Thursday, December 8, 2011

Winter Wrap Up

It's a shame I don't discipline myself to update my blog more, I just don't have time. That's a lie really - I find time to read my InStyle magazine and watch Battlestar Galactica episodes on Netflix with John every night, so I can obviously find the time to chat about my food and health adventures.

To start, I wrapped up my 2011 race season with 2 more races in November. I ran the HCA 8k instead of the half marathon this year since I didn't feel like doing anything too challenging after Tough Mudder. The 8k was so much fun - it's the perfect race distance ever. Just short enough to not hurt, but long enough to feel like a decent workout. Kali and I ran in our Tough Mudder orange sweat bands just to show off a bit. Only one guy called us out and that was it. So much for being a badass.

The last race was the Turkey Trot 10K on the University of Richmond's campus. It's quite the hilly course. Lots of ups and downs, but it was an absolutely beautiful day - cool, crisp, sunny and a slight breeze. Kali and I didn't train at all for this race but we finished in 56 minutes - 9 minute miles, so I'm pretty satisfied. Ironically, this race was on the 1-year anniversary of my broken arm (during a trail run on Thanksgiving with John), AND it was my 13th race of the year. No injuries this year, thank god!

I'll probably run in the Toys for Tots this Sunday just to even out my race count to 14 total (16 that I signed up for but did not race in 2 of them). Plus it's for a good cause and something to do.

So to continue my race mode, I just signed up for my first race in 2012! The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC. My friend Liz and I put our names in the lottery to see if we'll get in. I certainly hope so. 10 Milers are very challenging but not as painful as a half marathon. And since I really don't do long distance running races anymore, 10 miles is perfect. I'd rather do triathlons after that!

So what else have I been up to now that winter is here? Cooking of course! It's crockpot season! Naturally I turn to my favorite blogger of all time, Jenna of Eat Live Run. She literally has the best recipes and photos I've ever seen and tasted. Her writing is excellent and her lifestyle is exactly how I want mine (if only I could afford those Frye boots she wears!). I just tried her sweet potato lentil soup in the crockpot because it was completely effortless. If you love Trader Joes as much as I do, then you would understand how easy they make it to be a good cook. I got almost all the ingredients I needed for this one recipe on the first isle of the store - lentils, cubed sweet potatoes, fresh rosemary, chopped onions, celery, carrots and garlic - and I added chicken sausage to my soup for some added protein. Throw it all in the crock pot with 64 oz of chicken broth and voila - I'd say a pretty healthy and hearty soup ready for dinner!

Then there's the not-so-healthy pizza, but fun to make with Brett! We roll out the dough and I let him go to town with the pizza sauce all over the dough. Then the toppings. This time we tried prosciutto, spinach and arugula topped with 5-italian cheese and goat cheese. Brett actually enjoyed the prosciutto so he put some on his "side." YUM.

Tomorrow I'm going to make another Eat Live Run recipe with cubed butternut squash and quinoa. I'll probably add yet another protein to the dish - most likely baked wild alaskan salmon filets. John's favorite.

More to come - hopefully sooner rather than later! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vacation like a boss

Ah, vacation. Glorious vacation. I must say, since the stress and hard work of training for TM and studying for the PMP exam, this vacation is highly anticipated and very much welcomed. Down here in Florida, it's sunny blue skies with the high temp of 80 degrees at the peak hours of the day. It feels absolutely wonderful, not humid nor too hot. Since we've been down here, I've laid by the pool, done a little work, light reading and of course an afternoon run before dinner. I've never felt so relaxed. 

Before this trip, I tacked on a quick trip to Disney World to once again attend Epcot's 16th annual International Wine and Food Festival with my former roommates, Talley and Christine. I arrived in Orlando mid-day Sunday, made it to the hotel, and since Talley and Christine were out at the parks (they went down a day ahead of me), I decided to relax by the hotel pool and take my time getting ready before our amazing dinner at Ohana at the Polynesian Resort. This is our second year taking this trip and I hope to make it a tradition from now on. Just the 2 short days is all I need, and it's a total blast. 

