Books, Daily Happenings, Travel

Back To New Jersey

Hi friends! How are you doing today? How was your Monday? Today is going to feel like a Monday since I’m back to work after a long weekend. Have a fantastic day πŸ™‚ Happy Halloween!

Alex and I figured since it was Monday we should wake up at our normal time of 5:15 am. It was a little hard to wake up but I’m going to chalk that up to not being in our own bed. Once we said goodbye to Boomer (thank you for giving us your bed for the night!!) we headed out.

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Please excuse my partially eaten plate. I was hungry and totally forgot!

We wanted something quick for breakfast before Alex had to go to a quick meeting. Unfortunately we couldn’t find something local and decided either a Waffle House or Cracker Barrel would work. We found the Cracker Barrel first and stopped there. I had the old timer’s breakfast which was two scrambled eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, biscuits and gravy plus grits. I don’t like grits so I didn’t eat those but everything else was pretty good.

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Alex managed to get a third meeting with a developed in Knoxville. Luckily it was at a Starbucks so I could sit there too. Although it did feel a little ridiculous since we walked in separately and pretended to not know each other while I sat across the place. I enjoyed a chai tea latte while reading more of my book. I’m still onΒ “The Nightingale”Β but so close to being done. I highly recommend this book!! I still don’t know how it will end.

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If you’ve been reading from the very beginning back in May, you may recall that I now buy ornaments when I travel places for the Christmas tree. This is something my mom did growing up and I love the idea so I do it too. After the meeting, we drove to downtown Knoxville to try and find an ornament but none of the stores were open before 10 am 😦 We decided to cut our losses and just head to the airport. I had my fingers crossed I would find something there. Alex saved the day when he found a magnet that I’ll tie a ribbon too. It’s funny this happened right before security but I’m not complaining since we actually have something to remember our trip with.

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Our flight was supposed to leave at 12:02 pm so Alex and I figured we should eat something before it since that was lunchtime. The Knoxville airport doesn’t have too many options so we ended up splitting a cinnamon roll from Cinnabon. Was it healthy? Definitely not. Was it good? Heck yes!

New Jersey was having some pretty strong winds so they were delaying flights because of it. We ended up having departing an hour late but it wasn’t too bad. The last 15 minutes or so of the flight were a little bumpy but nothing too bad.

Once we landed, we ended to our car and drove home. We knew that we would not want to leave the house after we got home so we went straight to the grocery store to pick up food. I took a picture of the list before we left for Knoxville so we could remember what we needed. When we got home from there, we unloaded the car, unpacked and did small tidying up around the apartment.

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Neither Alex or I were in the mood to cook plus all of our meat was frozen. The solution for dinner you ask? Chinese takeout. Again, maybe not the healthiest but who really wants to cook after vacation. I had some pork dumplings, chicken and broccoli, rice plus some of the crispy wonton things. I also tried some of Alex’s cold sesame noodles which have a peanut butter sauce on them. They weren’t that bad! I could only eat a small serving of those though.

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Once dinner was cleaned up and leftovers were put away, I prepped overnight oats. While I was doing that, Alex started a fire for us to enjoy. We opened a bottle of Merlot to share (Ya know because we didn’t drink enough over the weekend… (Read: we both drank way to much Saturday night)). We chatted on the couch and enjoyed the fire before heading to bed.

Question of the day: What’s you’re go to item when ordering Chinese? I need something with a little more flavor than chicken and broccoli.Β 

Daily Happenings, Sunday In Pictures, Travel, Weekend

Sunday In Pictures Vol. 3 – Knoxville Edition

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I didn’t mean to not post yesterday but Saturday was gross and rainy in Knoxville. We spent a lot of time lounging around the lake house watching college football and drinking way to much. It’s okay though because that’s what vacation is for right?? Have a great day πŸ™‚

Breakfast of champions is eggs and tea. Not our typical Sunday breakfast of pancakes or waffles.

Alex finished up some school work while I sat by the fire and watched “Gilmore Girls”.

Saying goodbye to the lake.


The restaurant we went to had a massive wall of tequila behind the bar.

For lunch, I had a quesadilla with chicken, black beans, roasted corn, cheese and jalapeΓ±os. It was so good!

A liquor tasting at Knox Whiskey Works, a local distillery. Alex and I each got a flight (4 tastings) and the guy gave us their ninth liquor for free.

