Par’s Picks – 23

It’s been mooooonths since my last Par’s Picks post.  Whoops!  I was totally in the groove for a while, and then I just lost it.  So many articles, so little time!

Well, I’m back in the groove and hope to be semi-consistent about sharing my favorite recent(ish) reads. 

With that, I present to you a new installment of Par’s Picks [#23]!

Health & Fitness

How to Survive Sitting All Day

11 Most Common Workout Questions Answered

Why I Won’t Eat a Quest Bar

Life & Self

Thank You, Mark Zuckerberg, For Using Your Platform to Talk About Miscarriage

How to Know If You’re Working (and Living) With Purpose

Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness

10 Epiphanies You Should Have By the Time You’re 40 – If not sooner!

Will You Prove Yourself Right?

Mindy Kaling’s Guide to Killer Confidence

Why I run my business with love (and that’s ok)

22 Habits That Will Make Your Life a Little More Peaceful Each Day

Book Club…Party of One

Food

LIGHT AND HEALTHY PEANUT SAUCE NOODLES UNDER 275 CALORIES

Fiery baked eggs in spicy arrabiatta

Healthy Greek Yogurt Berry Tart

3 INGREDIENT FLOURLESS PEANUT BUTTER NUTELLA COOKIES

Pesto-Parmesan Baked Tomatoes

Any favorite recent reads?  Link to them in the comments!

Weekend Recap – The Parental Unit Visits

My parents came down for a quick visit this weekend.  And because they were only with us for less than 48 hours, we packed in as much as we could!

FRIDAY

My flight out of Chicago was at 6:30 pm, which meant that I got into Tampa around 10:15 pm.  Needless to say, by the time we got home, I was exhausted.  I pretty much went straight to bed and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow!

Quick side note – I got to use my TSA pre-check status on Friday!  You guys.  It was freaking awesome.  While the regular security line was super long, the pre-check line took about five minutes (if that).  For someone who hates to fly, this little perk made a usually frustrating experience quite bearable! 

Not only did I fly through security, I also got to relax in the Admirals Club with my coworker Ivette.  Ivette has status on American, and I got to tag along since we had an hour or so to burn before our flights!

SATURDAY

My parents were due to get in around 1 pm on Saturday, so we got up and got to work.  Vishnu and I tag teamed cleaning the apartment and washing two loads of laundry. I also made a quick trip to TJs to stock up some essentials for the week. 

When my parents arrived, I had lunch ready for us to eat – stir-fry with tofu, soba noodles, and a peanut butter lime sauce!  One of our all time favorites!  Luckily, they enjoyed it too!

In between lunch and dinner, we just hung out, talked, and watched TV.

For dinner, we went to a place called The Avenue because I was once again in the mood for a burger!  My mom and I ended up sharing a mac n’ cheese veggie burger (a veggie patty topped with a scoop of mac n’ cheese).  In addition to their own burgers, my dad and Vishnu each got a Stella.  They were then asked to pose for a picture!

The Avenue 1

While we ate our delicious burgers, we listened to an amazing live band play fun songs, both old and new!  Get this – they played “Get Low” by Lil Jon and the East Side Boys…but acoustically!  AMAZING!

Dan Orlando Music

SUNDAY

Sunday was beach day!  We headed to Madeira Beach a little after noon for a few hours in the sun.  As you all know, I’ve been yearning for a day at the beach for a few weeks now, and I finally got it!  So much fun!

Beach Day 2

My dad was like a fish – once he set foot in the ocean, he didn’t want to leave!

Beach Day 1

Beach Day 3

Sunday also included some dahi puri for me (crispy puffs filled with potatoes, peas, yogurt, and sweet and spicy chutneys.  And for everyone else, Mediterranean food!

Dahi Puri

And of course, it wouldn’t be a day in St. Pete/Tampa without some rain!

And just like that, we’re back to the grind – my parents are back in Atlanta, and Vishnu and I are gearing up for another week and a new rotation (ER)!

Did you have a good weekend?

Chicago – Food and Fun

I’ve been looking forward to recapping my trip all week.  And now that it’s time to do just that, I’m not feeling very wordy!  Funny how that works.  I’ll try my best!

One note before I share more – my photos kind of suck because I wasn’t focused on taking great pictures, just creating great memories!  And I apologize if you’ve already seen these pictures via my Instagram

FOOD

RPM

RPM - Chicago

This was my third time dining at RPM (first time and second time), and it just keeps getting better.  Looking back, we probably ordered a little too much food, but it was all so delicious!  You really can’t go wrong here.  Everything is just so fresh and well made, which makes the higher price point totally worth it in my opinion.  This is a MUST visit Chicago restaurant!

Native Foods Café

Native Foods Cafe - Chicago

My coworker Thea and I ate at Native Foods Café a few times when I was in Chicago last September.  It’s super close to our office, and the food is so tasty!  This time around we shared the nachos and an order of sweet potato fries.  A few of our other coworkers joined us for lunch and absolutely loved the food as well.  It packs quite the punch for a vegan restaurant!

