Au Revoir 2019, Bonjour 2020!

FOOD

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

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

Grapes for dinner at Busch Gardens.

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

Tofu green curry (of course)

Kitchen Sink Curry

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

It was really, really yummy! Makes 4 servings.

Family Mexican dinner night out – vegan bowl and margaritas!

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

FITNESS

4 gym days for that HIIT class and 2 runs.

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

So – here was today:

10 minute warm-up on the rower.

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

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

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

LIFE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First attempt….

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

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

A Very Merry Time Indeed

FOOD

Friday I had a smoothie in my office for breakfast and a solo Thai lunch. Dinner was awesome though – the wine bar my guy and I go to now has a plant based menu section! Several months ago, the chef decided to be vegan for a month, just to see what it was like for me (which is epically cool). First, I hear he loves eating vegan – which is awesome. But even more so is the new menu, and I had the vegan po boy for dinner Saturday night (as did my meat eating friend I was there with), and it was delicious!

Other eats include brunch with my boyfriend, salads, beans and rice, and of course Christmas dinner of Tofurkey, mashers, corn, stuffing, mushroom gravy, and a bunch of other dishes I just didn’t get to.

FITNESS

Gym on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday for the HIIT class. And yesterday was my traditional Christmas run. I’ve done it 11 out of 12 years – missed last year because I was in WI and it was snowy and cold and ewww.

I rolled my ankle Saturday night – nothing fun, literally just stepping off a curb. But it was too sore on Sunday to do anything. It was swollen and I was worried I sprained it, but by Monday it was still sore, but I felt comfortable hitting the gym. I just modified any moves that required jumping. To be honest, it is still slightly sore, but it was fine for my run yesterday and I’m heading to the gym in a few where I expect it’ll be fine also.

LIFE

It was nice to be in the office on Friday and Monday. After work Friday, I went out with friends to celebrate the end of another term and that I am officially ABD! That means “all but dissertation”. Essentially, I’m done with classes and my focus shifts to research, analysis, publication, and graduation! My girlfriend I went out with is also in my program and knows just how hard I’ve worked to get to this point faster than anyone has before. So she and her husband treated me to a wonderful night of wine, food, and fun.

I was there about 30 min before S and A arrived. So Alex the bartender – who knows what we love to drink – kept giving me short pours of new things to try

This – was disgusting. Couldn’t even finish the sample, it was so bad.

A turmeric whiskey sour. Was quite good, though I let A finish it because I can’t really mix wine and booze

Saturday I spent the afternoon and night with my boyfriend. We ran some errands and then went to our fav Cape Charles’ spots for cider and cocktails (see now why I stumbled off the curb 🤦🏻‍♀️?).

The next morning was brunch at one of our 2 regular spots and then it was off to run errands on my way home.

Monday was in the office again, then the gym and more errands. I had to pick up some groceries and went to the store near my house. It was a madhouse, and the line looked more like a theme park rollercoaster line than a grocery store!

So Christmas. Normally one of my least favorite holidays – ever since I was a kid. This year was actually really nice. On Christmas Eve, the tradition in my family is to open pajamas and a game, and whoever wins the game gets to choose breakfast in the morning (which means I shop for what 5 people like for breakfast because you never know who the winner will be!).

My son in law spent it with us, and he ended up winning the game. I didn’t play because I was cooking – but it was fun to watch them.

Christmas morning was also nice. Coffee first, then gifts, breakfast, and my run. After cleaning up from breakfast, I put out appetizers and a Bloody Mary bar to snack on until dinner.

We spent the day at home. My boyfriend came over for a few hours and we did his gifts too. I got a Google WiFi mesh that he installed and it’s amazing!

I love maps and globes. Several weeks ago my youngest asked me where I’ve always wanted to go. Without hesitation – Morocco. She got me a framed 1800’s era map of Morocco – in French! I love love love it. I also got a book and a travel cord organizer from my sister, another framed print from my son, flavored vinegar and olive oil and a bottle of Bulleit from my daughter and son-in-law, and an Amazon gift card from my mom. Though honestly – it was less about the what (which was all lovely), and more about the who. I got to be with the people closest to me and have a great day.

What my travel cord “bag” looks like now – so what C got me really is perfect!

Only downside yesterday was the holiday light plan. We went to the Merry Mile, which is at the Virginia Beach oceanfront – you drive on the boardwalk of the beach and see the lights that are there, usually driving under them. It’s about 30 minutes away, and we wait in the long line of cars….to find out its cash only. THE WEBSITE DIDN’T SAY THAT. The kids didn’t want to hunt down an atm and then get back in line, so we went home instead.

Okay, Star Wars. To be honest, I have always been more of a Star Trek fan, but with the series concluding, I want to brush up on the series, so I’ve been working on watching them all in a lead up to going to see the finale on Saturday with my son, boyfriend, and his eldest. I never even saw them all, so it has been a fun education. Thus far, I have watched 5 of them.