Boomer’s parents had a nice spread of food when we arrived at their home.


A burger and pan roasted veggies for dinner.

Question of the day: What did you do this weekend?Β 

Daily Happenings, Travel

Knoxville Day 1

Hi friends! How are you doing today? It’s a bit of a rainy day here in Tennessee but we’re going to make the best of it. Have a wonderful day πŸ™‚

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Friday started off early for me, early as in 4:37 am. I woke up then ready to take on the day for some reason. Maybe it was from my second Charlie horse of the night or maybe it was from my excitement to finally take out trip. Whatever the reason, I figured it wasn’t worth trying to fall back asleep. When the alarm went off at 5:15, Alex and I showered, packed the last little things we needed and headed out the door. We grabbed breakfast sandwiches before heading to the airport. Alex got a sausage, egg and cheese while I got a bacon, egg and cheese. So good and it filled us up before a day of travel.

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Our flight was pretty empty but we ended up getting the whole row to ourselves so we didn’t complain at all. That coupled with an early departure made us pretty happy. When we were boarding, Alex whispered that John Stossel, from Fox, was sitting in first class. Since the flight was pretty empty, getting off was a breeze. We grabbed out rental car and headed to find lunch. While waiting to board, I told Alex how I was mad I forgot to get a pack of gum. When we got in the rental car, I looked down and saw an unopened pack of gum on the floor!

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Alex managed to set up business meetings so while we drove to the first one we came across a Subway. Yes we realized how weird it was to get something on vacation that we could have at home but we weren’t sure what else we would find and it’s healthy right? I got a turkey sandwich with pepperjack cheese, spinach, cucumbers, pickles, lettuce, chipotle southwest sauce and mustard. It hit the spot.

While Alex had his meetings, I read my book on a bench in a little town center. It was an absolutely beautiful day so I had no problem getting in some more reading. Although I will say that when I booked these tickets back in July, I didn’t plan on having him set up meetings. Someone had some other plans when he found out his present…

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After his meetings, we met his friend Boomer and girlfriend Dana atΒ Bearden Beer Market. It’s a bit of a whole in the wall beer market and garden. We grabbed a few beers and sat outside to talk for a couple hours. I had a few different craft beers that were all delicious. I don’t remember the names of them or the breweries unfortunately 😦

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We drove to downtown Knoxville to grab dinner. We put our names on a list for dinner and then headed to another cool bar. It was in an old church converted into a small concert hall and restaurant. The views were so cool and overlooked Market Square which is a pedestrian mall with a lot of restaurants and shops. While at this bar, we met up with one of Boomer’s friends and his girlfriend.

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Our table was ready at Stock & BarrelΒ so the 6 of us headed over to be seated. We started off with fried pickles (because last time Alex and I had those ended really well…) before ordering our food. I got the steakhouse burger which had cheddar cheese, crunchy string onions and steak sauce on it. It was so good and was a good way to end our first night in town.

When dinner was done, we said goodbye to Boomer’s friend and girlfriend before heading to Boomer’s lake house. His parents were so gracious and offered up their lake house for the weekend. The four of us were exhausted and after getting the lay of the land, headed to bed.

Question of the day: What are you doing today? I hope the weather is better by you!

 

Books, Daily Happenings, Recipes, Travel

Finally Home + Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Happy Saturday! Alex and I have big plans to stay home, relax, and nurse him back to health. Poor guy has been dying all week from a cold and I feel bad I wasn’t home to help. Luckily, I’m back and can’t wait to do nothing. Have a fantastic day πŸ™‚

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Yesterday started off with a 25 minute run on the treadmill. Running on the treadmill twice this week has reminded me of one reason why I don’t belong to a gym – I can’t run in a straight line. I know that sounds ridiculous but it’s true! I move a little to each side and have been in danger of falling off on multiple occasions. Running in the hotel gym also made it feel like 23896532 degrees since I swear there was no moving air in the room.

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I got ready quickly and finished packing before heading down to breakfast. I was hungry and didn’t want to be late for work since I needed to check out before leaving so I didn’t get a picture of my breakfast. My meal included an omelette, wheat toast and fruit. I missed fruit this week! Then it was time to say goodbye to my beautiful hotel 😦 I was definitely sad to leave because I absolutely loved the building. I will not complain at all if I need to go back to Michigan for anything as long as I can stay there.

