I Forgot How to Watch TV

FOOD

Hard to believe I’ve been home for two straight weeks! Other than an overnighter in Richmond visiting my girlfriend H.

That means, lots of home cooking! Breakfasts were usually oatmeal or a smoothie. I did have tofu scramble two days in a row though! One morning at Food for Thought in Williamsburg on the way up to Richmond, and one at Shore Dogs in Richmond. I was feeling quite spoiled!

I also learned to grill! Well, ish. I’m still starting out, but I got a gas grill and the first attempt was quite the success! Buffalo tempeh, corn on the cob, potatoes, and portabello mushrooms.

Also made a few different chilis and soups. Up at H’s house we made a sweet potato/black bean chili and cornbread. So yummy! H was excited to use a fancy new pan.

Other chilis!

During spring break I had some special guests over, and while they were working hard outside, I made lunch! Pineapple/tofu stir fry, pizza, and chocolate chip cookies!

It got a little cold for a few days, which was perfect for BBQ tofu, mashers, mushroom gravy, sweet carrots, and my favorite kale salad with oil-free lemon tahini dressing and some homemade sangria.

Also had some yummy meals out.

FITNESS

Sadly, still haven’t gotten to yoga, but there have been plenty of runs!

LIFE

Overall, been a great two weeks. Spring break week I worked from home most of the week. The best part though, is I have a garden! I’ve had a small herb garden for years, but have always wanted a large enclosed one. The one time I tried to grow veggies, the local critters got their fill while we had almost nothing.

It was built over two days, and I’m forever grateful to the little construction team that made it happen.

The trip to Richmond was really nice. We stopped at my fav cidery up there – Buskey’s. Seriously, the jalapeño lime is amazing! The manager made us Bloody Mary’s with their organic vegan Bloody Mary mix, and it was so tasty.

Then we went to H and C’s house where we made dinner and hung out at talked all night. B was visiting from Seattle, and he came by too. I hadn’t seen him in 5 yrs, so that was really cool.

I took R to the movies yesterday to see Tomb Raider. Actually the second time I’ve seen it, but I really liked it and I knew she’d totally love it.

Last night was really lovely out, so we went boating with M and R. We cruised around for awhile and then pulled into a spot for dinner and drinks. Then it was back to my house to hang out with my son and his girlfriend.

Otherwise, normal life! Cribbage club, work, wacky pets, and lots and lots of studying! This week was particularly intense on the school front. I worked ahead a lot, so I was able to knock out all the papers fairly early in the week, with finishing the biggest one today. So I found my Sunday late afternoon with me being bored. House was clean, food prepped for dinner, and I needed a mental break from school stuff. After an hour of reading the news and chatting with the kids, I actually turned on the TV. I don’t have anything against TV, I know I used to watch it, but the past 6 yrs or so saw a significant decline in it – mainly because of school and work and family and social lives. After deciding I didn’t want the commitment of a movie, I threw on How to Get Away With Murder and decided to blog and start dinner 🙂 I guess I forgot how to watch TV!

Wild Week of Travels!

FOOD

Well, it’s been a week and only one night home, so lots of meals out!

I had an amazing meal at Q Restaurant in Chinatown, Boston (no pics – sorry!), but it was a General Tso’s Tofu that was divine.

Also met up with my good friend AF for Indian one night at Kashmir’s in Boston. We split some somosas, and I also had the vegetable korma, which was yummy.

My one night home saw me making my fav soup – it’s a Thai red curry sweet potato soup with rice and kale (with leftovers for 2 the next day). That morning was also a breakfast at a local spot – Portobello mushroom and hummus bagel with fruit. Really, really good.

Thursday evening was hitting the road again, and we had a really simple dinner at the hotel – mine was just rice and roasted veggies. And some vodka cranberries too 😉

The next night we discovered the joy of a place called Busboys and Poets! OMG. Great place for anyone who may have mixed company (vegans + omnis) – tons of yummy vegan eats and certainly a selection of non vegan ones too. We got the crispy Brussel sprouts and coconut tofu bites as appetizers. I also got Korean BBQ “beef” sammich with Asian slaw and a side of tabbouleh. WOW.

