Falling Down the Mountain

Queue Jane’s Addiction here! And yes, while the lyrics are “coming down he mountain”, my experience was more about falling…

FOOD

Strangely enough, I don’t actually have that many pictures of my grub. I had a brief work trip and a long weekend ski trip, so there aren’t really any shots from that. But it’s been typical fare. Smoothies, salads, soups, oatmeal, curries, tacos, and pizza (okay, pizza isn’t that common for me, but it was a lunch out with JG at a local spot that has vegan cheese!)

I wish I had pics of the taco night. 14 of us in a rental house for the weekend, and taco night was the bomb! I made my awesome black beans and a big batch of rice. OPR made her tacos and everyone was happy with dinner that night!

FITNESS

Well, I was sick for a solid week, so that fully sucked. Nasty viral thingy where I just couldn’t get my fever down. It was so strange because I didn’t have any other real symptoms.

I would say skiing counted, but I’m pretty sure all I did was fall, so probably not!

Once I was back home, it was nearly my normal routine again. Runs & workouts in my home gym/garage. I was hoping to hit up some hot yoga, but thus far my week has been too chaotic to make any of the classes. It’s not looking like it’ll ease up until Sunday at this point.

LIFE

Well, I was only in the office for 3 days before heading out on a long weekend trip. A bunch of us rented a house and went skiing. 14 in the end (was supposed to be 16, but stomach flu sidelined a couple!). It was still awesome. All I can say is thank goodness for helmets! Without them, I’m pretty sure my kids would be in the ICU advising the doctors that yes, I am an organ donor. Skiing is most definitely NOT my jam. Turns out stopping is pretty difficult! I suppose starting with lessons would’ve been a good plan. Alas…next time…

And it certainly wasn’t all skiing. There was plenty of drinking and hot tubbing and even hit up a comedy club (which was actually a total riot).

Got home Sunday evening and hung with the kids, did laundry, and did some studying. Thankfully I had nothing on that front since I did it all early so I wouldn’t have to worry about it on our trip. Sunday was really about organizing the week ahead.

The Sunday prior, R got to spend a day being mentored by a NASA engineer! He volunteers at the school robotics team, and has been working closely with R on her areas. He has a home workshop he invited her to – and me as well since no mother in their right mind is going to let their daughter spend a day in a workshop with a stranger. He was very understanding of that and had brought it up as well. So I sat at his table saw and studied with R and he first used some CAD software and than began machining some parts for the project. She looked like she was at Disney, she was so happy!

Other than that, it’s been a pretty good week so far, with one exception. Our beloved cat Bumble (who is 18) is in kidney failure, and working with the vet, there is no longer anything we can do for her. We will be saying goodbye to her tomorrow, and it’s heartbreaking.

So not to end on a sad note, here are some random pics. I’m sure I’ll have a ton of Bumble in my next post…

Thriving on Chaos (as usual)

FOOD

What a chaotic few weeks! Getting back into the swing of school, work, family, social life balance seems to always lead to more meals out, which is never my first choice. Don’t get me wrong – I do love to go out to eat for sure – but I really prefer to make good and healthy meals for the kids and me.

Smoothies are still my favorite for breakfast, and lots of salads, soups, curries, and of course tacos for everything else!

FITNESS

Same as always – runs and hot yoga and some workouts in the garage! We had more snow, so that meant a lot of indoor workouts – which are my least favorite.

Unfortunately, I got sick last Monday, and while I’m managing as long as I keep my fever down (been a huge pain to have a persistent fever), I’m still not up for runs. So, gentle yoga at home and daily meditation and it’s all helping.

LIFE

It’s certainly been a busy couple of weeks, but that’s nothing new. On the home front, R has gotten really involved in her high school’s robotics club, and is there pretty much every night and Saturday. They have a big competition coming up, and she’s really loving it. Her mentor is a NASA engineer and she’s learning so much and loving every minute of it.

School is really intense, but that’s okay. I do really enjoy it though. I picked up this wonderful book called Deep Work by Cal Newport, and it’s really given me an edge I think on obtaining that hyper focus I need to do well in school and build this new program at work. He goes into detail in how our deeply connected world has led to a inability of people to “go deep” in concentration and therefore production of meaningful work. After all, how can I write publishable papers and build professional program frameworks if I’m checking Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram 50 times per day? (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my social media, but it does provide a next-level distraction that I can do without). I have a long way to go before fully implementing all the techniques I’m learning, but it’s been really impactful so far. I first heard about it on the MentorBox podcast (I’m a MentorBox member), and was so intrigued, I picked up the audio book. I’m now thinking I need a print copy as well! I don’t do that for many books – usually the audio is fine – but this is one I feel I’d like to have for a quick review time and again. I plan to check it out at the library first to see if there’s anything in there I’m not getting from the audio book (like some physical examples he discusses). Anyway – if you have any interest in professional development and increasing productivity – especially as a knowledge-worker – I highly recommend it.

