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Hello Monday! Before I get started with this week's review, needed to share my disbelief: HOW IS WEEK 1 OF AUGUST OVER WITH?!! 😫 It hit me a few nights ago while I was lying in bed with those late-night thoughts that the end of the year is just around the corner. This time last year I was vacationing in the Philippines gearing up for my senior year of college. And here we are. Usually by now I'm crossing people off my Christmas gift list but this year I am waaaay behind. Anywho.


It was a week where... 
  • I treated myself out to a fancy lunch with gift card for a free entree at the Dallas Fish Market--I tried the Texas redfish served with an endive salad and paprika & seaweed butter. To make that even more delicious, they served a complimentary mini cheddar jalapeΓ±o biscuit to start and a mini lemon poppyseed muffin to finish the meal. I would share pictures I captured but those got lost in the cloud because of...
  • My phone stopped working--I was using my messaging app then literally out of no where it powered down and it would not boot back up. Unfortunately, this wasn't new; it's happened to my mom's and cousin's phones. In the moment it was frustrating since it was yet another thing to have to get done. For a day or so, I was completely phone-less, which was not as anxiety provoking as I thought it would be. The biggest thing I missed though was knowing exactly what time it was. I have a temporary phone now but I've been holding off on downloading apps so definitely have been on it less. Honestly though this happening has been both bad and good. Bad for obvious reasons but it's been refreshing to disconnect a little bit. 
  • I covered someone's shift at work. Speaking of, I only have one week left at the bakery since I'll be starting classes back up soon. 😒  Def gonna miss this job. 
  • I made vegan hot cross buns--Used this recipe subbing cashew for almond milk and spelt for regular flour. Also made these chocolate chip spelt & oat cookies a day late for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Better late than never, yeah? Especially when it comes to cookies. 

  • I felt completely exhausted--I think I was still catching up from the lack of sleep last weekend. T'was a struggle to get up every morning but at the same time the days just flew by.
  • I saw the bottom of my desk for the first time in months. 
Right before I moved another stack of papers on
  • The Paw Patrol theme song got stuck in my head--I know very, very random. To clarify, my roomie leaves the TV on for her dog while she's away--completely adorable IMO--and her channel of choice is Nickelodeon.  Hence, Paw Patrol for morning background noise whilst I sit in the living room. I try to stay out there with her because if not she's just waiting for my roomie to get back right beside the door. 
Another adorably sad momen
  • I almoooost caught up on blog reading. Just two handfuls more I promise to get to! 
  • The last of my actual summer classes took place--Now gotta push through 3 tests this week. Wish me luck particularly since I find that it's during finals week--where I should be stressing out the most--that I often procrastinate the hardest. As my sister nicely reframed it, finals week is likely when one may need to be engaging in self-care the most πŸ˜‰
  • I posted a Day in Review, July's Eats as well as my Vegas trip recap. Whoa. 


  • I purchased 6 books and 2 DVDs for $12 (+ a $5 entrance ticket)--The Plano Public Library held its annual sale over the weekend where no book was over $2. So overwhelming but in the best way possible. And I thought I would only spend an hour there... HA! Who was I kidding?!
  • Enjoyed a croissant waffle ice cream sandwich after watching The Big Sick (110% recommend by the way) with my sister & mother. Picked the blueberry cheesecake flavor with graham cracker sugar. Life is sweet indeed. 🍦


Questions:
Do you struggle with feeling anxious when you don't have your phone with you? 
When do you start holiday shopping?
Favorite thing you ate this weekend? 


...apparently doesn't stay in Vegas. πŸ˜‰


Last weekend I was in Vegas for an honors society conference. Yes, you read that correctly. Vegas. An honors society conference. It was my first time there and thought it would be fun to do a recap on the blog.

Friday:

I arrived in Vegas at 11-ish Thursday evening (1:00 am Dallas time 😭  so technically Friday already). My friend and I, who were on the same flight together, met up with two other members of our org also arriving around that time. After much confusion navigating the airport then an Uber ride, we made it to the hotel room's door two hours later (3:00 am Dallas time). This was definitely too late for Granny Kaylee. 

We were then up the next day at 7:00 in order to be at the conference, which was at a different hotel, another Uber trip away, at 8:30. The day was spent attending various workshops and talks. They had a good variety of workshop types so I surprisingly found myself enjoying the workshops more than I thought I would. My favorite would have to be the first one I attended: Out of the Box. Essentially, the speaker discussed how our 'box'--whether that be preconceived notions, boundaries, pasts, fears, or whatever other baggage we carry--can trap us, can make us feel stuck. We have to recognize and realize that though it may seem there's no way out, our boxes are actually lid-less; we have to shift our thinking and find or create a new path. Upward & onward friends. 

Luckily down time was factored into our schedules. We got off at 4 and a few of my friends and fellow members wandered around. Our first stop was the pawn shop featured and showcased in the show Pawn Stars. Since we were already in the area, we walked around downtown Vegas, observed the many, err, interesting street performers and artists, and grabbed pizza for dinner. We were famished and it totally hit the spot. 