And other miscellaneous shots of the week!

Death to Death Lettuce

FOOD

So I may actually be done with any romaine lettuce bought at a regular grocery store. May have to stick to any I grow myself or get from a local farm. My daughter has called it “death lettuce” since last years outbreak, and with another one again, it is apparent that it is simply too easy for animal waste to contaminate on a commercial farm.

So Sunday I made salads with spring mix. I’m just going to say it – I don’t like it as much. I like crunchy lettuce damnit! I also made tortilla soup. These two were my lunch.

I also made a homemade BBQ sauce and then decided to mix it with some pasta, corn, and black beans. It was good. A little odd, but good.

Yesterday morning was a quick smoothie (though saying “smoothie” is a stretch – it was just Garden of Life powder in water in my blender ball after a workout). Lunch was a Thai food lunch date with my guy. Dinner I skipped.

This morning was sunflower butter and banana on toasted Ezekiel bread. Lunch was a Moe’s salad on the way to my Dr appt. Dinner has yet to happen (this is a bad trend this week).

Nutritionally devoid iceberg lettuce, but hey, at least it is not trying to kill me

FITNESS

It was raining yesterday morning, so I was bummed I couldn’t go for a run. I did an upper body workout in the garage instead.

Today it was NOT raining, so after a 25 minute core workout, I went for that run!

Runs are definitely my fav workouts, but even more so when I’m feeling stressed or worried or worked up about something. So – glad to lace up and get out there this morning.

LIFE

Pretty typical early work week. Working from home, though this will be the last week of that. The bruising on my face is at a tolerable level, and I’m cleared to wear makeup, so I can largely cover it. My idea of makeup is usually tinted moisturizer, so it doesn’t fully cover it, but it dulls it enough. The scar will take much longer to heal, but even that is looking good. Hard to believe that 2 weeks ago my face was sliced into. I do believe I have magical healing powers! (Or a damned good plastic surgeon….my money is on that one).

I had a fair number of meetings yesterday and today. Not so many that I couldn’t get anything else done, but enough to keep me busy. I made a bit of a dent in my to do list this week. Not as much as I’d like – I’d really like it clear before the end of Thursday.

Today I also had my yearly mammogram. I normally do that in October (birthday month – old habit from military days where we did all our health screenings in our birth month). I had it scheduled in October, but ended up having a personal conflict and needing to reschedule it.

On my way there, I went shopping for the holiday gift exchange for the party my boyfriend and I are heading to this weekend. We’re DC bound for the yearly party with friends, and we do a white elephant gift exchange. I stopped at the ABC store, and while the pickings were slim gift-wise, I did find one thing. It was a little sad – the man in front of me was checking out with just the little airplane bottle of vodka.

So the Nextdoor app – basically Facebook for neighborhoods. Typically it’s posts about lost pets, people complaining about those “darned kids”, and other annoying things (like my neighborhood wanting to have our city declared a 2nd Amendment sanctuary city…ffs. That’s just crazy). I do appreciate some of the recommendations for things when I’m looking for home services, like a lawn service and pressure washing. But today – today warranted sharing the stupidity of others. You see, this coming Saturday – the 7th – is the Christmas parade where I live. To be honest – I’ve never actually been because I dislike crowds, but that’s not the point. The point is this man left came chairs….monogrammed camp chairs….out on the public street….15 FULL DAYS BEFORE THE PARADE to “hold their spot”. And then is outraged that the chairs have thusly been stolen! Seriously? What happened to just showing up a few hours early to snag your spot? It’s not like I live if NYC or Chicago or something. Yikes. People are dumb.

The rest of the day has been working and school work. I got feedback from one of the 2 primary reviewers/approvers of my research, and I have a lot of work to do to incorporate that.

Celebrating that I’m doing qualitative research and not quantitative!

I’m really looking forward to that weekend getaway. It is much needed.

Kumaventure this eve to pick the wee one up from robotics

Beware Parallelogram Season

FOOD

It’s been a lazy week, to be honest. I had bulk cooked so much last weekend, that we ate a lot of leftovers.

Tuesday I made baked Mac no cheese, which is always a family fav.

Luna was a fan too

Also diced up the homemade andouille sausage and put it into lentil soup to make it even heartier.

Lunch one day MAY have been popcorn and a pina colada at the movies 🙂

And there was toast, and smoothies, and pasta, and soups, and salads.

Quinoa with fresh blueberries and cinnamon

Made a big batch of slow cooker minestrone with gluten free pasta

I used to love egg salad when I was a kid. I do love my tofu egg-less salad more tho! Especially topped on a BAS

I had one lunch date with the guy, but didn’t take a pic. We shared some edamame and I had tofu pad Thai. This was my fortune though!