Work is getting more and more interesting as we progress through our restructuring and I work on building this new division. The good thing is I have very loose direction, so I get to build it the way I think it should be – rather than following a prescribed set of expectations. I’ve always enjoyed that freedom to be creative with my work, and to base my ideas off of research and best practice in varying industries. It’ll be slow going for awhile – which is fine – since we all still have “day jobs” until the restructure is done. But it’s still be fun to get into.

I was in Chicago this past week for a few days. Was supposed to be Wednesday – Sunday (today), but ended up coming home Friday due to expected inclement weather in Chicago. I was bummed because I was supposed to visit family Friday afternoon-Sunday morning. Fortunately, I know I’ll be back there in May at least, so will make an extended trip to visit family and friends back home.

Other than that, I’m enjoying time with my munchkins as well as an active social life. Excited that this will be a short week as I head out of town on a little get away with about 15 of my friends! I guess that means it’s time to get back to the books so I can get all my school work done before mini-vacay starts!

All told, I have an incredibly busy life, and I love it. I’ve always known I can’t sit still, and certainly couldn’t just do nothing all day. Some may say I take it to the other extreme – on the go constantly. And there may be some truth to that, but I can’t imagine it any other way. I do take “breaks” to slow down a little bit, but must admit, I love living in my world of barely controlled chaos!

A couple friends and I went to an 80’s event at a local bar. I certainly went all out in my outfit (leggings, tutu, side pony, lace gloves, etc). Sadly not all did. But that’s okay, it was a good time anyway!

Also did a day trip to Richmond for some serious fun, which included a couple Cideries and meeting up with friends. My favorite, shockingly, was a jalapeño lime cider at a place called Busky’s. SO good.

GET ME OUTTA HERE (aka – Cabin Fever Stinks)

FOOD

Well, this week has been a fun little challenge of “can’t go outside, so whip up fun stuff with what you have in the house!”. Thankfully, I always have tons of different veggies, rice, tofu, beans, not to mention what’s in the big chest freezer in the garage, and about a billion spices. No one will go hungry nor get bored just because we’re snowed in. We might get majorly stir crazy…but no one will starve!

Despite it being insanely cold, I still do my morning smoothies. Had a vanilla mint theme going on most of this week. Vanilla Vega powder, Ripple Pea Milk (my new total favorite thing), spinach, peppermint extract, and ice.

I’ve also made a ton of different ramen-esque dishes too. Also went out to lunch (before snowmageddon hit) for a yummy vegan ramen too!I decided to try a different method for making my soy yogurt. For years I’ve used the Euro Cuisine yogurt maker. And it still works great. But it makes 7 small jars. Which is fine, but I use it in cooking so much, that it’s sort of a pain to measure out. Yes…first world problem. But see, I have an Instant Pot – have had it for a bit now – and it has this lovely yogurt function. Was high time to try it out. And it did NOT disappoint! Oh…and I also discovered this yumminess called Noatmeal! It’s a grain-free oatmeal dish made with hemp seeds, chia seeds, and coconut. I added a ton of cinnamon. Yum! Works as an ONO (overnight oat) dish too.I made several batches of my tofu eggless salad. My fav way of eating it is on a big bed of greens. This was my lunch most days.Also whipped up a few tofu curry dishes. My fav one was a red coconut curry with tofu, cabbage, onions, and riced cauliflower.For snacks – kale chips! One of the things I love for my air fryer. I used to dehydrate them (LOVE my dehydrator), but I tend to like instant gratification, so 5 min in the air fryer for crispy chips is the bomb.And of course we did a big comfort food night. BBQ tofu, sweet cornbread, mashers, and soy/garlic mushrooms. All told, a week of most excellent eats!

FITNESS

Well if you haven’t figured it out – we got snow. And not just a little bit – but a boat load of it. Over 5 days ago. And the roads still aren’t passible. Runs have been out – which sucks. But, thank goodness for the home gym! Weights and kickboxing and yoga for the week. All good, but I’m itching to run outside. Hell – I’d even take a dreadmill right now if I could just get out of my driveway.

