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…

A Slave to the Data

FOOD

This morning started with a green smoothie. Spinach, banana, blueberries, cilantro, and Vega vanilla protein powder. While the Ripple is okay – I picked it up because I really like it’s nutritional profile – it’s not the tastiest protein out there. The couple extra calories on Vega is worth it.

A couple hours later it was another breakfast salad! This one had Morning Star vegan chicken strips in it since I didn’t have any pressed tofu. It’s good and super easy. Way easier than Beyond Meat’s version. Lighter too, which I tend to prefer.

My afternoon was a lunch date that included edamame and a totally yummy mandarin salad. It was huge though – only ate about 1/3 of it.

The goofball decided to stick his finger in the picture.

But dinner friends. Dinner was an adventure! During Amazon Prime days last summer I got a wicked sale on a KitchenAid attachment that turned veggies into strips of pasta! It looked freakishly complicated, so I just never used it. But tonight I was motivated, so I busted it out. It actually wasn’t complicated at all, and now I’m annoyed with myself I haven’t been doing this for the past 8 months that I’ve had it!

Crissie’s Vegan Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini – peeled and made into sheets of pasta (you can use thin rounds in that’s what you have available)
  • Any other veggies you have and want to use. I tossed in thinly sliced red onion and kale
  • 1 jar your fav marinara or batch of one homemade
  • 1 pkg of Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles (or meatless crumbles of choice)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa

Directions

  • Cook the Beyond Meat per package instructions.
  • Stir in the marinara and quinoa
  • Layer, starting with veggies, top with marinara mixture, repeat until it’s all gone!
  • Bake covered for 30 min in a 400 degree oven

It was really good and made 4 servings.

FITNESS

So I did go for that run last night. Wasn’t the greatest, but I managed.

Decided on another run today. This one was awesome and is the type of run that reminds me why I like it to begin with. I don’t know I’ll be back on running like I have in the past, but it’s definitely in the rotation – especially now that it’s getting nicer.

Okay, so people who know me, know I like data. Which is funny because I hate math, but I digress. Data tells a story. And if you don’t have the data, it didn’t happen.

SO – imagine my horror when I realized at 10am that I hadn’t inputted my passcode on my Apple Watch and had not gotten credit for anything I did from 530am until 10! So my hours standing will be off. My total calories burned for the day. I keep trying to think it’s no big deal. But I’m seriously a slave to the data and get all flummoxed when I don’t have it!

LIFE

Well it’s only been a day 😉

Last night’s web development class was really interesting. The focus was on defining the user profile, or persona while designing the app. It seems so common sense, but the way it was laid out was really awesome. We focused on the elevator pitch, user experience, app features, and context. Hard to believe that next week we start coding! Yikes – I haven’t coded in a long, long time…

MAD = Mobile App Design

Now, I don’t know that I’ll ever be good enough to really build commercial apps, but since I am involved in the whole start up world, I want to have at least a position of knowledge when working with app developers – so I know what’s realistic, etc.

My youngest wants to build an app related to her robotics scouting component, so I think that’ll be my class project!

Today ended up being a bit different than planned. The course I was supposed to teach got moved to the fall term. He realized he gave me zero time – even though I was mostly ready and could wing it, I did appreciate it.

That meant a work from home day, which was productive. At one point I hear Kuma zooming around. As she is wont to do. I don’t really pay much attention since I’m at my desk. I decided to look up – and she her tearing through the downstairs with some toilet paper in her mouth. I’ve been picking up bits all day….

Otherwise it was meetings, lunch, and kitchen fun.

And….bike shopping!

My eldest is excited by the nicer weather and mentioned a week or so ago about wanting to bike more. Thing is, her bike was stolen back in college and has really just been borrowing everyone else’s. And while her bday isn’t until May, I asked her if she would like a new bike (she did!), so we grabbed Kuma and went bike shopping! We’re fortunate to have a great local bike shop literally blocks from our house.

Meet Evangeline….(the bike)

The day has ended with a walk for the little bear and a nice evening with my kids.

I realize I’ve become my father in this regard…but I admit I miss him and his ridiculously long stories
Another beautiful day = sunshine fluffs!

Bean Town, Take 1

FOOD

Some very typical eats – smoothies and salads namely. I did try out a new protein powder. I really love the nutritional makeup of it, but am not in love with the taste compared to Vega or Garden of Life. So we’ll see if I ever get it again or try another flavor.

Tuesday night was the full blended family dinner fun out for Mexican. Many sangrias were had 🙂

For the rest of the week, I was in Boston, getting home late last night/early this morning. All I can say is thank goodness for Clif Bars since there really wasn’t anything I could eat on the first day. Once the coordinator of the meetings I was in learned I was vegan, she really went out of her way to help ensure there was something to eat for me (even soy milk for my coffee the second day we were there!).

