1. The hubby and I went to Saison last night for a sort of belated Valentine's celebration. We actually had reservations at Saison on the 14th but R got violently ill from a stomach bug that morning, so dinner was not really a possibility. I actually kind of prefer celebrating on a random Wednesday night though, because really who cares about the a set date on a calendar when it comes to celebrating the one you love. I went to Saison right after it opened a few years ago and liked it, but have always wanted to go back. And I'm so glad I did. It was AWESOME. I knew it was known for creative cocktails, so despite being more of wine and beer people typically, both hubby and I went to the liquor route. He got a Negroni that came topped with an orange peel, a little more alcholy-y than I like my drinks but still yummy. I got the End of Days (tequila, campari, lime, demerara, and India Pale Ale). I am not normally an IPA fan but this was perfect. The IPA added a nice bitter, hoppy tone to blend with the lime-y goodness of the rest of the drink, and it was really yummy and refreshing. Because it was our Valentine's and thus a celebration, we went for cocktail #2 and I got A Tortugan Conspiracy (best cocktail names ever amiright?). This one had Jamaican and Nicaraguan rum, lime, demerara, and allsipce. Along the same lines as my first drink but without the beer. And again sooo good. Nice and fresh and bright. I really felt like I was on a tropical island but without all the over the top sweetness of most islandy drinks.
The food was just awesome as the drinks. We started with smoked cheddar pimento cheese biscuits, which were just heavenly balls of gooey dough (that might sound weird, but I really love my baked goods slightly undercooked, and these were perfectly doughy). I got something called the Rundown for my entree, which was a broth based seafood dish with mussels, clams, shrimp, white fish, and sweet potatoes in a coconut habenero broth. Really spicy and warm and yummy but still super bright and flavorful. Great for a chilly night but also slightly reminiscent of being on warm, sunny beach somewhere in Southeast Asia. Hubby got the Nashville hot chicken with pickles and mac n'cheese. Let's just say both plates were picked clean.
Again because special occasion (although let's be honest, who really needs a special occasion for dessert) we split the "carrot cake." I am somewhat of a carrot cake connoisseur. I requested carrot cake for every single birthday of my childhood. And this concoction somehow managed to satisfy the urge for a traditional carrot cake with all of those familiar flavors of carrot and nut and cream cheese while still being incredibly original. It was actually the only dish I took a picture of (mostly because with the others ones I was too busy unhinging my jaw to swallow them whole, apologies for how dark it is)
The cake was moist and rich and awesome, but the stars of this plate were the black pepper cream cheese ice cream (btw, how is CREAM CHEESE ICE CREAM not a thing that we do all the time people of earth, it seems so painfully obvious that cream cheese ice cream would be one of the most wonderful things of all time, and yet I have never seen it before), the curried carrot relish (I cannot even describe how weird and wonderful these tasted) and CHURRO CRUMBLES. Yes churro crumbles. You read that right. I know you want this in your face right now. It was absolutely absurd. Definitely will be returning to Saison for more wonderful cocktails and food in hopefully the near future. Bonus, the service was great and the atmosphere cozy and inviting.
2. I was forced to order my contacts through Canadian backroads today. Yes that is right. I had to turn to CANADA for my contacts. Long story short, I kept having to postpone my yearly eye exam because of well, life and snow and life. I ran out of contacts. The next time I can get in for an eye exam at my normal eye doctor is way far in the future. I tried to make a quickie appointment at lens crafters but they won't take my insurance. You can't order contacts from American websites without an active prescriptions. Which leads to the ridiculousness. CONTACT LENS prescriptions "expire" after one year. So you have to go to the eye doctor every year to get an expensive exam in order to get said prescription, even if your vision hasn't changed. Is this not just the biggest scam ever? I am guessing eye doctors are all pretty loaded, because their business is guaranteed by the fact that they can hold contacts hostage from people who are blind like me. But really, if I feel like my vision hasn't changed, I should darn well have the right to order contacts without a "current" prescription, especially when getting that prescription requires a costly exam. Who is this rule supposed to protect? Shouldn't adults have the right to decide when their vision has worsened enough to need a new prescription? I get a lot of prescriptions expiring. Blood pressure medicine? Sure. Because you know if those people don't get into their cardiologist their heart might explode. Insulin? Absolutely. But contacts? So finally after some googling I discovered there is a loophole, and that loophole is the Great Wide North. I never thought I would have to turn to Canada for my eye needs, but apparently Canadians are smart enough to order the proper contacts without yearly visits to the eye doctor. So thanks Canada. I owe you. Don't get smug.
