Category Archives: Travel

WIAW #19: Addicted

Halfway through the week!

I’m definitely looking forward to going home tonight.  The forecast seems promising so far in both Louisville and Chicago.  I’ve had between 2-5 hour delays in my last 4 audits sooo I’m really hoping things stay on schedule!

What I Ate Wednesday

Since it’s Wednesday, it’s time for another WIAW post.  If you’re not familiar, you can read about it here.

Breakfast

After a nice and sweaty Crossfit session, I grabbed something to eat from the little coffee shop at the hotel while I got ready for the day.

iced coffee banana barney butter

Iced latte and a banana, plus a packet of Barney Butter almond butter I brought along in my suitcase.  I normally drink my coffee sans cream or sugar so the latte was a nice change!  Creamy and delicious 🙂

hotel breakfast

Once I was showered and ready, I headed down to the hotel restaurant for a real breakfast.  Omelet with mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, homestyle potatoes, and biscuits.

Lunch

After working for a few hours, my coworkers and I broke for lunch.

panera thai chicken salad

And I was happy the group decided on my favorite, Panera!  Same as usual – thai chopped chicken salad and whole wheat baguette on the side.  Plus that delicious new Hibuscus iced tea I had last time on my audit.

Afternoon Snack

By the time we got back to the hotel, each of us went back to our rooms to regroup for about an hour or so before meeting back up for dinner.

yogurt apple nut mix

I played some games on my iPad while snacking on this yogurt apple nut mix

handful of yogurt mix

Butter toffee peanuts, yogurt raisins, honey roast sesame sticks, honey peanuts, almonds, and dried apples.

fairway solitaire

Sooo lets get back to the games I was playing on my iPad… my friends, Darcy and Lauren, recommended this game, Fairway Solitaire.  They warned me it was addicting and were they ever serious!?  I’ve been playing it every spare minute on this trip!

photo (1)

It’s also maddening!  This little gopher laughs at you when you play poorly! But I still can’t stop!

Dinner

Finally, I took a break and met up with the other two for dinner.  We headed to the Fourth Street area of downtown Louisville and settled on another brewery called Gordon Biersch.

mediterranean chicken gordon biersch

I ordered the Mediterranean Chicken entree, consisting of grilled chicken breast with a bruschetta topping, a side of sauteed veggies and jasmine rice.  It was quite tasty!

Bedtime Snack

planters heart healthy mix

Back at the hotel, I continued playing Fairway Solitare and sometime in the midst of my games, I was hungry again so I snacked on some mixed nuts.  I played this maddening game until I physically couldn’t keep my eyes open and called it a night!  Can we say addicted??

***

Have a great rest of the day!

Crossfit Louisville East

Hello from Kentucky!

Two of my coworkers and I are currently out of town for an audit in Louisville.  We flew in yesterday afternoon and had a few hours to relax before heading to dinner.

louisville tortoise

On the way to find a restaurant, we pull up to a stop light and see this creature!

close up tortoise

Ohh ya know, just a guy taking his GIANT TORTOISE for a walk.  No big deal.

WEIRD.

against the grain

Anyways, we stumbled on this brewery and smokehouse, Against the Grain, which is located in a section of an old, renovated train station.

pulled pork at against the grain

I ordered the pulled pork sandwich which also came with coleslaw and their house barbeque sauce (left).  They also offered several other kinds of sauces so I chose a vinegar-based sauce called Carolina (right) for some variety.  Everything was delicious!

Crossfit Louisville East

Since I don’t have to be at work until 9:30 am this morning, I decided to drop in a local Crossfit box to get a workout in.

crossfit louisville east

Generally, Crossfit gyms allow people to visit while out of town without being a member.  I had the choice to pay a small fee or buy a shirt and workout for free.

crossfit louisville east shirt

Definitely went for the shirt!  🙂

WOD

Today was their “rest day” which I later found out was anything but!  I now realize the coach meant no heavy lifting.  We started off with a warm-up of jogging and sprints.  Although my foot is still a bit sore from the half marathon a few weeks ago, I decided to try running a bit and good news, no pain!  🙂

Then came “Annie” consisting of double unders and ab-mat situps.  The exercises are split up into 5 sets of 50-40-30-20-10 reps each.  (i.e. 50 DUs, 50 sit-ups, 40 DUs, 40 sit-ups, etc.)