Roti

Roti - Chicago

On Wednesday our team hosted a lunch for some of the other teams in our organization, and we catered the meal from a place called Roti.  Everything is very flavorful, especially the hummus.  So creamy and rich…LOVE!

Osteria Via Stato

Osteria via Stato - Chicago

On Wednesday night we had our big team dinner at Osteria Via Stato, a local Italian restaurant.  Because of the size of our group, we had prix fixe menu, and even then, all of the food I tried was delicious – salted ciabatta bread with roasted garlic marinated in balsamic vinegar (MY FAVORITE!), crispy polenta, spring pasta with veggies, farro risotto (second favorite!), and the list goes on.  I can’t wait to bring Vishnu back here because I know he’d love it!

Little Goat Diner

Little Goat Diner - Chicago

On Thursday evening I took a break from team stuff and made dinner plans with my friends Ankita and Rena.  We went to Little Goat Diner in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago.  The food was fantastic!  Some of the items we ordered were comfort food “ish”, while others were innovative and unique.  But everything was really fresh and bold.  I will be back Little Goat!

FUN

Cubs game

Cubs game

My London coworkers wanted to experience American baseball, so a bunch of us went to a Cubs (vs. Brewers) game on Tuesday evening.  It was so fun seeing them get excited with the rest of the crowd, and surprisingly, they got the gist of the game fairly quickly.  I had to explain a few things like stealing and bases loaded, but overall, everyone really enjoyed themselves!

Fireworks

Fireworks - Chicago

Every Wednesday and Saturday night during the summer, the city of Chicago does fireworks by Navy Pier.  Because of my coworker Toni’s husband, we got to watch them from the rooftop of one of the buildings on the lakefront.  Amazing!

Well, that’s all I have in terms of a recap.  I did go down a slightly wordy path…oops!  That was bound to happen though, especially considering how packed and full this week was!

I head home today and can’t wait to see Vishnu!!  AND we have some very special guests visiting this weekend…my parents!  Yay! 

Cheers to the freakin’ weekend!

Pink by Ruchi Trunk Shows

You guys!  Chicago is the BEST summertime city.  The weather is perfect, the streets are buzzing with great energy, and everyone is in a fun mood.  I can’t wait to live here.  Of course, I’ll figure out the winters when the time comes, but for now, I’m going to relish in the fact that this will be my summer for the next 4-5 years!  Woo hoo!

With that being said, I have a fun overview post coming on Friday.  In the meantime, Ruchi is back and sharing more about her fabulous business.  Take it away, Ruch!!

* * * * *

I cannot believe how quickly my time is flying by here.  It always does (because we’re clearly having so much fun), but it’s crazy how fast our trip comes to an end.  I’m a little more than halfway through mine, and my husband Jai leaves today to go back :(

One of the reasons I think my trips fly by is because I’m also working when I’m here.  It’s not really work though – it’s like fun work.  I set-up and take down pop-up stores (temporary Pink by Ruchi clothing shops – like your own private boutique), host trunk shows and meet with clients one-on-one as well.  Between trying to spend time with family, meet up with friends, cross off the personal to-dos on both of our lists and my Pink by Ruchi responsibilities, it becomes quite a hectic and fruitful trip.

trunkshow3

trunkshow2

Some of my designs and accessories being displayed

I try to come up with a new idea each time and pair my trunk shows with another product or brand.  For the last 3 years or so, I’ve been working with various Stella & Dot local representatives and combining my clothing with jewelry – I know, great combination – what every girl wants in one place.  This has always worked very nicely, and it allows me to make new contacts as well (which is extremely important in this business).

trunkshow1

Some lovely customers shopping

I am so excited about my idea this year, and I hope we have a great turnout.  I have decided to team up with a brand of make-up artists to allow women to treat themselves to a fun evening (or day) of make-up and then shop for clothing, too!  The artists come out to my location, set-up all of their products and give clients a one-on-one session where they also teach them how to apply.  I mean, being completely honest here, if I were not the one setting this up and got invited, I’d be there in a second.  How fun!  I totally need to learn how to apply makeup and having a professional show me what to do – there’s nothing better than that.  Mix in clothing, and I’m sold!

It’s always nice to try out new ideas – they don’t always work out, but you never know until you try and put in that 100% effort.  I’m already playing around with ideas for next year – I know, I’m totally crazy!  Finish one first, right?!

If any of you are in the Atlanta area and would like to stop by either Thursday night or Friday during the day, please message in the comments – I can pass on the details and get you scheduled!

trunkshow4

Always keep room for snacks!

Side note for me – I’ll have to make sure the women hit the clothes first AND THEN the make-up!  Ohhh, the details! :)

Hope to see you!

Thanks for sharing, Ruch!  I wish I was in Atlanta right now. Smile  Would love to check out some of your pieces and get a personal makeup consultation!  Maybe next time!

Thanks for reading, everyone  Happy Wednesday!

Weekend Recap…

…that includes too many things to name in the title!