Because of my flight, I was only in the office for about 2 hours before heading to the airport. It was a nice way to end the first week by going over a few things with my boss and figuring out that security mailed my badge back to New Jersey. My boss and I were so confused so hopefully it’ll be in my new building Monday. The drive to the airport was uneventful and I was finally able to listen to Russel Dickerson’s album. I love “Blue Tacoma” on it!

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The flight back was a little delayed due to some wind at Newark. I got nervous when the gate agent announced the delay because it was for an unspecified amount of time. We started boarding 20 minutes later and still arrived early so that was a travel win!

Alex requested some chicken noodle soup for dinner so I headed to the grocery story to pick up a few ingredients that we didn’t have on hand. When I got back, I unpacked aka put everything into the laundry basket, cleaned a bit, and chopped up the veggies for the soup.

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I had never made chicken noodle soup before so I was a little nervous going into it. Thanks to Google, I was able to compare a few different recipes and then I threw together my own. Why I was nervous, I’ll never know because it was so easy! Alex and I both had a bowl and a half and it really filled us up. Plus I made a big batch so we have leftovers for later this weekend.

We spent the rest of the night, hanging out on the couch and watching “Burn Notice”. This is probably what we’ll be doing all weekend but I have no complaints.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

What you’ll need

Half of a white onion (I froze the other half)

3 gloves of garlic, finely chopped

3 large carrots chopped

Half of a celery stalk (keep the tops with the leaves)

3-4 chicken breasts

Salt

Pepper

Basil

Oregano

Egg noodles

4 cans of chicken broth

Directions

Chop the celery and carrots and set aside in a bowl.

Chop up the onion (I made large chunks so I could pick it out of my bowl) and the garlic.

Add a small amount of olive oil in pot. Saute the onion until it gets tender, 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

While the onion is sauteing, cut up chicken into bite size pieces.

Add in the chicken, celery, carrots and chicken broth to pot. Stir. Put in basil, oregano (I used dried for both), salt and pepper to desire flavor.

Simmer for about 20 minutes until the veggies are tender and chicken in cooked.

Add in half a bag of egg noodles and cook for 15-20 minutes until the noodles are tender.

Place in a bowl and enjoy πŸ™‚

Question of the day: What is your favorite type of soup to make? I want to fully capitalize on the cold months and learn a few more soup recipes.

Daily Happenings, Restaurant, Travel

My Brain Is Fried

Happy hump day friends! I hope you are all having a good week thus far. Have a great day πŸ™‚

I’ve been really enjoying waking up early and it rushing in the morning so I decided to wake up at my normal time instead of sleeping in. Don’t worry though, I laid in the comfy hotel bed instead of jumping right up πŸ™‚ I got ready then headed to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. How cute is the tea setting?? I love the rock candy instead of normal sugar. I got what they called the country breakfast which was two scrambled eggs, potatoes, chicken sausage and toast. So much food and I couldn’t even eat half. 

Work was a lot to say the least. Starting a new job is basically information overload so I knew this would be the case. I’m not even going to pretend that I regained all of it. I don’t think anyone could. My boss, the other packaging specialist and I stopped midday for a lunch break. I had a Monterey Jack chicken salad. It was delicious! There was romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, a little bacon, cucumbers and Monterey Jack cheese. I used a little salsa as the dressing which gave it a good spice to it. 

After work I needed a break so I went back to the hotel for a bit. I had a call with my coach about the 10 mile race I have this weekend. We planned a race strategy and I’m so excited. I waked to a restaurant that was a few blocks away from my hotel to get a little exercise. The downtown area has scarecrows set up along the street that have been decorated by local businesses and groups. The cow one is my favorite!

The restaurant, Penny Black Grill and Tap, had a fire pit outside that I sat at. It was so nice! The pit was pretty relaxing and set a great mood while I read and waited for my food. I gotten a barbecue chicken flatbread with Brussels sprouts on the side. So tasty! 

I walked back to the hotel and decided to read a few chapters in the hotel’s library. I feel like the hotel used to be an old prep school or something like that. How pretty is this room?

Traveling always makes my skin freak out and since I’m dealing with acne right now (just keeping it real) I wanted to try and combat the effect of travel. Sheet mask for the win! While it sat on my face, I watched “Shark Tank” and “Chopped Junior”. 

Question of the day: Tell me anything! My brain is so fried and I’d love a break from work talk πŸ™‚