AND THEN came the actual WOD:

  • 10 wall balls
  • 5 burpees
  • 10 kettle bell swings

10 rounds each

I was a sweaty mess at the end but as always, I felt amazing!!  Now time to get ready for work.  Have a fantastic day!

WIAW #17: Akron, OH Audit

Halfway through the week already!  Since I was traveling for work on Monday and Tuesday, the last two days flew by for me…. well, kinda.  I’ll get to that in a minute!

What I Ate WednTuesday

I wasn’t originally going to do one of these posts this week because I figured it would be more of the same old hotel breakfast, sandwich, protein bar, etc. stuff I normally eat on audits.  And although there was some of that, I also enjoyed some REALLY good stuff and wanted to share!

Breakfast

Welp, here’s my standard hotel breakfast as of late.

hotel breakfast

Scrambled eggs with hot sauce, banana and peanut butter, and a coffee.

Lunch

We started our audit at 8 am and were finished in less than 2 hours.  Normally, that’s great but our flight didn’t leave until 7 pm and there were no available flights to switch.  😦  Soo, two options: wait around until 7 pm, or drive from Akron, OH and be home by 5 pm.  Neither option was ideal but we chose the latter and hopped on the road right away.

A couple hours and lots of excruciatingly painful construction traffic later, we pulled off into a ‘service center’ aka truck stop.

panera lunch

Nicest truck stop ever!  Along with a Starbucks and a few other fast-er food places, they had a really nice Panera, offering their entire normal menu.

I ordered the Thai Chopped Chicken Salad (of course!) with a whole grain baguette on the side and their new hibiscus iced tea.  I normally get their acai berry tea but this new flavor definitely trumps it!

panera chocolate chip cookie

While ordering my lunch, they pulled out two sheets of freshly baked ginormous chocolate chip cookies.  As if the smell wasn’t tempting enough, the lady taking my order offered me one for 99 cents.  Sold!

cookie gone

I fully intended on saving it for a snack during our next 4-5 hour stretch of driving but when I got in the car, I couldn’t resist letting a warm chocolate chip cookie just stare at me and so I devoured it.

Little did I know Panera offers one of the best chocolate chip cookies EVER.  Seriously, so so so good!  Slightly crispy edges and soft gooey chocolately middle… a little slice of heaven if you ask me! 🙂

Afternoon Snack

banana nut quest bar

The rest of the afternoon seemed like an eternity, but we finally made it back.  I still had another 45 minute leg of my trip to get home so I snacked on a Banana Nut Muffin Quest Bar.  This is the 3rd or 4th flavor I’ve tried, and I absolutely LOVE these things.  Perfect for on the go!

Dinner

Since I got home much earlier than originally planned, Dave and I went out for dinner to Even Flow in downtown Geneva.

autumn salad

I started out with the Autumn Salad, made of mixed greens, fresh pairs, candied walnuts, feta cheese and maple vinaigrette.

beef short rib minis

Followed by the Stout Braised Short Rib Minis and a couple glasses of sauvignon blanc.

Both items were tasty but Dave’s meal was the best.  Unfortunately, I didn’t snap a pic but he got the Crispy Beer Braised Pork Belly BBQ Sandwich with house made fries.  UNBELIEVABLY good.  He shared a few bites with me, and I was jealous! 😉

dave and mac 2

Back at home, we relaxed outside on the porch since the weather was incredible.

dave and mac

Mac was infatuated with all the animal noises going on at dusk – birds, crickets, frogs, you name it.  Truly the sound of summer!

frog

Right before heading in to call it a night, Dave spotted a frog hanging around near us!  I swear we discover a new animal, insect, bird, etc. every week.  Guess that’s what happens when you move to the burbs!

Every Vacation Has A Story

Happy Friday!

So I have a CRAZY story from our trip to Florida to share, but I must add a disclaimer, if you have a weak stomach, are currently eating, or will be eating in the near future, you might want to come back a little later!  Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! 😉

So after Dave and I finished up wedding stuff in Clearwater on Friday, we headed down to Sarasota to meet our friends, Julie and Will, for the remainder of the weekend.