Another weekend, another recap!  Also, as I mentioned in my no added sugar challenge post, I’m in Chicago for work this week.  I love this city in the summer.  There’s truly nothing like it!

FRIDAY

I only worked until lunch on Friday since Vishnu and I had our TSA pre-check appointments in the early afternoon.  The “interviews” themselves took about five minutes each.  Actually getting to the airport was the real pain because of an accident and onlooker delays.

Since we were already in Tampa, we went to the mall to see if we could find any good deals.  Guess what…no deals!  I did get a new-to-me BB cream at Sephora though (will share more once I’ve tested it out a bit).  We also stopped by Nordstrom Rack where I found a beautiful woven dress that can be dressed up or down and will transition from summer to fall quite nicely I think.

When we got home from the mall, Vishnu asked if I would be interested in going to see the new Mission Impossible movie.  Since Reshma gave it two thumbs up, I was not only down but kind of excited!  Mind you, Vishnu’s been anticipating this movie for quite some time now.  How do I know?  Because he showed me the online trailer five times in the last two months! 

If you’re looking for a fun action movie to end the summer with, this is it!  I may not be the biggest Tom Cruise fan, but boy can he act!  AND Vishnu told me that he did most of the stunts himself.  Crazy!  I also loved the humor that was mixed in with all the action, particularly any scene with Benji!

SATURDAY

On Saturday morning, I went to TJs per the usual except this time I didn’t come back with tons of stuff.  Since I’m gone through the end of the week, I picked up a few prepared/prepackaged foods for Vishnu.  Before most longer trips, I try to make him something to eat for the week before I head out (lasagna, chili, etc.), but I didn’t prepare the way I usually do so Trader Joe’s to the rescue.  Tamales, chicken lasagna, and pizza will have to do this week!

Other to dos on our Saturday agenda included cleaning, a work out, de cluttering my makeup stash (i.e. throwing away a few old products that I held on to “just in case”), and packing.

We also met up with one of Vishnu’s co-interns and his girlfriend for dinner at Stillwaters TavernApparently the restaurant just opened a month or so ago.  I can tell it’s going to be a go to place for a lot of people because the food and the beer selection were both on point. 

I stuck with water as my drink of choice and ordered a house made vegetarian burger and fries as my main.  For some reason, I was craving a veggie burger all day, and this one delivered.  The patty itself was full of flavor (I think the main ingredient was black beans), and the toppings included feta, tzatziki sauce and pickled onions.  I honestly could’ve ate a bowl of just those onions.  They were perfectly sweet and tangy!  And the ketchup that came with the fries was a little spicy and added the perfect kick.  Craving quenched!

Stillwaters Tavern

As an aside, the chicken dish Vishnu ordered came with jalapeno cheddar bread pudding.  Um, how good does that sound!?  Too bad it was wedged between two pieces of chicken. Sad smile  I really wanted to try it!  Next time I may get it as a side.

After dinner, Shaz, AJ’s girlfriend, asked if we wanted to stop by the gelato place next door.  No worries, I didn’t cheat on my challenge.  While every got a cup of gelato, I sipped on a no sugar added latte.  But you better believe we are going back to this place in 20 days!  Some of the flavors looked and sounded absolutely delicious. 

SUNDAY

Our Sunday started way earlier than we wanted at 4:15 am because of my crack of dawn flight.  I promised myself (and Vishnu) that I won’t book early morning flights anymore unless absolutely necessary. 

Anyway, we got to the airport with plenty of time for me to check my bag and get through security.  Or so we thought!  The security line was unbelievably long.  At one point when I looked back, it had started to wrap around the back of the airport!  I couldn’t help but wish that our pre-check appointment one week earlier!  It was so bad that they closed the regular lanes where you go through the normal TSA process and opened up three pre-check lanes where you keep your shoes on and don’t have to take out liquids or electronics.  That was the only way to get everyone through.  Luckily, I made it to my gate with a few minutes to spare!

Airplane view of Chicago

Once I arrived in Chicago, I quickly unpacked/settled in to my hotel room and got ready for the day.  Unfortunately, it was drizzling, so I couldn’t go very far.  Vishnu wanted me to check out potential neighborhoods since we’re going to start hunting for our next home soon!  I guess the rain followed me here.

At 1:00 pm, a group of us staying at the hotel headed over to my coworker Toni’s parent’s house for dinner.  Toni’s family is Italian, and her dad just so happens to have a wood burning brick oven in his backyard, so we had an Italian pizza party!  So much delicious fun!

Wood burning pizza oven

Pizza party 1

Pizza party 2

And finally, I ended the day by meeting up with a very good business school friend of mine!  Mariam and I hadn’t seen each other since my wedding, so this was a long overdue reunion.  I love it when one trip fits so many different purposes!

I’ll share more about this trip in Friday’s post – lots of delicious restaurants on the agenda along with a Cubs game, fireworks, and more!

Have a wonderful Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!

Have you ever been to Chicago before?  Favorite US city?