When Your Normal Layover Spot is your Destination

FOOD

Spent half the week on the road, and that was not good on the food front. I was in Atlanta and the event I was at had fruit for breakfast, nothing I could eat for lunch, and nothing I could eat at the one dinner event at the Botanical Gardens. Apparently normal attendees fill out a form during registration to indicate any dietary preferences or restrictions, but since I was a guest speaker, I didn’t do that.

I was able to have one meal on my own and went do a place called Einstein’s. They had one vegan dish – roasted veggies served on a curried Israeli couscous. It was pretty awful. The veggies had zero seasoning and the couscous was just nasty and hard.

To be fair, the carrots were good. The rest – sucked

I was back in the office on Thursday and had lunch with my friend J. I bought Girl Scout cookies from his daughter months ago, but we hadn’t had time to get together. I took him to my fav Thai place – he’d never been before – and had a really great time.

Thursday night I took my kids and BS out for pizza and pool. Well, they played pool and I studied until food game. It was A’s 24th bday the next day, so she got a serenaded to dessert.

Loved this walking into the pizza place. Undergrad from ODU, graduate from UVA, and I was in the Navy!
Synthesizing down my themes from my research materials – with a Bold Rock cider!

Friday I made a huge back of butternut squash red curry that’ll be meals for days. For dinner my guy and I went out and we had olives and I got a mushroom risotto.

Today has been mostly just snacks. Fruit, crackers and hummus. That kind of stuff.

FITNESS

Only got one run in, and that was yesterday morning. I didn’t pack workout clothes – if I had, I would’ve need to check my bag and I didn’t want to do that. I also started not feeling so hot on Tuesday. I think it’s just sinuses, but still. Ugh.

LIFE

Been a busy, but good week. I flew out early on Monday to Atlanta. You know what’s funny, I’ve flown through Atlanta more times than I can count – but it’s been since 2004 that it was a destination (another work thing). Funny – not just a layover spot!

Before I went, I made lunches for R for the days I was going to be gone. Just sammiches because everyone HATES making them. But since I went to bed early the night before and missed Game of Thrones, I was carrying my iPad around to watch it while getting ready to head to the airport. Didn’t finish until I was in Atlanta.

A chauffeur met me at the airport – that was new! Walking up on someone with an iPad displaying my last name. It was nice and he took me to my hotel. I got settled and went for a walk. Then went back to my room to work and study before the welcoming reception, which was really fun.

Kids wanted a picture. They’re funny

The next day was several sessions including the panel I was on to discuss blockchain in healthcare. It was a really great discussion since this time the audience were all healthcare leaders. We’re historically a slow-to-adopt industry, so it’s fun to be on the cutting edge of something that excites others. And yes, I’m a nerd.

That evening was the event at the Botanical Gardens. The theme was Alice in Wonderland, and it was so neat. But the best part was seeing E! I hadn’t since our grad school reunion over a year ago.

I absolutely adore Chihuly – so was thrilled to see this at the gardens

The next day had some more sessions and then came home. Had some time to kill so walked some more and then got a quick manicure before my ride to the airport.

Cucumber-basil mojito at the airport

I got home literally just in time for my live class at 8pm. Then work and normal routines the next day (not that anything about my life is routine!). Luna decided to stand above my laptop and “watch” class. If my camera was one, my classmates literally just would’ve seen a kitty snoot. She also liked to bat at the cursor as it moved along.

Friday night I spent with my guy after going out for a bit. Early night though since we were both pretty drained from the week. Today Mateo and the boys went to the movies and I mainly studied. I have another ~3 weeks to get my research topic approved. I’m close – but not there yet. The focus now is on the research objectives and research questions I expect my research to address. So – no pressure 😳.

Tomorrow is all studying all day as those research deliverable are due. Then packing and off to Boston on Monday for a quick trip – back late on Tuesday.

So I literally have a stack of notebooks from various vendors and events on a bookshelf at home. A new one for the collection!
I did sneak out to an Italian coffee shop for some much needed java.

My curly peeps get just how real this is.
My study buddy. She’s low maintenance.