3. I have a really hard time with the whole Lululemon thing. The silly side of me likes their clothes, because they come in pretty colors and nice fabrics and they lull you with their lifestyle brand. Lululemon has brilliant people in their marketing department, because you feel like if you wear their workout clothes you will suddenly lead this cool, fit, relaxed life, full of impromptu yoga poses and the ability to look fabulous after running several miles. The rational side of me thinks it's all just a massive scam. Somehow workout clothes have become a fashion statement, and you feel this pressure to be stylish even when you are disgusting and covered with sweat. What happened to the days of working out in old concert tee-shirts and gym shorts you stole from the guy you're dating? I'm not sure when this change occurred where us poor women now are supposed to look put together and on trend at the gym or in a workout class. As if it wasn't already hard enough to be a woman. I blame Taylor Swift. And Lululemon. Really I do. As a feminist I'm kind of appalled by a business that pressures women into paying exorbitant prices for luxury workout gear.
And yet. The silly side. The silly, gullible side of me who also likes Ugg boots and i-Phones and other insanely mass market items. I wish I could be the free spirit who goes to the gym in jorts and a ripped t-shirt. I really do. But sometimes I just need to make stupid purchases. All of this is prelude to the inner conflict I went through inside of the Lululemon store at Short Pump today. I picked up and put down probably half the items in the store.
And the end result was kind of a tie. I bought a long-sleeved t-shirt, because I can run in it, wear it pre and post Tidal Wheel classes, and even just wear it on loungy days. I also bought a headband because my hair is a wild animal that needs to be tamed. I did however draw the line at the $96 workout capris. Because I just can't. No one other than professional athletes should spend $100 bucks on an item of clothing designed for sweat.
4. My best friend, MK, and I had a lady date tonight at Mai Sushi in the Village Shopping Center. I LOVE sushi, and have been dying to try it, and am so glad we did. It's a tiny little hole in the wall, and I'm pretty sure the owner was also the sole waiter, host, bartender, and chef, but the sushi was really good. I got my typical and boring salmon and spicy tuna maki rolls with miso soup and salad with ginger dressing with a Sapporo beer to wash it down, but next time I definitely want to be adventurous. I kept getting the scent of smoke and wondered what could possibly be burning at a SUSHI restaurant, but finally noticed the tables near us were all getting a plate that was literally on fire. We asked another diner and it's something called the volcano roll. And it comes to the table ON FIRE. Next time I am absolutely getting that, because I like my sushi with a side of danger. I'm also totally going to use this place for takeout as well, because it's in my hood. Sadly I do not think the flaming volcano roll is available in take out form.
Now off to bed early because I'm working this Saturday and Sunday. Hope you all enjoy your weekends!
Typical Richmond winter. You go the first 12 weeks or so without nary a hint of white flaky stuff, and then at the tail end of the season you get hit with back to back storms seemingly out of nowhere. Today on my morning off I woke up to the sounds of George crying to be let out to pee at 6:30. Despite the fact that I had stayed at the hospital until 9 the previous night, I happily bounded of bed to let him out, because SNOW :)
After another hour or so of snooze time, I woke up for real. After coffee R and I took the dogs on a long walk around the neighborhood. This snow it a lot wetter than the last one, and since it's warmer outside it makes for pleasant walk. We stopped at Starbucks for hot cocoa (where George shamelessly flirted with strangers, I swear if you want to make friends get a puppy, you will talk to literally everyone you see, because everyone wants to pet an adorable puppy when they see one) then strolled through the St. Catherine's campus (I grew up as a Richmond Catholic school kid with only pavement for our "grounds" so I am still awe struck by the university like settings of the private schools near us).