Ohana serves amazing selections of meats similar to Texas de Brazil but definitely fancier. The steak and shrimp are my favorite, followed by the wings and their amazing dipping sauces to go with them. Since we had collected a bit of money from our old apartment's security deposit, we used the money for our trip to Disney World, so basically the meal was free (okay, not really but at least it felt like it!).
Then there's the festival. This year had some of the same items as last year's menu but thank god because many of them were absolutely amazing, like the lamb sliders with tomato chutney from New Zealand, the escargot wrapped in filo dough from France, and of course the sushi-grade salmon and tuna sensation with chunks of fresh avocado drizzled in soy sauce from Japan. To-die for, let me tell you. Then there were a few new treats such as the lamb chop with goat cheese potato salad from Australia, the seared filet of beef with sweet potato puree from South Africa, spicy shrimp taco from Mexico, and the Kefta (beef stuffed pita) from Morocco. All were absolutely incredible. It's the best food festival I've ever been to. Then there's the Eat to the Beat concert series and every year our favorite band Hanson performs during the festival. We basically revolve our trip around this concert and the festival, lets be honest. We've loved Hanson since the days of MMMBop and I can't believe 14 years later, we're still attending their shows. This year, they performed on Halloween, so what did they come out on stage dressed as? STORM TROOPERS! I LOVE Star Wars so this completely made my day. See a shot of Taylor Hanson below for a lovely visual. So much fun!

So, once I got back from Disney World, I turned around and headed right back to Ft. Myers, Florida with John the very next morning (I did not plan this, it was truly an accident that I booked these flights back-to-back, I swear). We enjoyed lunch at the club, pool time and relaxation. I decided to cook a nice meal for our first night at the condo instead of going out to dinner. My friend Liz brought me squid ink black linguine from Italy when she was traveling with her family on vacation. I saved the linguine and decided to take it with me to Florida so I could make a dish called "Love Mussels" that Liz recommended from The recipe was super simple - shallots, green onion, garlic, capers and Italian seasoning to eventually make an incredible marina sauce. Throw in fresh mussels (and I added shrimp), let it simmer; the mussels open up in the sauce and then pour over the black linguine. Voila! Or should I say, "Mangia!"

So, what's next? Well, we are heading to Miami tomorrow for a weekend getaway and wedding of a friend of John's. We are staying a swank hotel we booked using a Groupon deal, pretty pleased about that. Should be a lot of fun! How am I ever going to get back into the swing of things back in RVA after this wonderful vacation? I'll tell you how... by signing up for 2 more races this month. To motivate me during vacation and the upcoming holidays, I signed up for both the HCA 8K that occurs during the Richmond Marathon weekend and the RRRC Turkey Trot 10K on Thanksgiving Day. It'll be a great workout before I down a huge feast at my parent's house. Gotta keep up the races to stay motivated... it really works!

So that's all for now... glad I can finally find the time to update my blog. Although I'm pretty sure no one reads it, at least I can record my food and fitness experiences somewhere special to me... And if you do read this - hope you enjoy!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'm a Tough Mudder and a PMP!

I did it. I made it through the toughest week of this year, and I rocked it!!! Not only did I survive Tough Mudder, I passed my PMP exam too! It has been such an overwhelming past few months, and now I feel like I can finally slow down and enjoy life. I have spent the last 4 months studying for this exam and focusing on work and races. It's been completely worth it. Setting goals for my health, career and mind have always been what motivates me in life and keeps me moving forward. Plus I'm off on a week and a half-long vacation to Florida as my reward!