LIFE

Despite the intense cabin fever the past 5 days, it’s been a good week or so. The night before snowzilla visited us, I got to catch up with a good friend of mine at a local spot downtown. We had yummy wine, mixed drinks, tapas, but mostly, just great company.I got my hair done about a week or so ago too. I get a lot of blonde in my hair in the summer, but my normal color is auburn. So my hair was really looking two-toned and making me nuts. So, enter my stylist (who I love), and we decided just to make me a redhead! It’s kind of fun, though is taking some getting used to.I have literally been in the house since Wednesday afternoon of LAST week. That’s right. I managed to be at work (in the office) ONE DAY since the holidays ended. Why? Snow. I mean, I grew up in Wisconsin, so I find this slightly embarrassing, that a foot of snow in SE Virginia shuts us down for a solid week! And honestly, if the temps stay at 20-something, we just may be stranded indefinitely. Fortunately, it’ll be 70 by Friday and Mother Nature will thaw us out. But seriously. It’s ridiculous. Schools are canceled, and pretty much everyone works from home if they can (thankfully I can). And even when you shovel your own drive, the city doesn’t plow anything but main arteries, so I can’t even get out of my neighborhood. You thought I was going bonkers in my last post. It’s been the better part of 2+ weeks now! ARGH. And on top of it, I just bought a new car and I really wanna drive it ;)So, I’ve spent a lot of time chilling by the fireplace. Often with the Kuma bear. On a fun note, my doctoral program started! Technically today was the first day, but all the materials were released on Friday – so I got a TON done over the weekend. Guess being snowed in = forced study time. It’s all good though. I do love learning. I have my desk set up with multiple devices so I can easily read and take notes and do research seamlessly. I also finally set up the Echo Dot I won back in October at a meeting in Tampa. It’s pretty groovy. She plays classical while I study, and Depeche Mode radio while I cook. She tells me dumb jokes and is overall pretty entertaining.So that’s about it. The black bean and sweet potato enchiladas are about to come out of the oven, then it’ll be grub time and then back to studying!Hope everyone else out there isn’t held captive in their home (even though it’s warm, clean, with plenty of food). A girl needs to get out once in awhile!

Too Much Time Off Leads to Excess Cooking & Working Out

FOOD

The past week and a half have been pretty yummy, I must say. I get so excited when I get a new cookbook, that I have a tendency to cook a ton from it. I’ve also been off work, so that means even more food to cook and recipes to create! I made some homemade hemp milk, spicy tofu and Brussel sprout soup, Christmas Pizzas, my typical daily salads, and cream of broccoli soup (it’s been COLD). Of course I also went out for Thai one day because…it’s what I do. The kids were all at something (2 at the movies and 1 at a party), so I had a lovely solo dinner at my fav Thai restaurant with my trashy book and some wine. Perfect!

I also decided to play with riced cauliflower. I know it’s quite popular and I’ve been meaning to, but I have a tendency to make other things with cauliflower when I buy it. Like Indian food! (Which is on deck for tomorrow!). But – I was shopping and came across frozen pre-riced cauliflower. I mean really – if they’re going to make it THAT easy for me, who am I to pass it up?

So this evening, in addition to the broccoli soup (which is really just broccoli, celery, garlic, onion powder, vegetable broth, and coconut milk), I decided I wanted a creamy and cheezy cauliflower rice dish. And oh man, it rocked. My eldest was dying over it. Comfort food at it’s best – but sneaky in it being a much healthier version.

Crissie’s Creamy Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients

  • 8 cups riced cauliflower. If you rice your own, be sure it’s the post-ricing measurements.
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti because it’s what I had, but I’ve had Daiya’s often too, and like it)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

Directions

  • Put the rice, coconut milk, cream cheese, and garlic salt into a large sauté pan (if you don’t have one big enough, a wok or even stock pot will work)
  • Cook on medium heat until it’s all heated through, cauliflower has reached a firm tenderness (I realize that sounds weird. Look – you don’t want it mushy and you don’t want it crunchy. So whatever you want to call that in between state), and some of the liquid evaporates, leaving a creamy consistency. About 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Seriously – YUM.

I realize this picture sucks – the steam was hitting my camera and I was clearly too close. But it’s the only one I had before it got demolished.

FITNESS

Runs, yoga, and lifting in the home gym. Thank GOODNESS for the big space heater in the garage, because it’s been bloody freezing out. I turn it on before going out for my run so it’s fairly warm when I get back. By the time I grab some water, go to the bathroom, and head in there, it’s comfortable.

This is also my fav time of year to do hot yoga. I mean – all the time is great – but there’s something amazing about the hot and humid room when it’s cold out.

And – I’ve decided that 2018 will be a run streak with a goal of 1000 miles. Wasn’t quite feeling the 2018 mi in 2018 challenge just yet, but I plan to beat 1000 easily. That’s less than 3 mi per day, and since I’m doing 1/2 marathon training the first half of the year and marathon training the second, I’m pretty confident that 3 mi per day average will be easy.

And just for fun, I picked up the massive calendar from ilovetorun.org! If you’re feeling particularly motivated (or crazy), pick one up too!

LIFE

Well, it’s been fairly quiet. I’ve been off since Christmas, and other than family time and solo time, I’ve also had some friend time (of course – love going out and about!). I will admit though, I’m going bonkers. I have no work to catch up on since pretty much everyone is off. The house is clean (a girl can only shampoo carpets so many times). I work out every day. I read. Watch some TV. And I’m going out of my mind with boredom. A couple days of chill are fine. But a whole week of it, and I feel like my brain is melting from misuse.

