From the Smokies to the Rockies

I took a quick trip to Denver this weekend to visit The Boy, who is now living the life in a great apartment with a garage, crown molding, daily trash service, and his double reclining couch. Must be nice!

Denver seems to be a great city. Especially for those interested in good health (me!) – there were walking/biking trails everywhere, plenty of parks and outdoor activities (most cars had bike/ski/boat racks), and a majority of citizens with BMI below 25 (or maybe 28… haha, still better than here in the south!).

We had a great, but quick, 43 hours together. Activities included:

  • Estate sale-ing and thrifting (you didn’t think I could visit a new city and not look for Pyrex, did you??)
  • Exploring Denver’s Highlands Street Festival
  • Scouting out the best Thai food in Denver (and being slightly alarmed when we walked into an empty restaurant at 6:30… luckily other people eventually dined there too!)
  • Driving into the mountains to see Central City and Black Hawk
  • Introducing The Boy to “The Glee Project” and “Extreme Couponing”, with which he now loves (seriously!)
  • Experiencing Duffeyrolls, which are basically a cinnamon roll and croissant hybrid. Delicious way to start the day!

Sadly, the only picture on my camera to remember the weekend is of the monstrous rice krispy treats sold at the festival:

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In the Windy City

Hello blog readers,

Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while. I am still alive. Currently sitting in the lobby of the Westin on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, for the 2011 SCAN Symposium.

The lobby is packed of people wearing green for the annual St Patrick’s Day parade. Also, cute dogs wearing jackets (this is a pet-friendly hotel).

The Boy is up here with me too (although still asleep in the hotel room… hope housekeeping doesn’t barge in and rouse him from his slumber). We’ve had fun thus far. My camera is up in the room, but here is a recap of some of our activities thus far (pictures will follow!)

  • The Museum of Science and Industry – our inner science nerds had a blast in the museum, and were kicked out at their early 4pm closing time, without getting to fully enjoy every exhibit. But had fun!
  • Deep dish pizza at Giordano’s
  • Architecture boat cruise – on a surprisingly sunny Saturday afternoon
  • Hot Chocolate at Ghirardelli’s
  • Learning the Chicago Bus System – The Boy is particularly proud of learning routes (although I think google maps on his iPhone is doing all the work for him)
  • Walking through Navy Pier
  • The Boy received his best and most thorough haircut ever, from a little barber shop named Alfredo’s. He went in the shop looking like a muppet, and left like a well-groomed engineer.
  • Breakfast at this wonderful diner named Tempo, where they serve omelets and other breakfast creations straight out of the skillet, and the meals are the size of a football. Even The Boy couldn’t eat more than 50% of his meal!

Alright, time to head up to the conference. Be back later!

Boston is an old city!

Made it to Boston today – an easy flight from Charlotte (you wouldn’t believe how many dietitians were on the plane), but not quite an easy trip to the hotel. Kathy and I braved taking public transportation in a foreign city, and ended up lugging our suitcases onto 1 bus, 1 subway, and then another bus because the subway was shut down for construction. But we made it eventually to our hotel…

… which is the oldest continuously operating hotel in America. It’s also the creator of the Boston Cream Pie, and Parker House Rolls.

Which was a sign that good food was to come :)

We wandered around Boston a little bit today, registered at the conference, and laughed at the fact that you can’t walk more than 1/4 mile in this city without passing a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts locations (not that I’m complaining!)

I will admit that I have failed on the photography front (no surprise, I’m sure). I promise to take more pictures in the next few days.

DInner tonight was in the North End area, where Boston’s Italian population is centered. We had a delicious dinner at Florentine Cafe, which is apparently one of Boston’s oldest bars (opened after prohibition ended). It’s a small restaurant/bar, but great food. I was sold when I saw “Ravioli de Zucca” on the menu outside – how can you go wrong with pumpkin and butternut squash in pasta!? It was a great dish, as was the bruschetta we started with, and the vegetable lasagna that Kathy had. We were stuffed by the end.

… but not stuffed enough to walk by the crowd outside Mike’s Pastry!