We then headed back to the Strip, the main part of Vegas, and did some hotel hopping. Our main stop The Bellagio to watch the fountains' evening light show. We also hit up Caesar's palace gambling games like blackjack, poker and the slot machines. All virtual though; no tables for us! I put only $7 in and lost $6.50 if that tells you anything about my skill/luck. Finally, we impromptu decided to go on the High Roller ferris wheel (Thank god not the roller coaster). A tad expensive for my liking but the view + the company + the overall experience made it worth it. Subsequently crashed back at our hotel rooms at around 1:00.  

A mid-post caution: the spew of photos only continues...

Saturday:

The second day was also a relatively early start. A couple more workshops then we had time off again at for the afternoon. Continued hotel hopping along the Strip since we wanted to stay closer to the conference location since there was still a gala to attend in the evening. 


Only in Vegas can one go to Paris, Italy (twice i.e. two diff hotels), Rome, and Egypt, see flamingos and a pirate ship, among other things, in just days. The hotels in clockwise order: The Venetian, Treasure Island, The Bellagio, Flamingo, Paris, Cosmopolitan, and The Luxor. These were SO cool. My two favorites were the Luxor with its diagonal elevator & Venetian with blue "skies" and legit gondolas to ride.

Galae time!


We were treated to a three course meal then as a group we were recognized as one of the key chapters for the year. This was also the closing ceremony for the conference so the keynote speaker gave his presentation. Something he said spoke to my soul:
As human beings, we don't learn from perfection; we can only learn from imperfection. 
A not-so-impressive view from the room but thankful for a view nonetheless
Sunday:

Though the conference itself ended on Saturday, I decided to leave on Sunday and give myself more time to explore the city alone. First stop was Christina Tosi's Milkbar of course! Got a few cookies to take home with me including the oh-so-famous corn one. 


After grabbing that freekeh bowl for brunch, I continued walking the streets of downtown LV. I randomly came across this bookstore, Writer's Block (that name!). Such a neat store with things like a pet rabbit named Baron, artificial bird adoptions, a bear that gives you haikus for 25c., walls lined with the history of publishing. It hosts book club meetings and writers' workshops in the back room too. Def need more stores like this around the world. To think I almost didn't go in. 





Then I walked around Container Park and perused the various shops there. One of the park's famous features is a giant mantis, which supposedly breathes fire at night. Before riding over to the airport, I grabbed a snack at this vegan restaurant, Vegenation. I chose the raw carrot cake slice which had a lemon cashew frosting (uhhh, yes please!!!) 




My flight was at 4:00 in the afternoon with a layover in LA, which seems very counterproductive to go further west then back east but who knows how airlines think... Because of the stop though, it was another long day. I landed in Dallas at midnight (central time). Super grateful for my mom who brought me and picked me up from the airport. 

My overall thoughts/observations on the trip & Vegas:
  • Uber/Lyft/ridesharing = main form of transportation. They actually have a pretty cool system in place with designated spots for rideshare pick-ups at each hotel. I hadn't seen anything like it! As much as I enjoyed my random conversations with drivers, it did get a tad pricey. Even when my friends and I split the costs, it adds up for sure. So make sure to take advantage of the promos! 
  • For all you vegans out there or those like me who just like to try vegan food, I realized it was a lot more vegan friendly than I thought it would be. Not necessarily entirely vegan restaurants but a lot of places had plenty of options that were. 
  • Travelling with a lot of people is rough. Supposedly I had already missed some drama that went down on Thursday evening but even so there were just too many people wanting to all do different things trying to coordinate as a group. So glad I spent the extra day there to get in things I personally wanted to do that others may not. 
  • If you aren't big into gambling, drinking or paying to watch shows, I felt that there isn't much else to do especially if you don't plan in advance. Many of the museums required we book tours and shows just did not fit in our budgets or schedules. If I were to go back, 
Til the next adventure & window seat!

If you made it all the way here, thank you for reading! I know that was a long one to throw at ya. 


Questions:
Have you been to Las Vegas before? Got any exciting stories to share?
Do you consider yourself lucky? 
Tips for group travelling? 
What upcoming adventures do you have in store? 
Window, aisle or middle seat on the plane? 


As promised in Monday's weekly review, I have a storm full of delicious pictures coming your way. Like any of my other monthly Recent Eats (See them here: Feb, March, April, May, June), I would like to throw this caveat out there. I am my own person as are you. We each have different bodies and thus different bodily needs. By no means is this supposed to be a post of comparison, jealousy, or shame. I am still working towards a healthier relationship with food. Having said this, I will make note where I split the meal, took it home, ate something more, etc. Just wanna keep it real.