I'm going to Disney World tomorrow for the Int'l Food and Wine festival in Epcot. My old roommates and I went last year and had so much fun, we had to do it again. I can't wait to see what's on the menus this year! I fly back Tuesday and turn right around Wednesday back to Florida, except we are going to Ft Myers for vacation. THEN we are heading down to Miami for the weekend to a wedding. I got this great Groupon deal for a 2-night stay at a fancy hotel and spa credits. It's going to be fabulous and I can't wait to enjoy every bit of it. Speaking of which... I think I will go get a pedicure today to continue my celebrations of passing the PMP exam and finishing the TM. My toes need some love!!!

After vacation I'll be finally back to normal. Since race season is over (other than an upcoming 8k and perhaps a holiday 5k here and there), I have no I idea what I'll do to focus my exercise. I guess I will go back to normal cross-training, maybe take a few Bikram Yoga classes or try something new. I've been hearing so much about Pure Yoga, I wish there was a studio here in Richmond to see what it's all about. I also want to consider Cross Fit. I keep hearing amazing things about this style of workouts too - an old high school friend of mine who does Cross Fit looks absolutely incredible, which motivates me too. So many decisions - I've got all winter to try a few things out!

Winter also means lots of cooking and baking! I've already made my pumpkin muffins but I'm sure I'll be making a few more loaves of pumpkin bread in the near future. I recently made a white chicken chili that was amazing - and the seasoning came from a Sauer's seasoning pack so I was surprised it tasted so good! I'll have to look up a few new things to try this winter too, particularly crockpot recipes that I want to throw together in the morning before work and then come home to. Of course my usual crockpot chili and  blondie soup recipes will be used regularly this season too.

Anyway - more to come later, but just wanted to share my accomplishments with anyone who cares. It's been one hell of a ride but I'm so glad I did it!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tough Mudder Jitters

I can't believe it's upon us. Tough Mudder is the day after tomorrow and I'm so not prepared. When I first signed up, I was so into the training and mentally preparing myself for this race. Now that it's here, I'm not at all in the mental or physical shape I had imaged. First of all, I didn't train for the distance AT ALL. The longest distance I ran was 8 miles about 2 weeks ago. I've hit a few 5 or 6 milers here and there but that's about it. Then, last weekend I did a few hill repeats and injured my back pretty bad. I've been having back issues all year, and this one of course happened a week before the race. I haven't done a lick of exercise since last Saturday in an effort to heal, and I'd say today is the first day my back has felt better. I can still feel a small bit of soreness in the spinal muscles, but nothing that will stop me from attempting to finish Tough Mudder.

So, in an effort to mentally prep myself, I decided to go out and buy a really cool outfit. For the legs, Reebok cold compression full length leggings. For the top, O'Neill surf shirt - mock turtle neck with insulated panels in the front and back to help keep water off my skin and dry super fast. Not to mention I'm hoping it will be a bit of a barrier for the ice water we have to jump into (FML). Gloves, I decided to go with kayaking gripper hydro-gloves, seems are not sealed off, but when I ran them under the faucet, barely any water came through the seams, and they feel great on my hands (like they are my own hands but with more grip and protection). Let's hope they stay on until the greased-up monkey bar obstacle.

I plan on wearing old running shoes and probably bringing my goggles too just in case. There's a LOT of water and since I wear contacts, I figure it's safer to keep them around my neck. If I don't use them, who cares. Honestly, I'm dreading this race, but if I complete it, I'll have conquered a huge race and epic win for me personally. Yet another item to check off the bucket list, if I survive that is... Wish me luck!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Race Season Wrap Up

Wow I need to update my blog more but I just don't have time. Work, family and races fill my days with just enough time to shower, eat, study for my PMP exam, and maybe a little bit of relaxing on top of race training workouts. But when I do have time, writing my blog gets pushed to the bottom, below the cleaning and chores, and shopping for a new couch.