Really tasty mushroom soup

Very typical in a plated meal – when handing out desserts, they don’t know what to give me, so I
get a bowl of fruit. Not complaining though, I love fruit and can do without the sugar of a
typical dessert anyway
Salad was fine. Black bean cakes were not. Certainly an A for effort, but mixed with spaghetti

Wednesday evening I met up with A & L for drinks at the top of the Prudential Tower at a place called Top of the Hub. We didn’t eat, but the drinks were amazing.

Dinner was as Kashmir – and Indian place that A and I actually went to almost a year ago the last time I was there. We ordered a bottle of wine, two orders of samosas, and 3 dishes to split. All vegan because they’re wonderful.

Also some other fun eats.

Discovered a sparkling sake called Mio, and I don’t know that my life will ever be the same

FITNESS

I got to one Regymen class, and it kicked my a$$. Focus was core, and I was sore for days!

Several other days I did Peloton streaming cycle workouts in my home gym.

LIFE

Tuesday evening was dinner with the 7 of us. BS helped me with my first ever basketball bracket! I have 3 total. One that is all him, one that is mostly him with a few changes (just couldn’t make WI lose – though I should have because they did!), and one that was actually a Wall Street Journal analytics one. I’m currently in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place! Though my 3rd is tied with my girlfriend A up in DC. My 1st place is my WSJ bracket, 2nd is the slightly modified one, and 3rd is BS’. Still a bit to go, but it’s been fun and minorly obsessive to check rankings after each game.

Most of the week was in Boston for my first trip there this spring. Two more to go. I left early Wednesday morning. Had a few afternoon meetings while I was there (one hanging in a Starbucks in Harvard Square), and then met with A & L (A and I went to grad school together. L is a professor in Boston). I hadn’t seen A since last summer, and L since a ski trip a little over a year ago, so it was awesome to catch up. Both are coming for a visit this summer, so that’ll be awesome.

Our view
Pick the waitress took. My guy said it was too dark, so A took a selfie and fixed it

Thursday and Friday were meetings, which were really engaging and productive. We had a dinner that Thursday night, which was a lot of fun. It’s always nice getting to know people you really only know via phone calls! Lots of non-work related interesting conversations, especially about food and travel.

I flew home yesterday.

Today I went to Whole Foods and then met my boyfriend and his oldest for lunch. This evening is taking my youngest and her bestie to a hockey game. It’s nice being busy. Not having school work to do won’t get to me 🙂 I have read quite a lot though, which I really enjoy.

Dragons!

So BS admonished me again. I did tell him to bite me because I had a 40 page paper due and that was more important than his blog fix, but whatevs. Paper is done and now it’s time to catch up!

FOOD

As you can imagine, there has been plenty of food in the past 2 weeks! Thai, soups, salad, smoothies. You know – the typical. And eats out and about too of course!

Beyond Meat Brat & pretzel bun at Brick Anchor!

Dinner & drinks with a girlfriend from Boston who was in town

Take out Thai while paper writing

Today’s breakfast salad! Pit stop at Whole Foods on my way in this morning…

FITNESS

The past two weeks have been too chaotic to go to the gym. Good thing I have a small home gym with a spin bike – been quite a bit of that!

And yoga, of course. I’d probably burn out without it.

LIFE

Very busy couple of weeks! Went out of town with my guy a couple weekends ago. Great trip about 3-4 hrs away from home. Got back on Sunday – realized I left my wallet at the restaurant where we had breakfast, and proceeded to drive back to get it. Ugh. It was 7pm by the time I got there and raining, so I just spent the night and came home early in the morning. What a pain. Otherwise a wonderful weekend.

Got annoyed that they left the Irish whiskey with the same dumb Scottish spelling…but

Then it was a normal week of working, working out, studying, and going out one night with my guy – typically a Friday night.

The following weekend was an almost full family movie fun with Captain Marvel (A wasn’t there – her man was in town!). The next day was a brunch party at our fav brunch spot to celebrate A & J. Minus my son who was working and one of my guys sons who had pre-existing plans, and plus two other friends. We reserved the tea room, ate, drank, and laughed a lot. It was a lot of fun.

Then more work and school. My girlfriend H from Richmond was in town for a few days (she grew up here and was here for family stuff). We went out Tuesday night.

I took off Wednesday to focus on my paper. Library, then Brick Anchor for lunch, then Starbucks, and then meeting S from Boston for dinner and drinks.

This past weekend was all about robotics! R had a competition locally and was a ton of fun – though two 12 hr days is loooong. My guy came to some of it both days and that was fun. R was student ambassador so had to work shifts giving tours and explanations of the program. We were her first she gave tours to, so it was cute.

My term ended yesterday, so I’m done until April 8th. Here’s hoping I don’t get too bored…

And misc pics of course 🙂

Snuggly sunshine friends

Umm. I go thru a LOT of highlighters. Bulk purchase for $5 and I was excited.

So this weekend while at robotics, M bought everyone in the family their very own dragon! I was so excited that this one is mine. Totally perfect! Still needs a name tho…