She Devil

FOOD

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

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

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

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

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

Never had this one before, but I really liked it

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

FITNESS

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

LIFE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My morning java on my guys porch yesterday!

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

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

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

What Kind of Residency is in a Hotel???

FOOD

It’s been a good week, though quite busy. Nothing new there!

Sunday I got to have brunch at one of my FAV spots ever in VA Beach – the Bee and Biscuit. One of my girlfriends from grad school was in town with her family, and we met up for brunch. I had a sangria and a crush and the dirty hippie wrap (sans avocado – stupid allergy).

I made vegan “butter chicken” with soy curls in the Instant Pot. And grilled veggie dogs and veggies one night too.

On Thursday morning I flew out for my first doctoral residency. So – I was largely at the mercy of what the hotel buffets had for me. Surprisingly, breakfast always included steel cut oat and soy milk, so that was never an issue. Lunches varied. Day 1 was great – lots of chickpeas to load up on my salad. Day 2 – not so much. Dinners, won’t lie – were mostly of the liquid variety with one exception where food included a lovely mushroom risotto and a salad from a local private club that one of my classmates took a couple of us to.

I wanted to like these. Alas…

Pineapple Jalapeño Margarita!

FITNESS

I had a couple runs early in the week, but none while in school. I didn’t want to check a bag – and frankly knew I wouldn’t run anyway while in Florida.

I should have done some yoga though – my neck and shoulders are now killing me

LIFE

Well, it’s been a crazy busy week for sure. I know that’s pretty typical, and this was even crazier.

Week kicked off with brunch where I got to not only see one of my great friends, but her little princess who I totally adore. Then it was home, nap with Kuma, and then school work the rest of the day.

I got up. She didn’t…

Monday-Wednesday were the normal work, kids, school days. Thursday though – that’s when my week got interesting.

I had my first residency for my doctoral program this past Thursday – Sunday. I had an early flight on Thursday and the fun kicked off pretty much as soon as I landed. I met up with 3 other classmates in the airport and we rode together to the hotel. Then it was sessions on IRB processes (institutional review board – basically the process to get your research approved), academic honesty, etc.

We had classes from 8am-6pm (ish) every day. It was intense. And amazing. And I think my brain melted often while there, but I honestly loved every minute of it. I left knowing my topic is on track for approval by the end of the term, and that is such a relief. It’s not actually approved – but my advisor is pleased with the progress to date, so I am too.

It was also really awesome to spend time with my classmates. My cohort has 11 people, and they’re all pretty amazing.

One of the girls from Accounting program jumped in with us – plus our advisor

I had a late flight home Sunday, got a couple hours of sleep, and back to the office today!

On a side note, my mother texted me sometime while I was there (not sure, the days all ran together). We don’t really talk all that often, so she was asking questions about what I was doing when I mentioned being at a residency. At one point she asked where I was, and I said I was at a nice hotel in Jacksonville. To which she says “what kind of residency is in a hotel?!?!”. So I explained it to her – just like with my MBA where I was jetting all over the world, it’s a business degree. We converge in a hotel for in person classes and immersion. I guess she thought because my background is medical (though I haven’t worked clinically since 2001!), that my residency would be in a hospital. Oh well.

And as wonderful as the residency experience was (and it REALLY was – I’m freakishly motivated), I’m so glad to be home. This girl needs a nap. Preferably one that lasts a few days….

Cute seeing both fluffs napping with my eldest

These two are SO sweet. Luna grooms Kuma, and it’s adorable.

I found the need to directions strange…

An Onion As Big As My Head

FOOD

Simple couple days on the food front. Breakfasts have mostly been fruit or a smoothie. Nothing new there.

Wednesday I made BBQ tofu (Marinated pressed and cubed tofu in some soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, air fried for 15 minutes, then tossed with BBQ sauce), mushroom risotto, and salads.

Couldn’t get over the size of this onion!

Thursday I had planned to make Indian, but ended up having really late meetings and didn’t get home until 630pm. So it was leftovers.