 So lots of things have happened since my last post. I wrapped up this year's triathlon season with the Naylor's Beach sprint triathlon down in Warsaw. It was a lot of fun - I got to wear my first wetsuit! These two lovely ladies helped me get in my suit and swim around before the race. The water was about 72 degrees, and the wetsuit kept the cold away. It also makes you very buoyant so you swim right on top of the water. What I didn't anticipate was that it made me claustrophobic. When our wave took off, I had a hard time getting my breathing under control. I basically took a break every other stroke to keep myself from panicking. It worked. I survived. Made it through the bike too - it was a very flat 15 mile course. Same with the run. Definitely looking forward to next year's tri season!

This past weekend I had yet another race. John and I competed in the Warrior Dash. A 3.5 mile obstacle course race with lots and lots of mud. The 12-foot wall-scaling was honestly the scariest thing I've ever done. I don't do well with heights, or maybe it's heights when I'm not secured and holding on to a rope with my feet on a very small ledge. We had a great time and finished in about 45 minutes. Pretty pleased. Got to eat an enormous turkey leg after the race, just like a Viking!

Let's see, what else... The weather is changing and fall is here. I love this season because of I get to wear boots and of course bake pumpkin-everything. I've already made pumpkin bread and huge pots of chili in the crockpot. Soon I'll make the pumpkin muffins like I do every year for my HR team at work.

So that's all for now, I'll update more when I can... Up next.... TOUGH MUDDER. Gulp.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

End of summer recap

It's Labor Day weekend and summer is coming to an end. This weekend means that school is starting back up, pumpkin will start filling up the grocery store shelves, I can start making crockpot chili again, and it's getting close to boot season (hurray!)...  It also means my birthday, which was September 2nd. I'm 28 years old. Wow, I'm getting old... I have to say my 27th year was one of my favorites. I fell in love and achieved goals I never thought possible (my first triathlon for example). I'm definitely excited for this year too, as I hope to reach other huge goals in my life. Work-wise, I'm studying to become a Project Manager and receive my PMP credential. It took months just to document 4500 hours of project work over the course of my career, but now that my application is submitted, I'm even more determined to pass my PMP exam and develop my career. This probably explains my lack of blogging since I have been documenting projects and studying for my exam every night.

I've got some big races coming up at the end of race season that are pretty lofty goals too - Naylor's Beach Triathlon and the Tough Mudder. Holy cow that means I need to get focused on training for both! The triathlon is just 3 weeks away! Labor Day was when I started my 10-week training program for the Richmond Half Marathon last year. I haven't decided if I'm running the half again, since I'm not in running shape, but I should. It would be nice to keep up that tradition for a 3rd year in a row. We'll have to see how I fair when I get back into running. Today marked my first day back on the trail. John and I, plus my best friend Brian hit Buttermilk for a morning run. It was absolutely gorgeous. And then I fell. What is with me and trail runs? Do I not lift my feet high enough? Am I just plain clumsy? I preach to everyone else who are just starting out trail running to always watch for roots and rocks, but I never list to my own advice. Oh well... Just a gash on my knee, looks just like the one John got a year ago during our first training run.

Since I don't have any other updates on my fitness, I figured I'd share some food photos instead. I've been busy cooking and dining out all summer long. For starters, grilling has been a favorite past time of mine. I love to grill large portabella mushroom caps with different types of toppings. This time around I made marinara and parmesan caps and then crumbled goat cheese caps. Soooo good! I also have a great recipe for grilled shrimp a friend of mine gave me:

3 garlic cloves minced

1 medium yellow onion

1/4 c. fresh parsley minced     

1/4 c. fresh basil minced

2 tsp. Dijon mustard        

1 tsp. dry mustard

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 c. olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

  • 2 # jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined ( you can keep the tails on if you want)
  • Combine the garlic,onion, parsley, basil, mustards, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add the shrimp and allow them to marinate for 1 hour @ room temp or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. 
  • Brush the grill w/olive oil. Skewer the shrimp. Grill for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Grill should be med to hi heat!