Once we got home George was ready for a rest :)
With the pups asleep I set off for a little snow playtime of my own with a 4 mile run. Sadly halfway through the slush had completely soaked my feet and my ITB was starting to act up, but the run was still made lovely by the snowy surroundings.
We stopped at the Grill on Patterson for our snow day lunch and I downed a cup of brunswick stew, a chef salad(with ranch ( I never order ranch on salads anymore because of stupid adult mindfulness of fat and calories, but a snow day just seems to call for the extra heft), and of course a tall draft beer. There is no replacing my early 20s hangout of Joe's Inn on a snow day and their pitchers of mimosas, but for a more adult but still relaxed snow day spot, the Grill works pretty well.
And to make the day even better, I finally watched the series finale of Parks and Recreation. What a sweet, generous show that was and it ended in exactly that spirit, with absolute kindness and love for its characters and fans. I generally prefer shows where it's obvious that the writers like the characters. I know that sounds silly but some shows and movies show such evident disdain between the writers and their fictional creations. That writing can still be brilliant and very good, but I can never really love it. Girls is a good example. And I like Girls. But there's so much bite there that it feels more like a satire. Parks and Rec is the opposite of that kind of writing, just the farthest thing from mean spirited. And its ending gave me ALL THE FEELINGS. I will miss Leslie and the rest of the gang dearly.
Now I'm off to get ready for Southbound tonight. I've been dying to try it and am very excited to go to a local, buzzed about restaurant south of the river. Bring on more of those Richmond. The burbs don't have to be all Olive Garden and Rockfish Grill and whatever other restaurants that you can find in any city in the country.
Definitely will report back about the experience.
In the meantime enjoy the rest of your day (snowy or otherwise) everyone :)
The husband (who shall henceforth on this blog be known as R) is working so I'm solo this weekend. After sleeping most of the day after working a night shift last night, I got ready for some crazy party times.
A quick trip to Kroger, and these are the 3 things in my cart at 5pm on a Saturday night:
1. I am admittedly turning into something of a crazy dog lady when I don't remember the last time I went to the store and didn't get something puppy related. But George needs his reinforcement treats.
2. No explanation necessary
3. Because OF COURSE I need to know the inner working of Jessa Duggar's marriage to Ben. Do not judge me for my People addiction. I get them to take to the gym! They are my positive reinforcement treats.
My fun times party night was topped off by quite possibly my favorite salad in the world from Sticks. I am not exaggerating when I say that they know me at this place. I have gotten one of their salads at least twice a week for over a year.I don't know what it is. I could make this salad at home. But it's just something about their lemon sesame dressing and the feta and the little crunchy pita bits and the grilled onions, and I just crave it all the time. It's easy for when I don't want to cook for just me when R is at work. And I don't have to feel as guilty as I would with most other take out places. Basically I am a Sticks believer.
So now I am off to spend the rest of the wine with my two close friends Pinot and Scandal. God that show is good. I mean I watch a lot of television, but Shonda Rhimes has pretty much created the most addictive show of all time right? I am completely shipping Olivia and Fitz, although honestly I'm not even sure if Fitz deserves her because Olivia is kind of a super hero. I have a little woman crush on Kerry Washington, and I'm just happy to see a show that has the most bad ass female lead character on TV right now. It is such a soapy, sudsy creation, but it also can be really smart and funny. Like I said, it's the most addictive TV show of all time and thank goodness for Netflix.
This image is 100% accurate and the way every night shift goes in a hospital, everyone is fresh faced and gorgeous and doesn't at all look pasty and sallow skinned and like mole people, heroic, long haired doctors wear jeans and v-necks while they save lives AND break the rules, nurses run down hallways with their long, perfectly blown out locks flowing, and basically we all look AMAZING while we save lives. Totally 100% how it is.
I work rotating shifts at my job, which means I do both days and nights. As someone whose ideal bedtime is roughly between 8-9pm, this has been somewhat of a struggle. After doing nights for a year, I have however come up with some observations.
1. Napping is essential. It doesn't matter how late you sleep in the day of your night shift, if you do not get in at least an hour-ish nap you will feel like poop. Actually you are going to feel like poo regardless. But if you don't nap you will feel like you are coming down with ebola. Which brings me to...