Took the black bean spread from taco Tuesday and made a taco spud

Friday was a “fend for yourself” night since everyone was busy. I had wine and olives 🙃

And of course I had a few other meals too!

Homemade hummus and veg

Leftover red beans and rice at work one day
Awesome Impossible Burrito at a Tex mex place we like.

FITNESS

Only got 1 run in the past 4 days. Yesterday I got rained out, and the other days I was just slammed with school stuff.

LIFE

Work has been busy, but school has been insane. My research topic is still too broad, so most of my free time is spent working on that. This term is all about getting my topic approved, and thankfully I’m on the right track – but it’s still intense. I have my first residency next week and I’m excited.

Last night was a ton of fun. My guy and I go out most Friday’s, but last night we were joined by one of my classmates and her husband. LOTS of wine was had!

This morning I got home, took a nap, and cleaned. Then it was off to see Avengers: Endgame! Unfortunately A couldn’t go since she works nights and needed to sleep. But the rest of us did and it was honestly perfect. Lots of laughs, tears, and yelling out ‘holy sh!t!’. What more can you want from a flick?

Kuma napped with me!

One of my grad school girlfriends is in town this weekend, and the plan is to get together for brunch tomorrow. Then spend the day writing, Fun times!

I may need this…

Meaningful Employment to Telemarketers

FOOD

Sunday I made a double batch of baked Mac no cheese, just because I knew everyone would devour the leftovers. BS and I were chatting about how his Dad really isn’t a fan of Mac n cheese, and we’ve decided he’s wrong. And perhaps not human.

My sprouts are done and they are glorious! It made a TON, and my eldest is already stuffing wraps with them and the homemade hummus. Love to see them eat good and healthy stuff. To be honest, my eldest is the best at that 🙂

Last night was red beans and rice. Super easy recipe that’s literally from the Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book that I think my mom got in the 1960’s. I’ve adapted mine for the slow cooker and it is always perfect. This is the first time I used onion powder instead of onions though. My guy hates onions – but likes the flavor. And since SO many of my recipes are onion dependent, I’m working on tweaking some for future reference. I also used a new-to-me vegan sausage. I usually get Tofurkey, but they didn’t have any. And the Field Sausage flavors weren’t ones I wanted. So I got this, diced, pan fried, and then added to the crock about 30 minutes before serving. Dished over brown rice and a some cabbage (LOVE crunch – and need to add green foods to my meals).

Today was simple – coffee and banana for breakfast and Thai for lunch. Not hungry for dinner.

On a silly note, inadvertently my boyfriend and I have near-identical meal plans this week. Though I did burgers on Sunday and he’s doing them tomorrow – we both did red beans and rice yesterday, Taco Tuesday (of course), and even have Indian planned (for me Thursday, tomorrow is BBQ tofu, mushroom risotto, and salads).

FITNESS

Two runs since my last post. Contemplating going in the morning – but I’m not sure. Mornings and I are just starting to get along (ish), and I’m not sure I’m willing to push it….

LIFE

I mean, it’s only been two days, so not TOO much could have gone on. Been spending the past two days catching up at work after being out of the office for the better part of 2 weeks. And school of course (I actually have class at 8pm tonight).

I wasn’t planning to stay up on Sunday for Game of Thrones – though I got hit with some insomnia and was up anyway. Oh well. I did watch it Monday though, so I’m caught up. Thank goodness my guy has cable! Kuma had fun snuggling me while watching.

So something new I noticed yesterday. I’m an AT&T subscriber for my cell phone, and this started. I’m a fan! I miss the days where the do-not-call-list actually worked. Saying “death to telemarketers” is way to dramatic, so here’s hoping they all find meaningful employment instead and stop being the bane of existence for the rest of us.

Otherwise, been a typical early week of work and school. Tomorrow I’m going to figure out how to use my pressure washer and depollenate my back deck and lawn furniture.

Busy Busy Busy!!!

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

FOOD

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

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

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

Other miscellaneous eats…

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

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

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

Homemade hummus from the Forks Over Knives cookbook

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

FITNESS

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

LIFE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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