And finally, for my birthday, instead of going out to dinner, I decided to cook. Sometimes I really enjoy a home-cooked meal, especially since I had been eating out every day riding up to my birthday due to Hurricane Irene. We lost power Saturday and didn't get it back until the night before my birthday. At that point I was done with eating out and was happy to be back home!!! While the photo doesn't do it justice, I made carne asada fajitas with black beans and avocado. The peppers were cooked down with a tough of cumin and salt/pepper/garlic. The marinaded beef and peppers came from Trader Joes, my favorite place to grocery shop, ever.

Later on tonight, Brett and I will be baking Sunflower seed cookies for my mom's 60th birthday, compliments of my favorite blogger, Jenna, who writes a blog called Eat, Live, Run. If you haven't read her blog or cooked her recipes, you are missing out my friend.

That's all for now. Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hi, I'm a Mac.

I'm so excited about my birthday present this year that I have to share the news on my blog too, even if it's not food or fitness related (and 2 weeks until my actual birthday).

This year, I asked for a really big gift, but I've stuck by my decision ALL YEAR. I have never been happier about my choice - a Macbook Air. I went for the 13 inch instead of 11 since I think I'm over the whole "small laptop" trend, but definitely still into the "light as a feather" idea. I now have a 2 lb laptop that's so thin- like a legal pad, and weighs about that much too. I've already set up preferences and settings but I have so much to learn. Thank god for John and his computer savvy skills. My favorite feature about a Mac is by far the ability to scroll without ever leaving the touch pad. What a great idea!

So... I'll stop rambling on, but just had to share my exciting news. I'm thrilled to be a Mac user once and for all.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Food and Fit Updates

Since the Tavern triathlon, I've continued to cross-train and enjoy my time off. This past weekend, John and I had an activity-filled weekend. To start, we hit up SEAL team practice on Saturday morning. I have done SEAL team and X team training in the past, so I was excited when they offered a deal on Living Social that's more affordable then joining the full program. I wish I could afford it because I had a blast. Afterwards, we biked to the South of the James farmer's market and back. All of this before brunch. It felt great to be so productive and active first thing in the morning. And the bloody mary that followed was a great reward too. On Sunday, we started the morning off with the same energy, except this time we hit the road on our bikes for about 10 miles or so, then ran a mile downto the James River by Huguenot Flats. We decided to swim across the river and back. I'd say it was about 300-400 meters across, but Icould be off. We ran back afterwards, finishing our morning workout. I enjoyed this type of workout very much. Lots of variety and interesting things to see and do. Sunday brunch was even more tastier as a result. I took John to Kuba Kuba down in the fan. He had never been before and we both were craving California huevos rancheros, the best thing ontheir menu besides the tres leches cake. I even tried to re-create it this morning, which was pretty good but definitely not the same.

Admits all the intense workouts over the weekend, Monday morning did not bring good things. I had slightly rolled my ankle on the run the day before, so when we went on our usual 4 mile loop to Pony Pasture and back Monday morning, it started to act up. On top of that, my back has been off for a couple of months now. It keeps flaring up here and there and I'm unable to move my lower back for 2-3 days. I know I should listen to my Dad when he says I honestly have to rest longer in order for my back muscles to completely heal, but I don't want to listen. I've got the Merrell Down and Dirty 10k coming up in 3 weeks, and rest is not an option. But I guess should take my injury more seriously if I don't want to screw anything up permanently. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out.

So back to the food it is... This past
Thursday, a few of my UVA girlfriends went out for dinner and drinks at Blue Goat, a new restaurant on Grove Avenue, owned by the same guys who run Osaka, Sushi O, and Wild Ginger. I had heard mixed reviews so far, and I was dying to try it out myself. The atmosphere and location are excellent. The food was quite good too. I am not sure I would go back for a full-meal, but definitely a great bar scene to enjoy appetizers and cocktails. The ravioli was my favorite, followed by the fries with pork dust. I wasn't a fan of the pork cheeks, and the pig tail gorgonzola polenta had a weird gravy that overwhelmed the rest of the flavors I was looking for. Otherwise, I had a blast and I can foresee Blue Goat being the next big bar scene in the near west end.