So good, we grabbed R and went back the next day for lunch. I had the tempeh panini, tabbouleh (I’m a fan), and a 2 bean harira soup. Now, if they’d just open up in my area! Apparently it’s a small chain in the DC and MD area.

This morning back home was my go-to simple breakfast – especially when I need to go grocery shopping! Oatmeal topped with cinnamon and coconut milk yogurt.

The afternoon was some apps and drinks after hiking. For me – monster cucumber slices with hummus! They gave pita rounds too, but I don’t really eat those, so they ended up bringing double the cucs!

FITNESS

Lots and lots of walking! And today I swapped out a planned hot yoga class (which I need terribly – my hips are SO tight), for a hike instead since it’s such a gorgeous day! Left my phone in the car though, so no pics. But it was an amazing day. Can’t wait for a bit more sustainable days of good weather to start to see blossoms.

LIFE

The rest of my trip to Boston was great. I got to see AF, who currently lives there (his wife is a professor), which was great. Fortunately got to see him and his wife LF on the ski trip in Feb, and will see them again in late April. AF had just flown in from New York and literally met me at the restaurant with carry on in tow!

I will say that Boston was really cold, but I managed to survive ;). Also – they have way too few Starbucks. Apparently Dunkin Donuts is their thing – but other than really not liking their coffee, it’s not a healthy spot I ever go to. It was literally in the airport on my way home before I finally got to one! I know – first world problems – but a girl cannot survive on hotel java alone!

The conference – from the Economist magazine – was amazing. It was there Healthcare Forum 2018, and with Boston being the global hub of life sciences, it really was incredible. The panels, topics, and people were all very exciting, and it was totally worth it.

I flew home the next day, landed around 4, did wash, made soup, and packed for a long weekend away! R’s team advanced to the robotics championships, which was held in MD. She had to be at school at 3am for the bus, and while I had meetings I had to attend on Thursday (being the ONLY day in the office for nearly a week), I headed up after. Rolled into town around 8, which really wasn’t bad.

The competition was so much fun, and the kids did wonderfully. They didn’t advance past the qualifying rounds, but still – what they accomplished was quite impressive. We walked through the pits, and some of these teams have sponsors like NASA, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Deloitte, etc. We were honestly sitting among the future engineers of the world, and it was really inspiring.

Yesterday we drove back home and eventually got to bed around 1130. I seriously slept like a rock until about 9am!

Today was a hike and then chilling at the waterfront having some apps and drinks and watching boats go by. Pretty perfect day!

I’m really looking forward to this week. It’s spring break, and I’ll be working from home for all but tomorrow. R has tennis camp (she’s stoked), and it’ll be me mostly cleaning house and yard and gardening!

Hope you’ve had a great holiday if you celebrate it, and a lovely weekend regardless! Until then – misc pics from the week! Some in Boston, some home, and some in between!

IKEA gets it!

Vegas, Baby!

FOOD

Aside from whipping up an awesome Indian meal late last week (garlic naan, tofu korma, & cumin basmati), most my meals have been in Vegas since last Saturday. I did grab a lot of cold pressed juices this week, though failed to take pics of them. There’s a place at our hotel (Palazzo) called The Juice Farm. My fav was the beet, orange, ginger, parsley, collard one. Beets are great for the liver, and since Vegas is NOT great for the liver, the juices were a must! I tend to gravitate towards Asian food, and while I didn’t snap enough pics of the yummy eats – they really were yummy. Veggie sushi, edamame, green curry, roasted eggplant, congee, sake, and tofu bibimbap.

FITNESS

Runs last week is it. This week was mostly a ton of walking, both on the conference room floor and of course on the Vegas Strip.