Oh well, I should enjoy it. Not only is it back to work on the 2nd (though I’m really stoked about a few interesting things going on for me), but since I tend to be a regular glutton for punishment, I am going back to school starting Jan 8th. Found a great doctorate program in strategy and innovation – so why the hell not, right? I realize I have an addiction problem to school. Those who know me well won’t be surprised at all. But I swear, this is the last time. Okay maybe not – I still have yoga teacher training planned someday. Anyway – the run streak is also so I make time for myself – something I tend to suck at when I have so much on my plate.

The week leading up to the holidays was full of work-related parties and those are always a good time. It’s nice to catch up with people outside of the office now and then.

Christmas itself was quiet. Most of my family is in Wisconsin, so it was really just me and the kids. M had to work on Christmas day, so we actually did the Christmas gift stuff around 2! Then it was homemade pizzas. We’re not the most traditional family – never really have been.

Probably the most exciting news is that my eldest made her first big girl purchase – a car! She’s excited and I am too.

As usual, leaving you with my life in pictures 🙂

Have a great rest of the year! We’ll chat soon 😉

Winter is Here (ish)

FOOD

Well it’s definitely been cold and icky (for southeastern VA, anyway….don’t judge. I hate cold!). Which means warming foods as much as possible.

Breakfasts have pretty consistently been oatmeal and smoothies. I’m on a vanilla/orange kick lately. And obviously I love that UVA Tervis…

Lunches are mainly a BAS (Big Ass Salad for newer readers) and fruit. I was telling a friend this week that I pretty much need to have at least one salad per day or I just don’t feel right.

Dinners vary. Soups, stir fries, curries, and rice & beans are main stays at my house. Also made mushroom stroganoff last night, as it’s one of R’s fav’s. It still blows her mind that the creaminess comes from tofu. All in all, a week of most excellent eats (after all, life is too short to eat bad and boring food).

FITNESS

After signing up for the half later in 2018, I’ve gotten even more on a run kick. I’m seriously considering doing a run streak soon. For now, it’s been 5x per week runs, hot yoga when I can get to the studio, and taking FULL advantage of my home gym!

Speaking of – I’ve had a membership to Beach Body on Demand for almost a year – with every intention to use it. What I found is that most of the programs are a combination of cardio and weights/HIIT workouts. Which is great for most people, but I really prefer (and frankly need) to run for my cardio. Trust me – if I don’t run regularly, I’m pretty sure I’m impossible to be around. And for the couple programs that are strictly strength training based (which is what I want), I didn’t have the equipment, and there was no way I was hauling my laptop to the gym.

BUT. Enter my new home gym. I suddenly have everything. So, I dusted off the membership and started up the Body Beast program. It’s 30-60 minutes every day, and then I go for a run. So it’s been kinda perfect. Though my butt is KILLING me today. All the squats, lunges, and deadlifts yesterday has my tush hurting just a bit. Oh well, it’s the good hurt, so I can’t complain. So far I’ve done chest, tri’s, back, bi’s, and legs. Pretty much all of me is sore, which is actually pretty awesome. I will reiterate what I said last time. Pull-ups/chin-ups SUCK. My youngest, however, loves them.

Tomorrow though – hot yoga. It’s cold as hell and I need the balance.

LIFE

No complaints. It’s been a busy week, and I like that. Monday was R’s eye dr appointment and then bowling. Tuesday was cribbage club. Wednesday was a vendor party I stopped at briefly and then down to Birch Bar to meet up with a girlfriend I hadn’t seen in 3 years! It was awesome to catch up over some yummy local sour ales. Started with the Hippolyta, which was good. But Tapestry was the BOMB.

Thursday I met up with a friend of mine for wine. And speaking of wine…..I got a case of 20 bottles from the Wall Street Journal wine club – for about $80. Crazy, but awesome!

Friday night was chill. I went to see Star Wars by myself (gave my kids my Saturday night tix to go with their friends), worked out, took R to a follow-up eye dr appointment, made dinner, and went to bed pretty early.

Today was brunch, meal planning, shopping, working out, reading, cleaning, and chilling out. 2 kids are at the movies and 1 at a holiday party. WOO HOO – solo mom time! Went out for my fav Thai and picked up the last of the stocking stuffers for Christmas.

Of course sprinkled in this is that whole work thing – which is also going very well. No complaints there either.

So yeah – pretty awesome week and weekend! Stay tuned for a giveaway coming up in the next couple days.

Oh yeah – and the fluffs are as cool as ever. Along with my morning coffee ritual (read – leave me alone while I have a cup of coffee after waking up….I’m incapable of conversation).

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!!