Friday night I took my best friend to Lady Nawlins (thank you Living Social once again) for dinner and drinks. I love raw oysters so that was a great start to the meal. We split the sampler platter of jumbalaya, gumbo, and red beans and rice with shrimp. It was the perfect amount of food to split with someone and tasted great. Exactly what I wanted. We hung out at the bar after dinner and enjoyed a few drinks courtesy of Jack Laughterback. It was a nice evening out in the fan - haven't done that in a while.

So - what has the rest of the weekend brought? Other than work and back pain, I enjoyed a wonderful day at the beach with Brett, John and Nanny. We headed down to VA beach Saturday morning with no traffic. We had the best time playing on the beach near 31st street next to the Hilton. My favorite lunch spot during high school beach week was a sandwich deli shop called Taste Unlimited. John and I walked to 36th where we picked up a few "Northenders" and enjoyed our lunch on the beach. I of course had to buy the house dressing to take home. It's delicious. Our ride home had no traffic either. The other side of 64 was at a standstill. How lucky are we?

Tonight I made steak fajitas and I'm currently enjoying a glass of wine on the back deck while Brett and John play golf in the yard. Life's pretty good.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I Love the Tavern Triathlon

I've got to work on updating my blog more often but so many other things come up that take priority. For starters, work has been super busy. I'm studying to become a PMP this year and OPEX Blue Belt certified. It's hard work but I absolutely love it. I just hope I do well and learn a lot.

On a personal note, I'm all moved in, and just got back from a wonderful family vacation down in Ft. Myers, Florida. John and I flew down last Wednesday thru Tuesday to celebrate the long holiday weekend. We read a lot, went on morning runs, played tennis at the club, went on the boat, went to the club pool, and enjoyed many tropical drinks and incredible seafood. It was a blast and very relaxing. I didn't bring my work laptop and for the first time, I was somewhat disconnected from work-hurray!

On the fitness front... I successfully completed my first open water triathlon 2 weeks ago! I was great. I loved the open water swim in the James River. The water temp was 83 degrees and outside it was only 66 by the time the race started at 7am. You could see the steam on the surface of the river just before the race. This year they reduced the swim distance to 400 meters but extended the bike to 18.5 miles. Fine by me since my swimming isn't all that great. In fact, I'm pretty bad. The bike ride was beautiful... Mostly country road with farms and animals; plenty of hills and one gigantic hill at the turn-around point that honestly took my breath away. I thought I was going to have to walk my bike up the hill because I was pedaling so slow - but I made it!

The run was a trail run thank god. I love trail running so as soon as I hit the 5k, I was in heaven. And by heaven I mean I couldn't feel my legs at all, but I somehow managed to grit through it. When I came out of the woods and saw the finish line, I was happy as a lark. Or insane from exhaustion as you can see I'm smiling like crazy in my running photo. All in all, it was a great race and I can't wait to do it again next year. The atmosphere is friendly and casual, with lots of athletes from all levels. I felt very comfortable and welcomed. I highly recommend this race to anyone!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tri-ready in 6 days

So I thought I'd quickly share the fact that I have my first open water Triathlon coming up this Sunday (June 26th) and I haven't really trained for it at all. I have been so busy with work and life that I haven't been tri-focused during any of my workouts. Yeah, I run, bike, swim and lift on a regular basis, but I have not been mentally preparing myself for what's to come, until today, 6 days before the race.

But let's back up a bit. The past few weeks have been quite busy. For one, I was recently pulled into a project team at work where my role is to provide feedback, research and present the best options on how to design our new fitness center at work. we are moving to a new building next year and I am on our health and wellness team to support the move. What a cool project, right? It certainly has been fun to research and find best practices related to corporate fitness centers, but also very time consuming with the tight deadlines. I never imagined I'd get to help design a fitness center at my company as part of my ad hoc projects for the year, but here I am! It's been a great experience so far.