FITNESS

A couple runs, weights in the garage, a spin class also in the garage, and I finally checked out the BodyPump class I’ve been meaning to try. I liked it – will let you know tomorrow how sore I may or may not be as a result!

LIFE

This has been much more low key than usual. And honestly, not sure how I feel about that.

I had the majority of last week off. I was supposed to go to DC for the DC United game with a girlfriend and a military vet related event, but life and Dorian got in the way, so I didn’t go. BUT, I kept the days off to focus on school stuff and general reading, so that was highly productive. I also went to the movies solo one day to see Angel Has Fallen. I love this series and enjoyed this most recent one too.

A gift from NS in Kenya! Adding it to my list of fun things to read

Back to school for the young one went off without a hitch. All going well so far, though it was only a 3 day week because schools were canceled in advance of Dorian on Friday.

Dorian wasn’t a major event. Some power flickers and unreliable internet, and some yard and pool clean up, but we were lucky. There was flooding and downed trees all over – just not in my neighborhood!

The weekend I stayed home and did housework and school work and grocery shopping and other fun prepping for the week.

I decided yesterday that I wanted to learn more to do with Alexa than play music, the news, and check the weather (oh, and how many days until Halloween!). So I started playing with Drop In, and my sister “called” on it! It was fun. R and I chatted with her and my niece and nephew. Totally cool. She and I also spent significant time sending each other Trump related memes this weekend. All told, good times.

Yesterday was a mini spa day for me and the wee one. She got a haircut, and I got a facial. Fun stuff.

Post haircut R!

We have a family group chat with me and my kids and my guy and BS. Silly stuff ensues. This was my recent contribution.

This week should be busy, but not horrible. It’s the last week of the term, so I have ten tons of writing to do. But can’t complain. I’m getting closer and closer to being done!

Studying outside the day before Dorian visited

Post shower snuggles

My cousin in Scotland posted. Love it.
Too early in the morning for her to get up

Sent this to the eldest last night during her ED shift. She claims she will actually say this…

Can I Please Have the Only Non-Bourbon Drink in the Bourbon Bar?

FOOD

You can totally tell when school is back in session – my posts tend to drop to weekly! I’ll try to be better about that, but no promises.

Smoothies are making a stronger comeback this week. In the winter it’s not always my fav thing, but truthfully, I just feel better when I have them.

So I cheated one day. sue me.

Other homemade eats.

Noodles, chickpeas, and green beans tossed in a Red curry sauce (coconut milk, red curry powder

Actually R’s lunch – I’m allergic to apples. Tofu, apples, and a salad
Creamy mushroom/tofu stroganoff

Mojito beans!

And dining out.

Started with tofu harvest curry and brown rice on a lunch date with my guy.

Hummus & veggie plate at the winery Thursday night
A bottle of one of our fav cabs.

Steamed tofu roll
Pad Thai w tofu. Only “ok”. Not my fav Thai place and they’ve often screwed up my fav tofu

Potato & black bean wrap + fruit for brunch on Saturday. SO good.
Almond milk vanilla latte.

FITNESS

Two runs and a weight circuit at the Y.

LIFE

Definitely been a busy week. With school back in full swing, the days are once again flying by.

Luna has been having a grand ole time, and she and Kuma definitely get along very well. They’re both cute as can be.

Can’t see Luna, but she’s in her tunnel. They both tend to join me for my morning java!

Well…she like rice.

Thursday after work my guy and I went for wine and apps and then shopping.

Friday after work I went back to the mall to exchange something (got the wrong color) then stopped for Thai before heading over to my boyfriend’s house for the night. We watched Game Night, which was actually a lot of fun. Can’t really go wrong with Jason Bateman.

Saturday morning was a lazy one and we eventually headed out to brunch. We went to The Bee and the Biscuit, which neither of us had heard of, but had vegan brunch options so off we went. It was a bit of a hike from his place, but holy crap – it was awesome! Place was packed and there was an hour wait, but well worth it.

They have a ton of outside seating, an outdoor bar, fire pits, and handed out blankets and games. He and I sat under a blanket on a bench right in front of a fire pit sipping on our drinks! The restaurant itself is a big farm house and was ridiculously adorable. Really loved everything about it.

Very spicy and perfect vegan Bloody Mary

Then we were off to the Eastern Shore and Cape Charles. First stop was Buskey’s. Same cidery that we love in Richmond has a tasting room a bit closer to home. We sat and chatted with the woman working there. She happens to be a teacher in VB but also waitresses at a different restaurant when it’s open during the tourist season as well as Buskey’s. Does make me sad to think that so many of our teachers have to work multiple jobs.

Silly cider selfie

Then we walked the block or so over to the Cape Charles Distillery where we had a couple drinks, met another couple (she and I have the same first name), and spent some time talking to the (slightly odd) bartender. But overall, very fun and neat place.