On Friday night, we had Mexican for dinner and kept things somewhat low key at night.

julie and siesta key beach

On Saturday morning, Julie and I laid out at the beach all day while the boys golfed.  When they returned, we all took a quick power nap before heading out for some Italian food at Gabbiano’s.

So here goes my story…

We were seated in the restaurant’s outdoor area where the tables were covered by a wooden structure, much like a pergola, and had plastic flaps to keep the wind out.  As we were finishing up our meals and chatting away, something fell from the ceiling onto my chest and then proceeded to drop into the napkin across my lap…

My initial thought?  A rat.  As I began to freak out and threw my napkin to the floor, I starting thinking there is no way a rat just fell from the sky.

My next thought?  The fake decorative grapes that lined the wooden pergola.

I hesitated for a split-second, looked up, and my worst guess was confirmed!  Another rat was hanging from the corner, both hind legs and tail dangling above me and was nearly ready to fall after his friend who had already dropped into my lap!!!

From what I can recall (it all became a blur at that point!), I jumped up, knocked over a couple chairs, and booked it out of the restaurant!  Needless to say, our entire meal was on the house, but seriously, how gross is that?? Blahhh!

sarasota free ride

Ughhh okay so anyways, (still gives me the creeps) after several waves of nausea, I was finally able to walk it off a bit.  We headed over to  Captain Curt’s to listen to some karaoke – transportation courtesy of one of Sarasota’s “Free Rides”. (<– they have several people who constantly drive around on golf carts and little cars to give rides to local places, free of charge!  Such a great idea!)

dave and i sarasota

julie will dave me karaoke bar

All the singers were incredible!  Far from what I usually expect on karaoke night.

Sunday

will julie me dave siesta key beach

After sleeping in late Sunday morning, the four of us took a walk on the beach…

dave will sarasota pool

…and laid by the pool.  Nice and relaxing!

grilling out tiki hut sarasota

For dinner, we grilled out by the tiki huts at the condo building.  Perfect way to wrap up our vacation! 🙂

Thanks to Julie who took most of the pictures!!

Update:  I just got to work and look at what was on my desk….

rat

Oh my goshhhh I jumped back right away!!! Darn coworker….

WIAW #11: All Over the Place

Andddd I’m back from St. Louis!  Overall, it was a quick trip in and out.  Just how I like it!

Yesterday’s meals were all over the place… literally.

Breakfast

I woke up bright and early to fit in a run before leaving the hotel.

Snowball Bite

I brought along my last snowball energy bite and popped it in my mouth on my way down to the workout room.

hotel gym

The hotel workout facility was a bit cramped but it worked out okay.  Occasionally, the only treadmill or cardio machine at some hotels seem very unstable… borderline unsafe.  But ya just never know until you get there.  Fortunately, they had a pretty decent treadmill to use so I was a happy camper.

hotel breakfast

For the hotel breakfast yesterday, I chose a banana, ham slices and these weird little omelette things which ended up being kinda sketchy.  But since I was already back up in my room, I just doused them in hot sauce and everything was A-OK!

Mid Morning Snack

am snack

Our audit was super easy and straightforward so we were done in practically no time at all.  I gobbled up this little energy bar from my Daily Dose of Green box on the way to the airport.

Lunch

lunch

We had some extra time before our flight took off so we sat down for lunch at a restaurant near our gate.  I ordered the Southwest Chicken and Avocado salad.  It tasted alright since I was pretty hungry but nothing to write home about… pretty mediocre airport food.

Afternoon Snack

snack

During our flight, I snacked on a banana, honey roasted peanuts ,and sparkling water while squeezing in some more studying.

Dinner

On my way home from the airport, I scooped up this little guy from doggie daycamp.

mac car

Soo happy to see my buddy!!

dinner1

Thanks to a little prep work earlier this week, dinner was super easy!  I reheated a grilled chicken breast and some sweet potato fries and threw together a quick salad.

dinner2

Like I said earlier, my meals and snacks were all over the place yesterday but ending at home sweet home! 🙂

Schlafly’s Bottleworks

Can I please tell you how much I already cannot wait for it to be Friday?  Of course because it’s the weekend but also I will be done with my Economics class for the semester!  Yay!

economics

This studying thing is getting kind of old.  It seems every free moment I have is spent either studying or thinking about how I should be studying.  Ughh.