On top of work, I'm also moving. I'm finally out of the fan and into the suburbs, and moving has been quite the time vacuum. Between packing, cleaning, unpacking and cleaning some more, plus coordinating utility deactivation's and the like at my old place, then errands and furniture planning... It seems my life (and work) has been nothing but residential and commercial interior design these days - at least it's something I enjoy!

So... between work and life, training for this triathlon has been put on the back burner just a bit. I still work out almost every day, but these past few weeks they are not as intense, and I skip a day here and there. This weekend I didn't even consider working out during the move, and I only squeezed in a 5k on Friday afternoon on a treadmill. Ah well.

So what better to the week than to do a mini triathlon... er... not really. I went to spin during my lunch break, then followed up with a 400-500 meter swim after work in the James River at Robious Landing Park (where my triathlon will be on Sunday), then a short 2 mile fast run. It felt great today. Even though it wasn't a full triathlon and quite spread out, it felt great to get out there and hang out with other amazing athletes. It definitely brought me back to the place I want to be - excited about working out, and not finding excuses to skip. I look forward to the opportunity to get my heart rate up and sweat a little. What a feeling.

The trail run was short but sweet and fast. My co-worker Kali and I hustled the 2 miles - a nice burst of energy to pump blood out of my legs after the swim. Can't wait to do it again soon. Let's hope this is all I needed to get the confidence to finish the I Love the Tavern Triathlon this Sunday. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weekend of reunions, food and friends

Lately my weekends are either over stuffed with events or nothing
but packing and catching up on the day-to-day. This weekend was definitely packed. My 5 year reunion from the University of Virginia was this past weekend, plus John had birthday/graduation party up in DC. We managed to pull off both despite our exhaustion. We headed to Charlottesville after work on Friday, and met up with my good friends Bane and Jen. Our standard hot spot in college was the Virginian on the Corner, which of course brought back great memories. We also enjoyed some of our favorite food joints like the Tavern and Take It Away. It was absolutely wonderful!

Back in Richmond, it was also a big foodie weekend, and somehow I managed to fit that in as well. Thursday before my reunion, my friends and I headed to the Greek Festival. It's one of the largest food festivals in RVA and it just gets bigger every year. Gotta love a cheap bottle of chilled red wine on a hot summer day with a side of dolmades!

Sunday was yet another food festival called Broad Appetite. My sister and I approach this festival very strategically... A co-worker friend of mine came along to tag-team each of the food vendors so that we could split them to save money and room for all the food we were eating. It was awesome... Below are a few food shots from today:

Marinaded skirt steak tacos with cilantro, red onion and parmesan cheese. YUM.

Shrimp and Pork meatballs with papaya salad plus hoisin and sriracha sauce dollops.

Smoked salmon toast with baby spinach leaves and jalapeƱos... Spicy!

Crab stuffed ravioli in a lobster cream sauce. OMG.

So that's the quick update. Definitely hopping back on the routine tomorrow. I can't wait to get my ass kicked in boot camp after work and eating healthy meals this week. Bring it on!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Graduation at The University

I swear it feels like yesterday that John first set off to UVA to pursue his Master's degree in Systems Engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Science. I remember he told me it would be a tough year for him, balancing school, work, his son and me. But he did it, and I'm so proud of him. Last weekend we headed up to UVA to watch John walk the Lawn and later on receive his diploma. It was a great weekend, busy, hot, chaotic and fun as hell. My family gave him a wonderful UVA diploma frame for graduation and it looks quite impressive hanging in his office. I will most likely bring my UVA undergraduate framed diploma to hang up as well, because we are nerds like that.

I will write more later but wanted to share this news and congratulate John on his amazing achievement. I'm proud of you babe - you are a lifetime learner.