LIFE

VEGAS BABY! But I’m pretty sure you already knew that 😉

Before I tell you WHY I’m here, let me tell you how I got here! So – the east coast was hit with a nor’easter that grounded thousands of flights for days. While it had passed by Saturday (barely), some flights were still affected. Funny enough, 3 of my co-workers flew a different airline and left on time. My flight – on Delta – was supposed to leave at the same time – but was delayed 2 hrs (the plane coming was late). So first the ticket agent tells me I’ll have to spend the night in Atlanta. Okay, not the end of the world. I have a girlfriend there that I would love to see, so if that was the case, I’d just call E and crash with her! But then….the ticket agent says “well, I can get you there tonight, but it’s going to be ugly”. Um okay. Define ugly. Norfolk – Atlanta – Kansas City – Salt Lake City – Vegas. Huh. Okaaaaay. Since I have nothing better to do, why not?? So I proceeded on a cross country adventure. They smartly put my luggage on a flight heading to Vegas from Atlanta that had no seats on it, but rather than risk losing my bag with so many hops, my bag made it to Vegas before I did. However….it did get there pretty much the same time my colleagues arrived, so they grabbed it for me and took it with them so I could just cab straight to the hotel! They’re the best. And honestly, Delta did great. The delays were not their fault, they still got me to my destination in one piece, and I was upgraded to comfort + or First Class when it was available and gave me Sky Priority so I’d board really early. Longest layover was in Atlanta, where I found a spot to hang out and charge my stuff!

Me and several co-workers were there for a conference – (HIMSS – the largest healthcare IT conference). Overall, it was a really great conference. Since accepting a new role with a focus on innovation and start-ups, coming to it this year was a totally different experience. Typically I’m meeting with vendors I already had, or those in the space where I was investigating new technologies for my customers. This time it was attending the Innovation Symposium, meeting with institutions who are or have built a similar program to what I’m working on. Looking at and meeting with small start-ups to identify potential opportunities. It can be an overwhelming show for sure, but I really did enjoy it and learned a ton this week.

And you can’t come to Vegas for a week and NOT have fun too! Three of my girlfriends flew in to spend part of the week together. The four of us had traveled to Vegas before several years ago (for AC’s bday), so it was like getting the band back together again!

Also on a total fluke, my cousin was here for one day for her job! She and I hadn’t seen each other since our Grandma passed away 9 years ago. We grew up in WI, but I moved to VA and she moved to CO – both within a few months of each other 14 years ago, and none of our travels to visit family overlapped except for the funeral. We had lunch and caught up, and were just happy to be able to connect.

Otherwise it was a little bit of gambling (okay, one night where I played blackjack down in Old Vegas), lots of walking, chilling out, and a show.

And of course, there’s the obligatory Kuma and Ginny pics!

Okay friends, about to head to the airport for my journey home. I’m definitely ready for my own bed, a full night’s sleep (I hope), and the ability to focus on all the school work I’m currently behind on!

A Busy (and Tasty) Week, and a Sad Farewell

FOOD

Well, it was another week of typical eats, but with a few stand out meals out. There were tacos, potato tacos (where I put taco fillings on a baked spud), smoothies, salads, a deconstructed veggie burger, curries, stir-fries, tofu scramble, and this amazing quinoa/portobello/veggie dish!

FITNESS

What a chaotic week! Not one single yoga class fit my schedule. So – it was runs and home gym workouts!

LIFE

Last Friday we said our final farewell to Bumble. Such an amazing, quirky, and loving girl she was. A little over 18, she had a long life and brought a lot of joy to my family. We all miss her.

On Saturday I hosted a surprise bday party for a friend and her husband (who is one of my bowling buddies!). I made tons of tacos (hence all the taco leftovers), and the garage was converted into beer pong central. It was a fun time, and K really was surprised.

Also went to see Black Panther this week, which was just amazing. Beautiful visually, great story, well acted, but mainly I believe this movie will be historical for what it’s doing to lessen the “white washing” of Hollywood.

Did happy hour with a good friend of mine who is going through a divorce on what would have been her anniversary. We drank, hugged, and had a good time.

Spent a lovely day out and about yesterday in gorgeous weather with someone special. Shopped, walked, and stopped at a tavern to watch some sport fun. I’m just going to say – I don’t get curling! Also, UVA kicked butt against Pitt, so that’s awesome.

Today was another amazing day. 80 degrees! Called for a run and then fun at the beach with the two youngest and the pups. M brought his long board to skate down the boardwalk, while R and I walked along the beach with Kuma. Then we stopped for a bite before going home. Also did typical Sunday stuff like meal plan, make a grocery list, go grocery shopping, and cook.

Of course there was also normal life stuff, like studying and chilling with the family. This will be a crazy and intense week too. I need to work ahead a week for school since I’m out for a work conference, which means I’ll have no time at all next week. So yeah. There’s that!

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!