IMG_0983

I’m on another audit this week.. in St. Louis this time and only for 1 day so I get to go home tonight.

IMG_0985

Upon arrival, I was offered an upgrade to a fairly large suite which I, of course, gladly accepted!  I guess it’s a perk for traveling so much over the years.

IMG_0984

Although I have to say the oddest part about this suite was this giant Jacuzzi tub practically smack dab in the middle of my room.  It wasn’t a bad thing… just felt rather strange being located right next to my bed, ya know?

Dinner

Once we were settled in our hotel rooms, we met back downstairs and headed out to grab some dinner.

schlaflys bottleworks

Following the suggestion of the hotel front desk agent, we ate at Schlafly’s Bottleworks which is a large brewhouse with a restaurant attached.

dinner

For my entree, I ordered the bone-in Hefeweizen marinated grilled pork chop with a side of roasted brussel sprouts.  Both were outstanding!

side salad

The pork chop normally comes with a side of roasted brown sugar pecan sweet potatoes, but for some reason, I just wasn’t feeling the sweet potatoes last night.  I replaced the potatoes with the field greens salad topped with goat cheese, sliced almonds, croutons and a vanilla vinaigrette.

Of course, I also had to try one of the Schlafly’s beers so after sampling a couple varieties, I settled on their Kolsch golden ale.  Crisp and refreshing!

I left nice and full and to be honest, ready for some sleep!  Not exactly the best meal to have when you need to be productive after a long day.  Let’s just say I didn’t get too much studying done afterwards! 😉

Not a Bad Day Afterall

Yesterday was a crazy Monday! For starters, I’m supposed to be in St. Louis right now for an audit, but everything seemed to keep changing at the last minute and consequently, I’m staying home this week after all! And I don’t mind one bit! 🙂

For the record, it’s not that I hate auditing or my job or anything like that, but after traveling for 5 years, I’m just simply sick of being away from home. Not to mention the countless hours I’ve spent sitting in airports, waiting for delayed flights, etc. so I was more than thrilled!

After a stressful morning yesterday trying to accomplish 1,000 little tasks in the matter of a few hours, a coworker and I headed to the airport. While waiting at the gate, we checked our return flight home originally scheduled this afternoon and saw a “Cancelled” status.

cancelled flight

I made a few phone calls back to my manager and our travel agent, and we ended up making an executive decision to reschedule the trip entirely due numerous already-cancelled flights and the potentially severe winter storm headed towards Chicago.

weather

Although we would have been able to get to St. Louis with no problem, the likelihood of getting back today is slim-to-none, and it would have been a mess trying to get back on Wednesday as well, all coupled with the fact I estimated our audit would take 3 hours or less.  Definitely not worth it!

However, the only catch was our luggage had already been tagged, scanned and bound for Lambert-St Louis International Airport. Nooo!

no luggage

We spoke to the United Airlines Baggage Claim lady and she filed a report to re-route our bags back to Chicago on the next flight which was either around 5:30 pm or 6:40 pm last night.  As of this morning, the automated customer service reports:

searching for bag

Well, that’s just fantastic.  Hopefully, it winds up on a return flight this morning before the snow storm hits so I can pick it up.  Air-dried hair: not the best look.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

On the Bright Side

Despite being pretty flustered yesterday and a bit out of sorts this morning without my usual gear to get ready, I still had a pretty great day.

Flowers 2

For one, I’ve had these flowers for over a week and a half and last night, I realized there is not one wilting or dying petal in the bunch! Now that may not seem all that impressive, but I am awful at keeping things alive so for spending $3.99 at Jewel, that’s something to be excited about!

Girl Scout Cookies

Secondly, It’s Girl Scout cookie season! There was a nice little delivery of my 4 favorite types of cookies that I had ordered a while ago. It was delicious surprise after a long day!

Finally, the very best part about yesterday was being able to pick up my lil sidekick before heading home.

Mac

He was an extremely sleepy pup from spending the entire day at daycamp playing with the other dogs, so he was more than ready to hunker down and snuggle when we arrived home. And after a long day of (not) traveling, I was completely on the same page!