from Whiskey Kitchen

Also had a few harvests. Not much as the season is winding down. We pulled the tomato plants. BUT – today I spotted a cucumber. The FIRST of the season! The cuc and squash plants all died in late spring. But, they found their way back! Also, A had decided to try her hand at sweet potatoes. After vines going crazy, we pulled them – and had a pretty surprising harvest. SO tasty.

FITNESS

Been a busy and good week. Alternating runs, yoga, and kickboxing. Been taking advantage of the beach body streaming workouts now that I’m not going to drop in yoga classes or kickboxing classes anymore!

LIFE

Busy, but fun week! Started with…FIGHTER JETS! My friend D – whom I mentioned in my last post – is part of a charity group called Warrior Team – seriously check the link because what they do is pretty cool! We got to see their pilots flying Russian jets dog fighting while my friend MC’d the whole thing. After we (me, my youngest R, my guy, and his youngest) went to go meet them. D gave us a tour and history lesson of all the planes on the tarmac, down to which battles they fought in (like WWII), etc. It was fascinating and made the whole air show that much cooler.

After, we dropped the kids, got cleaned up, and then met D, one of his pilot buds, and good friends MM and RM for dinner and drinks. Very fun night.

Grad school buds and friends for life.

Since I have no school until the 8th, I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading! Taking FULL advantage of the library and my Kindle Unlimited subscription!

So while I was reading, caught Kuma hopping around the yard. Clearly stalking something – assuming a cricket or grasshopper or frog. You know. Something that’s actually smaller than her!

If you must know, it’s the Rylee Adamson series from Shannon Mayer. quick and fun reads and right up my alley when I’m between classes and research

Tuesday after work I met up with a friend for happy hour. It rained off and on that day, and on my way to my car after work, slipped on the wooden bridge. Argh. Wasn’t wearing heels, nor running, or anything! Busted knee and wounded pride. Both are healing nicely.

My guy and I hit up the Oceanfront one evening for a drink and a stroll. Tourists are gone, so it was quiet. Watched some surfers and then went home.

Thursday night was wine class! We had a lot of fun – there was a pretty big crowd. We sampled 8-9 wines or so. After we went to a late dinner and then home.

Tonight was quiet – cut the grass, clean the kitchen kinda quiet. But – the biggest thing of the day is I TURNED OFF MY AIR CONDITIONER! I officially declare summer over. Let the breezes blow the fresh air through my house!

Tomorrow will be fun though – making a monster Indian Feast + Game Night for all my kids, a few friends, my guy, and his youngest. Will be cooking ALL day. Sounds pretty perfect to me!

Kuma clearly digging for something!

And while I don’t often get political on here (I leave that for Twitter, and boy oh boy have I lately!). – this week has made me CRAZY.

MY YEAR OF LESS

So I really did have to switch to the $200 limit this month. I thought 4x per month of going out would be logical. Once per week with my guy and that’s it! But life is quite different. Taking my daughter to her appointment with no choice but to stop for lunch, or work related networking outings, etc. As of today – 9/28 – I’m at $198.72 in “going out”. Though I went out 8 times.

Everything else this week has been groceries ($32).

I should have been taking advantage of the school break to work on purging – but I haven’t. I see that as some rainy weekend ahead!