Mike’s Pastry seems to be quite the Boston institution, with every type of Italian dessert imaginable – a gelato bar, espresso/coffee menu, cannoli of every type and flavor, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, even red velvet cake whoopie pies, and the Lobstertail Cream that has us both intrigued :)

But in the end, we came back to the hotel with a box of cannoli – chocolate mousse for Kathy and traditional ricotta filling for me. I made it through half of the decadent dessert before collapsing on the bed. Kathy, who championed through hers (only because it was a mousse filling, we both are convinced) is now in the hotel’s fitness center. I didn’t even pack my Asics, so I feel no guilt.

Tomorrow is a FULL day at FNCE (like, a 15 hour full day!) so I’m going to get an early night. I’m thankful for the extra hour of sleep daylight savings is giving us, but may need to stop by a Dunkin Donuts tomorrow morning!

Surprise! It’s June!

How is it already June!? I had some trouble today writing 06/01/10 on my notes today but eventually caught on.

This time last year I was just 2 weeks away from graduating from my dietetic internship, madly searching for jobs and trying to figure out what I was going to do with myself after my Nashville lease ended.

…. fast forward a year and here I am out in the mountains of east tennessee with a beautiful garden growing!

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Some things haven’t changed, though. Still in job search mode. No, not for myself. I’m doing fine at work, and don’t plan on leaving for a little bit (next move = grad school). The Boy has recently been thrown into the real world after learning that his research funding was disappearing and he wouldn’t be able to stay for his PhD after all. I definitely think searching for dietitian jobs is a lot more straight forward than this electrical engineering stuff. I’ve been trying to help and seek out appropriate jobs for him to apply to (I know, amazing girlfriend of the year material) but I have no idea what any of the job descriptions mean. He gave me a list of terms and keywords to look for, so that’s about all I can do. Crossing fingers that he has better luck than I did last year (very few job applications even contacted me, let alone gave me an opportunity to interview!).

So what does the month of June hold for me?

Well, my Dad is flying up this weekend for his birthday (which coincides with both National Donut Day and Knoxville’s International Biscuit Festival!) and then the long drive back to Texas with my mom and the dogs. So Sheff, Bess and I will be back to our single life on the farm. Which probably means back to my list-oriented life, getting back to some embroidery, reading, gardening, and walks on the greenway. Also hoping to make a trip to Nashville (and maybe attend the American Artisan Festival).

Oh, and blogging from my new netbook!

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I ordered it this morning from NewEgg, so hoping to have it by the end of the week to try out. Exciting!! As much as I love my Dell Studio laptop, the 15" size is a little much to carry around with me. The baby netbook will be wonderful as a travel companion. :)

Memorial Day Getaway!

Greetings from Hotlanta! The Boy and I have been here since Friday night and have really enjoyed our 3 day weekend thus far.

Friday night started with a delay as The Boy got stuck on the interstate for almost 2 hours thanks to a large tractor trailer accident that was blocking all lanes. I had to spend the time in Chattanooga, waiting for him, so I found a nearby mall and went shoe shopping :)

We’re staying in a condo in the business district of midtown. It’s nice to have more space than a little hotel room, but it’s not in a great area to walk around safely.

We’ve had lots of good eats. I got my picks of the Flying Biscuit (have to eat there on every Atlanta trip) and Highland Bakery, and The Boy chose Fogo de Chao as our 1 year “anniversary” dinner. He’d never heard of the Brazilian Steakhouse concept until recently, and the thought that you could eat unlimited, high quality meats was pretty much the most exciting idea he’d heard of in a long time! Thankfully, there’s also a salad bar-only price, so we didn’t waste a fortune on me.

The Atlanta Jazz Festival was the main reason for our trip, which we got to experience Saturday afternoon. The rain was nice enough to hold out until Sunday, so we didn’t get soaked.

We did, however, get sunburned. Thanks to the Atlanta Carribean Carnival parade that blocked access to our condo building with feathered people everywhere, we ended up going straight to Piedmont Park from our brunch. This meant = we were still wearing jeans (not jazz festival appropriate!), I didn’t have my sunscreen, nor the drinks/snacks I wanted to bring. 6 hours later, we were super sweaty, dehydrated, and red. But we loved the music – especially Trombone Shorty – great stuff!

Sunday involved more indoors activities – Ikea, The High Museum of Art, Trader Joes, Lenox Square mall (someone tried to convince me to purchase on iPad) and more good food. Today is our last day – nothing much planned other than getting packed up, going netbook shopping (which I prefer over the iPad…. I need a keyboard with real keys!!) and then a drive back up North.

Thanks for a good weekend Georgia!

 

Back from the Ash…

Made it back from Asheville today after a fun and relaxing weekend with my friends. It was just what we needed :)

Our own cottage:

My VRBO.com experience proved wise – giving us an adorable little 2 bedroom cottage that was dog friendly. With a wraparound porch complete with table, chairs, and a grill, it was perfect for catching up on a sunny Friday afternoon. And the dogs enjoyed being able to run around and play with their toys. I didn’t take any photos of the place (camera battery died shortly after arrival.. grr), but we’ll likely stay again if we return to Asheville for a weekend.

Enjoying local food:

We so appreciated Asheville’s passion for supporting local farms/businesses, and the plethora of organic, local and seasonal food. We spent our food dollars at local establishments like:

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** Yes, we realized that Three Dog Bakery is a nation-wide chain, but we wanted to bring back some treats for our canines :)

Burning off those biscuit calories..

Regardless of our education/training/profession, we love to eat when we get together (the main reason behind my weight gain during my internship at Vanderbilt last year!). And we eat more than the reasonable portions of which the little RD voice in the back of our head reminds us.

But, as our motto reminds us (and the title of this blog) – Everything in Moderation. So what if you ate a huge cathead-sized biscuit, speckled with yellow butter and coated in homemade blueberry jam with your already large dinner? All you have to do is walk 6 miles the next day and it’s all good :)

Which brings us to the huge chunk of land in Western Carolina we like to call Biltmore. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the house, and the many mile stroll we took through the gardens. Due to time constraints, we were unable to visit the winery and/or farm, but it looked like a great place to return to some day for biking/picnicking or horse riding. The annual pass for only another $25 sure was tempting, but I withheld. Because knowing me, I’d never return and then feel guilty for handing over the extra dough.

Dough = delicious easy dinner

Nice transition, right? After our 13,000 step day, we decided on the perfect evening formula:

take-out pizza + redbox movie + SNL with Betty White

  • Pizza = large cheese pizza from Marco’s. Salty crust, but otherwise good.
  • Movie = The Lovely Bones, which we realized may not have been a brilliant choice for three girls in a cottage out in the mountains on their own. Luckily, any fear/freaking that the movie imposed was soon forgotten thanks to…
  • SNL with Betty White :)

Hotel Fail

Well, the Sheraton didn’t quite live up to our expectations yesterday. In fact, we had numerous fails

  • Our 166 foot water slide was out for repairs
  • The club lounge that we had access to (thanks to my Dad’s priority status) was a bust – an empty room without water or refreshments, and a TV that couldn’t get network channels (we had several people eager to watch March Madness)
  • The tennis courts were unable to be reserved because no one was at the health club. That also meant the racquetball courts were out.
  • The wireless in the hotel was $10 a day. Why on earth can you get free wifi from the crummiest of hotels, and not from a nice one?!

We ended up playing mini golf across the street in the afternoon, instead of enjoying the hotel amenities as planned. Castles’n’Coasters (the mini golf / amusement park across the street) had a very well-maintained mini golf course that my Dad, sister and I enjoyed. I hyped up my putt putt skills a little too much (I figured my 4-5 mini golf games this year compared to my sister’s 7 year drought would put things in my favor…)  but ended up losing by 20 strokes. Oh dear me… but we all had fun :)

Oh and now I am left with a very fashionable farmer’s tan. Pink arms and neck. White everywhere else. Awesome!

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I’m currently on the plane en route to Memphis. I discovered that this aircraft is wifi enabled (how exciting!) but decided not to fork over the $10 to use it. If I get desperate enough, I can pay $5 at the Memphis airport and get this posted. But how nice that Phoenix offered free wifi from their airport! I feel like this should be universal by now…. anyone with me?

Less than 2 hours to go. Time to enjoy some refreshments (= water and peanuts) and my book.