The Resolution! The only non-bourbon drink on the menu. AC would be disappointed in me…
bourbon is her fav drink

We were going to hit up Bee and the Biscuit again this morning with our kids, but the weather was horrible and the rain would’ve negated the cool fire pits. So – we’ll try again next weekend!

Today was all school work, all day. That’s okay though. It topped off a really awesome week.

MY YEAR OF LESS

Umm. I shopped. Not crazy obsessively, but it seems like I ran out of a lot of personal products (makeup – even tho I don’t wear much – and skin care stuff) all at the same time. And a watch charger to leave at my boyfriend’s house.

I’m finding it really hard to get back to the groove of my rules. Going to reread the book that kicked all this off to begin with!

Happy Happy 2019!

FOOD

New Year’s Eve meals were pretty spartan. I had a big bowl of oatmeal with blueberries and pumpkin pie spice for breakfast.

I munched on some pretzels and black bean hummus, and then later in the evening some tortilla chips and salsa. Just wasn’t very hungry yesterday.

This morning started with a yummy green smoothie. Water, banana, mandarin orange, frozen mangos and pineapples, and spinach. Really, really good.

Lunch I munched on some Wildwood baked teriyaki tofu. No pic of that because I literally just ate the block of it.

Dinner tho – busted out the Foodi again! I used the pressure cooker to make a lemon risotto and then the broil function to roast some carrots. If you’ve ever made risotto – it’s a total labor of love. Typically it takes me about 40 minutes on the stove – and you have to constantly interact with it by adding small amounts of broth at a time and stirring until absorbed. For this, it was literally garlic, 5 cups of veggie broth, 2 cups of Arborio rice, 1/4 cup of lemon juice and a little salt. Pressure cook on high for 7 minutes, natural pressure release for 10, then quick release. I added about 1 tbsp of Earth Balance into it to make it a little creamier.

I also made a loaf of fresh French bread, some brownies, and started a batch of soy yogurt.

FITNESS

Does housekeeping count? If so, that was NYE!

Today though, I was that girl who went to the gym on New Year’s Day. Did a weight circuit for 45 minutes and then came home. No run today – my legs were jelly!

LIFE

Sunday night my son’s girlfriend came over for dinner, games, and to bring us our gifts (so sweet). For me – she got me this mug which is utterly perfect! Think it’ll become my work mug 😂

She also got me 3 Himalayan salt shot glasses. Where she, M, and A promptly did Tequila shots while I watched. Tequila and I aren’t on speaking terms…

Well, I didn’t have quite the NYE I planned, but it was all good. Originally my boyfriend and his kids were coming over to finally exchange our Christmas gifts, have dinner, and maybe watch a movie. Then I was going back with them to spend the night there. Alas, sidelined by illness. Just hope he feels better soon!

I did go over with their gifts and a cake. I got some wonderful gifts including slippers I really wanted from my guy and a sugar skull ornament from his youngest! I know it’s an ornament, but it’ll stay out all the time.

I don’t like shoes on in my house, so my guy leaves his crocs here and I have new slippers!

Then I took the gifts they got my kids back to my house. Not quite the exchange we planned, but getting all 7 of us together at one time is quite the challenge. R got a camp chair she’s been wanting since we took that camping 101 class. She’s barely left it since 🙂

Otherwise it was a quiet night. I was actually asleep by 11!

This morning I woke to almost 70 degrees! And that meant having my morning java outside!

I spent the day organizing, taking down the holiday decorations, cleaning, and cooking. I also finished Infinity War on Netflix that I started last night.

I’m not the biggest resolution kind of person, though I do love the idea of fresh starts/clean slates, etc. For me it’s more about being a positive influence, helpful when I can, caring, thoughtful, etc, but this year I’m adding working towards a start up idea I have and see where that may take me.

As for 2018, all told it wasn’t bad at all. Lot’s of life changes, but it’s amazing how things turn out even better than expected or could ever hope for. I’m happy, healthy, and loved. What more can a girl want?

Hope your 2019 is everything you want it to be and more!

Otherwise, miscellaneous pics! Luna has been coming out and about even more the last day. It’s warm, so doors and windows are open and she’s chilling in them often. Demands head scratches and is really a mild mannered sweetie. Very grateful to have her in our family.

Trying to convince that this toy is NOT for her….

New wine glasses! And a bottle my guy left here after our last dinner party

United by a 63 degree evening!

MY YEAR OF LESS

Something dawned on me yesterday as I ran out to the store for the 4th time. By suspending the shopping/money spending rules for the holidays, I found myself justifying continuing to buy stuff and go out. Saying it was all “holiday” related. It’s like I tossed my rules right out the window. Thankfully the holidays are over and this is the beginning of a new month.

So $ spent today – nada. Hope future posts keep saying that!