2. You are not getting sick. I cannot tell you how many night shifts I have worked where I have been CERTAIN I was coming down with some vague but very real illness. You will feel feverish. You will feel shaky. You will feel nauseated. Your nose will get stuffed up, your throat will be sore. You will have both a cough and an upset stomach. You will feel like you are coming down simultaneously with the flu, a stomach bug, measles, and maybe even America's first documented case of dengue fever. This will be even more certain when you work with kids (like I do) and all of their so many germs. But power through. You are almost certainly not getting sick. Your body is just so, so tired and so, so desperate for sleep, and it is trying to trick you into going to bed because it is 3 in the morning and your body is mightily pissed that you are still vertical.
3. Breakfast foods are the best foods. When you work a night shift you will need to eat. I personally have a really hard time having a standard "lunch" at 3 in the morning. I also have a hard time eating a standard "dinner" before I leave for work (usually because I just woke up from a nap and am in post nap zombie mode). I have learned that breakfast foods meet any food need during a stretch of nights. I usually eat a big bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter before I leave for work, various cliff and granola ish bars while at work, and then a big bowl of cereal when I come home.
4. Sleep on the couch after your last night. I do not always follow this rule, but it's a good one. After my last night I like to only sleep until noon-1ish, so that I am not completely screwed up when I need to switch back to a normal schedule. If I sleep in my comfy, cozy bed in my dark bedroom, getting up with the alarm at noon is one of the most disorienting and awful experiences I can describe. I am always certain I have overslept for something. Sometimes I can't remember what day it is, where I am, or what my name is. Sleeping on the couch helps. You still feel like a monster with a hangover when you wake up, but it's slightly easier.
5. You will feel like a separate species from the rest of the human race. There's always a moment, usually between 2-4 where you have this strange out of body experience to not only be awake but to be working. You know everyone you know is probably asleep. Your patients are "trying" to sleep. You are sneaking around in dark rooms trying not to make noise while you go about all of your typical work tasks. The hospital is not quiet, but much, much quieter than any other time. It gets weird. And surreal.
6. You will be expected to be smart and function and make important decisions while you are totally and utterly sleep deprived. You will have to double check the most basic math you can imagine (I'm talking very simple multiplication, like 2x2, with a CALCULATOR). And under these hazy, middle of the night conditions, you have all the same responsibilities. That is why...
7. Caffeine is your GOD. So much caffeine. Baths of it. Fountains of it. There are no cleanses on night shift. There is only the coffee and the diet coke and the sugar. They are the sweet, life sustaining stuff of dreams.
8. Sleeping after a night shift is the most glorious feeling in the world. My favorite part of working a night shift? Sleeping after one. I have almost been brought to tears by the sight of my bed after coming home from a night. You are tired in way that I don't think anyone can imagine until you've stayed up working all night. It's a very distinct tired from even what happens after the busiest day. It is a tired so deep that you feel it in every inch of your body. But more than the physical is the mental fatigue. Thinking hurts. You've had to think all night and you just are so ready to shut it off. Your head its that pillow and it is just rainbows and kittens and puppies. And if it is a rainy day, just forget it. Night shift workers talk about rainy days in tones usually reserved for the way people talk about their weddings or the day their kids were born. Reverently and with a twinkle in the eye. It is just the best.
9. Walking out of work when everyone else is walking in is also pretty damn great.
10. If you have the energy and the tenacity, there is also something pretty great about a post night shift trip to River City Diner. I finally did the for the first time the other week (usually when someone suggests going out for brunch after working a night I want to either laugh maniacally or slap them and yell "GET IT TOGETHER"). It felt slightly dream like, not only because it was 8 in the morning on a Wednesday and I was drinking a mimosa, but also because the diner was full of people in scrubs talking freely and openly about all of those gross medical things that any normal person would blanch. There are some shifts where a drink with your coworkers is not just a perk but a necessity. And then with a full belly and a slight mimosa and sleep deprivation buzz, you go home, fall instantly into a sleep coma while the rest of the world is awake, and tell yourself that maybe nights aren't so bad after all.
I'm a thirty-something mom of two, wife, pediatric RN, and writer with a passion for all the big and little things in life.