Without further ado, some themes in my meals in the past month:

You know what they say, having avocado every day keeps the doctor away
1. Avocados like nobody's business
  • A quick tostada for dinner. So simple! Take a tortilla (I like mitad mitad ones--half corn, half wheat!). Line rim with avocado and crack egg into the shallow well. Top with toppings. In my case, cotija cheese and grape tomatoes.
  • The based egg in avocado combo never gets old. This time paired with these sweet potato falafel things. The falafel was good but I wouldn't necessarily call it falafel... More like mini fritter-patties. Fratties. 😝
  • More of said sweet potato patties with mashed avocado & salsa in between a toasted (really toasted) wheat wrap. 




2. Getting savory -- tried some awesome recipes that were takes on usually sweet things like...

  • Carrot Cake. Yes that isn't sweet!!!!  Topped mine with a Greek yogurt because it was what I had in the fridge. As a side note, when did these things get a sweet rep?? Why must they be categorized as sweet or savory? Is there no grey between?  
  • Granola. I subbed the pistachios and pumpkin seeds for squash seeds I had previously roasted that were sitting in the pantry. Delicious with other foods but equally good on its own. Here I ate it on top of yogurt with soy broccoli and sriracha. 



3. Refreshing Drinks - Despite a "cold front" coming through in Dallas and a relatively mild summer already, I've been craving cold things in the form of smoothies. For example...

  • A lil baby drink, which was the perfect size for 1/2 a brunch I ate in Austin. I also got this sausage casserole. And because I like my veggies, shared some sauerkraut on the side. 
  • This fresh fig & grape one from Golubka Kitchen. My dietician has recommended I try kefir to help with my leaky gut so I picked up a bottle of the plain flavor to try. I learned that I absolutely hated the taste of its on its own--like a super thin yogurt. Blech. When mixed into things like smoothies or overnight oats though, it's actually good. 

Cheese game strong

Even with July weather, I won't be stopped from turning on the stove and oven. Made my take on zucchini lasagna. Polenta grits for my grain plus cheese to make it rain.



Finally, not so much a trend but it's fun to just share the random things I've tried at restaurants.

  • A oil-poached tuna salad nicoise (minus the egg because I don't like hard-boiled eggs 😁) Dill potatoes, tomatoes, fresh green beans, olives. Mmmmm... 
  • Fried eggplant biscuit sandwich with L, T and white cheddar cheese. Dying to go back to this place and try their cauliflower one! 
  • Rosemary chicken and asparagus pizza made even better with the accompaniment of my mother. I had a couple of slices as did she. We took the leftovers home. 
  • This HUGE grain bowl that I ate in Vegas last weekend. Saw this place on The Cutting Veg's Instagram and was dead set on trying it. Aside from the buttload of freekeh,  it had tzatziki sauce, pickled onions, eggplant, zucchini, marinated tomatoes and spiced chickpeas. 


Hope that leaves you eyes satisfied with eats til next month! Let me know what you've been enjoying lately!

Questions:
Have you ever had something traditionally sweet as savory (or vice versa--eg. bacon on donuts, salted caramel, tahini desserts)?
Thoughts on kefir? 
What are you looking forward to in August? 

Often I forget that even in just one day a lot can happen. Last week I had a productive Wednesday. For the summer, Wednesdays are my long days and up until this point the day started with treatment. Of course, the first one I have off and it's packed. (siiiigh Oh, Kaylee.) Anywho, have you ever had that glorious feeling of super productivity? The type where you can say you got a lot of things done and it isn't even noon yet. Well, that was me.



Also, I've found my own weekly reviews can get a little repetitive. That isn't to say they aren't accomplishments; rather, the accomplishments don't provide the same satisfaction when they occur so often. To mix things up, I'll be sharing just one day of accomplishments from last week instead. As a side note, this'll be a scarce post photo-wise but I swear I will make it up to y'all in the upcoming posts!!!
  • Went in for an early appointment with my dietician 
  • Quickly went to the mall to claim my free Godiva chocolate reward before the month ended 😬
  • Got my armpits waxed! Yay for summer and sleeveless gear! Might be TMI but we all have hair; t'is the nature of life.  
  • Met up with my mom for lunch at a local Italian place. We split this golden beet, watermelon, orange and goat cheese salad & a chicken asparagus pizza. DELISH. Dining al fresco is always a plus too. As I said last week, I'm trying to eat more with others to recreate the social eating support of treatment. 

  • After getting home, I booked appointments for a haircut and a massage (thank you Groupon!) in the upcoming couple of weeks. Both very, very much needed. It's been months since my last cut and I can already see split ends. πŸ™ˆ  Then the latter is something I try to give myself at the end of every semester. That and my back/shoulders are still killing me. 😫
  • Attended a mini, check-in therapy sesh
  • Then I ran off to my first class 
Eggplant & harvati sammie--fuel to make it through 3ish hrs of class
  • For my evening class, we had our 3rd test. Cannot believe the final one is only two weeks away. 
  • Cut, filed and buffed my nails whilst watching the latest So You Think You Can Dance ep 
  • Checked in for my flight to Vegas (will be posting more about all that later this week!) 
  • Threw a load of laundry in the washer before hitting the hay! 

Questions:
Wax, shave or something else? 
Is there anything you treat yourself to on a regular basis?