WIAW 2/20: Pluto facts


Posted by Lauren

Happy WIAW! We’re back in the link-up action (via Jenn’s blog) after taking a break last week. I only snapped photos of my main meals, leaving all snacks and sweets undocumented….

I ate both breakfast and dinner at my desk at work (kinda boring), but luckily I went out to lunch in Palo Alto! I met my former boss at Pluto’s, a fast-casual salad/sandwich/carvings kinda place. They’ve got 8 locations in Northern California, with one more on the way in San Luis Obispo! I’ve only been to their Santana Row location once or twice, so I was really excited to try out Palo Alto’s and compare.

Speaking of Pluto’s, who is ready for some facts about our favorite non-planet planet?

  • Pluto was discovered on Feb. 18th, 1930, the same year Scotch tape was invented (the guy who invented tape was an avid banjo player, such a hipster).
  • Clyde Tombaugh was only 24 when he discovered Pluto, a fact that kind of makes me feel like a slacker!
  • Clyde also was a huge UFO nerd… We’re talking eerie rectangles of light and mysterious green fireballs spotted in New Mexico and a deep belief in extra terrestrials!

Breakfast – oat bran with chocolate protein powder and slices of pear (a nice change from banana)

  • Percival Lowell, a businessman and astronomer, first proposed that there was an unknown 9th planet and he searched for more than a decade before Clyde came along
  • When an 11-year-old suggested the name Pluto, Percy was totally on board because his initials are the first two letters in PLuto
  • It takes Pluto 248 years to orbit the sun…. that’s way too long to wait for birthday cake

Lunch – spinach salad with grilled chicken and 7 toppings

My picks: sweet potatoes, pepperoncini, red onion, lima beans, broccoli, mushrooms, sweet corn + a nice slice of foccacia bread on the side


  • Pluto is 40x as far from the sun as the Earth (that math = Pluto is 3.6 billion miles from the sun)
  • This tiny rock is only 1,400 miles wide (aka half the width of USA)
  • A person that weighs 200 lbs on Earth would way 14 pounds on Pluto because it has 1/15th the gravity of Earth

Snacks – nectarine, strawberry flavored Nutrigrain bar, some candy from the bowl at work…. :)

Dinner – Taco Tuesday leftovers – salad, black beans, rice, chopped steak, salsa, and guacamole

  • Kids from the 80s and 90s had their world rocked when, suddenly, Pluto wasn’t a “planet” it was a “dwarf planet”
  • This change officially happened in 2006 (the same year Google bought Youtube for $1,650,000,000)
  • Also in 2006? NASA sent a piano-sized spacecraft called New Horizons to Pluto. It will get there by 2015, after 9 years floating through space!

Dessert – Trader Joe’s cat cookies, one of my all-time favorite TJ items… they are now all gone!

  • Pluto’s (the restaurant) makes amazing salads. I already want to go back.
  • Pluto is cold.
  • And, this:

even stevens pluto gif

Question: What’s your favorite planet? I always liked Saturn after doing a report on it in middle school. However, it wasn’t the rings that drew me in, it was Saturn’s moons (especially Titan) that I found so interesting.


WIAW 2/6: Spoiled. With Tiramisu.

Posted by Lauren

Welcome back to another installment of WIAW! