RSP & Brother Bear

Happy Sunday!

I didn’t find time to blog yesterday because I was busy enjoying being home! Yippee!

But I did mostly the standard stuff yesterday . . .

Running (HOT)

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Smoothie

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Pool Smile

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It was a good, loung-y day, and I definitely needed it after weeks of having my life up in the air. Between the new job, traveling and moving, I needed to power down.

Last night my parents and I ventured out for some good Italian at Andiamo in Dearborn, which is about 45 minutes from their house. After some confusion as to whether there was room for us in the dining room (there totally was!), we got a table and ordered some Chianti to share.

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Last night, I decided to play around with my camera at dinner (because that’s a super classy thing to do in a nice restaurant, right?) and try taking photos with and without the flash. I know for food photography, you’re not supposed to use one, but my camera isn’t all that fancy. Anyway. Here’s a side by side comparison. My untrained eye has no idea which photo is better.

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Someone, please school me.

We also shared a bread basket that had the yummiest breadsticks inside. I ate, well, all of them.

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My entrée also came with a side of pasta which came out before the meal. I shared because I’m nice like that.

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I’m not a huge pasta fan, but this was pretty tasty. Really, I just like the sauce, so I used my bread to sop it up and left the noodles to dad. He likes everything. Smile

For dinner, I ordered pan-seared jumbo sea scallops served with sweet corn and basil broth, wild mushrooms and white truffle essence, topped with sautéed spinach (totally copied and pasted that from their online menu—my memory isn’t that good!).

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Flash

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No flash

The scallops were really good—cooked perfectly with a nice seared crust and tender inside, not rubbery or overdone. I loved the mushrooms in the broth, too. They weren’t too mushroomy, if that makes sense. Just light and delicious.

After dinner, we headed up the road for the real reason we were in Dearborn—to hear my brother’s band!

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{Further evidence of my lack of photography skills}

Daniel Harrison and the $2 Highway plays a mix of country, pop and Southern rock that has such a fun sound. I love that they mix guitars with bongos—it makes it really unique. They do some covers and some of their own original stuff, but everything has their own twist on it, which I really like. I was so excited to get to go since I haven’t been to see them since last summer!

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My brother bear.

{Yes, I call my brother “Brother” or “Brother Bear” and he calls me “Sister.” Smile}

My brother is actually a really good guitarist. When we were kids and he first started playing, he was abysmal. I mean, really really bad. I hated it. He knew one song, and we heard it over and over again.

My girl, my girl

Don’t lie to me

Tell me where

Did you sleep

Last night

Again and again . . . and again. Ugh. He even told me when I went off to college that I’d taught him that phrases like, “Turn it down!” and “Go away!” can’t possibly be overused. Yeah, we got along so well. Winking smile

But now, it’s really impressive to me that he’s pretty much awesome. I mean, I have no musical skills whatsoever except being a killer singer in the car, but let’s be honest, who isn’t?? I’m a proud sister watching my little bro up on stage!

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Also impressive? They have 860 “likes” on Facebook. I don’t even have half that number of friends on Facebook. Nice work, kids. Nice work.

Today, I’m doing my own version of the Jersey Shore’s GTL. Mine’s RSP—run, smoothie, pool. I think it’s much better. I may also get around to finally unloading my car. I’m running out of things to wear, so I guess it’s probably time.

Do you have siblings? What did they do when you were kids that you hated but now actually like about them?

Seriously?

This is just wrong. On so many levels.

That’s all I have for today. I’m stuck in meeting/traveling purgatory. Here’s hoping to return to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

But seriously. Watch that commercial. Tell me I’m wrong.

Beat

Wow. I am one exhausted kid over here. It’s amazing to me that I can be this tired from being in meetings all day, but here I am, totally wiped out.

My meeting schedule got even crazier from when I shared it the other night, so I’ve been getting my meeting on all day long for the last 2 days. One more day to go, and then I head back to Michigan!

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At least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Honestly, I am just looking forward to being in one place for a while, not traveling and getting back to my routine. I need some normalcy up in here!

After a long day (shake free, thankyouverymuch), I wasn’t up for anything but a glass of my vino and some room service.  I really do like to go out and try new places when I’m traveling, even for work, but tonight was a room service night. Why go out when you already have wine, right?

I’m telling you—everyone should do this. Do you have any idea how nice it is to come “home” to a glass of really good wine when you’re on the road?

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The perfect cool down after a long day. Mmmmm . . .

Not even up for venturing out for dinner, I donned the hotel robe and ordered room service. Incidentally, is it not the best when hotels have robes? I totally rock the robe.

Anyway, I picked out a couple of nibbles from the room service menu and sipped my wine while I waited for them to be sent up to my room.

To start, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with pita bread.

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Just a tiny bit spicy with pillowy, chewy pitas, this was really good with my wine.

Then again, so was my veggie flatbread pizza.

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It wasn’t really a flatbread, but the crust was fairly thin. I loved that they topped it with some mixed greens—I needed some with this dinner!—and the cheese was salty and gooey and perfect.

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Unfortunately, I forgot to ask which veggies were on the pizza, so I was reduced to 5 year old status and picking all of this nastiness off.

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Yep, that’d be asparagus. I tried to eat it—just suck it up, ya know?—but no dice. I don’t even like it a little bit anymore. Too grossed out. Oh well. I like pretty much everything else, so I guess it’s ok if there’s a food or two out there I don’t like.

Please excuse my lack of enthusiasm and sparkle this evening. I am just absolutely beat. Tomorrow, I have 7 straight hours of meetings and then I hit the road to drive part of the way to Michigan. Should be a nice, low-key day. Winking smile

Do you ever get room service?

I never do when I’m traveling for pleasure, but when I’m working, I’m all about the RS.

Shaken, er, Shakin’

This afternoon, just as we finished our 4th meeting of the day (with an office that handles disaster an emergency preparedness, no less!), the building started shaking.

Now I have never experienced an earthquake before, but when you’re on an upper floor in a high rise building and said building starts to move, I’d say that’s a pretty good time to panic.

My boss pretty much threw me into the hallway and down the stairwell as the entire building evacuated at what felt like a snail’s pace. Even when we got out of the building, she and I were both still shaking. Yeah, I’m not all that into my buildings shaking.

Hundreds of people filled the streets outside, conveniently located amongst lots of other high rise buildings. Not wanting to wait around for an aftershock, we high-tailed it down to the National Mall to bask in the monuments while we waited it out.

My phone was (conveniently) dead, but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway as we were thinking more about getting the EF out of there rather than grabbing our stuff. I texted my mom from my co-worker’s phone to tell her we were ok, to which she responded, “Who is this? Wrong number????” Guess she hadn’t caught up with the news just yet. Winking smile

After waiting it out for a bit, we made our way back to the building to see if we could get in to get our stuff. We were in luck because they let us back in to the deathtrap to grab our computers and bags so we had drinking money could head home.

The streets were packed and many blocked off, so we wove our way through the crowds and headed in the direction of the hotel—no metro running after an earthquake, ya know!

Eventually, we made our way to Old Ebbitt Grill, one of DC’s oldest bars, to celebrate the fact that we had survived the DC ‘Quake of 2011! (We’re such marketing geniuses—already bought that domain name and have t-shirts in the works, dontcha know!)

It was almost 4 PM by then, and after the whole shaking thing, plus walking several miles in the heat, I was thirsty.

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Honestly, we all were. I think the group concensus is that we all prefer our ground to remain still, thankyouverymuch.

After relaxing for a while at the bar and enjoying a few beers, my co-worker and I went in search of some sustenance.

We ended up at Cieba, a Latin American restaurant with a pretty stellar menu. To drink, I ordered what amounted to a beer bloody mary.

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It came with a little plastic bull hanging onto the side of the glass. Ole!

We shared a tuna ceviche (which I forgot to snap a picture of), but it was fantastically fresh and had a little kick! Super yummy!

For dinner, I ordered a Crab Tower, which was a ginormous soft shell crab topped with a crab cake and a pineapple Cholula butter. Um . . .

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Incredible. The crab was crunchy on the outside and sweet on the inside, and the crab cake? To die for. Lots of lump crab meat with pretty much no filler. The sauce was sweet and spicy and perfect with the crab. Great comfort food after a long day!

And as you may have noticed, I was brave enough to tell my co-worker about the blog so I took pics of the food! I’m getting a little braver with this whole blog thing, I guess. He was super nice about it and didn’t seem to mind my crazy food photography, so that definitely helped! Smile

Luckily, he also seems to share my sweet tooth and was more than up for sharing a couple of desserts.

Coconut Tres Leches . . . which left a little to be desired.

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Just not all that much going on flavor-wise.

The cinnamon churros with homemade chocolate sauce made up for it, though!

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Deeeee-lish! Crunchy on the outside and soft and creamy inside with a rich chocolate sauce for dipping. I could have eaten about 12 of these.

It was a little over the top, yes, but a good way to end a somewhat rough day.

All I can say is, I’m glad I don’t live in California. I don’t think I could handle the threat of an earthquake all the time. It really freaked me out! I know it wasn’t huge or catastrophic, but it was plenty to scare this little Midwestern girl!

Have you ever experienced an earthquake?

This was my first, and hopefully my last! Yikes!

Traveler

Is this normal?

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Please tell me I am not the only person to bring a bottle of wine along with me while traveling. I mean, why spend $10 on a glass of wine at the hotel bar when I can have really really good wine in my room? I am so super classy. Winking smile

After a kind of sad day today, I definitely needed a good glass of wine tonight. Before I left Richmond, Danielle and I did have a nice lunch at Panera, though.

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Yum. I wish they had the Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad all year round! So freaking good!!! It was fitting that we shared one last Monday meal together before I left since we had a standing date for “Monday Night Dinner” for the first few months that we knew each other. It was kind of a nice little sendoff before my drive up to DC.

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Not thinking about how much I’ll miss this girl!!!

Now, I’m all settled into my hotel and just relaxing before the next few days of work. Basically, I have 3 days of meetings all day, every day. It’s going to be exhausting, but I’ve got my wine to come home to, so I’m sure that’ll take the edge off. Plus, I really like my co-workers so that always helps!

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{I am exhausted just looking at this!}

I’m also planning to be up early every morning to get some running in before work. I know I’ll hate it when the alarm goes off at 5 AM, but I’ll be so glad after a full day of sitting that I got some movement in, so I’m committing to it! This morning, I took myself on a 6 mile run around Danielle’s neighborhood and it was so worth it.

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Tonight, I picked up some dinner from Zoup to enjoy in the hotel room while vegging in front of the TV. I had never had Zoup before, but I wasn’t really in a soup mood so I went for a wrap and salad combo.003

A Sonoma salad

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Mixed greens, gorgonzola, dried cherries and sliced almonds with raspberry vinaigrette

And a Cali Veg Wrap

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Guacamole, cucumbers, tomatoes, provolone cheese, romaine and cucumber/dill tzatziki sauce

I’m pretty sure they forgot the tzatziki sauce on this. Honestly, both were just “meh.” Not bad, but nothing special, either. Maybe I should have had the soup??? Oh well. At least I have wine! Open-mouthed smile

Oh, and just to keep it real . . .

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Isn’t my life fantastically glamorous? I know you’re all jealous!

Do you have any odd travel habits?

Yes, I bring wine, and as evidenced in the photo above, I also requested a fridge in my room. I’m not confessing what’s in it, but I’m fairly certain it solidifies my status as a total nutjob.

A Mixed Bag

It’s my last morning in Richmond . . .

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Later on today I’ll drive up to DC

{while everyone else is working so I miss some of the traffic}

{in my car that is so incredibly packed to the gills}

But that means I’ll have to say goodbye to these people

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And right now I’m feeling really sad about that Sad smile

I know it will be ok . . . there will be phone calls and Skype dates and emails and Facebook. But it won’t be the same. And even though that means something very good for me in a lot of ways, it also makes me sad. Why does life always have to be such a mixed bag?

To combat that, I’m planning on a nice, long run today. Whether it’s on the pavement or treadmill, fast or slow, Richmond or DC, I’m counting on that run for some good endorphins.

How do you cheer yourself up?

I know the run will help, but I might need some other ideas, too!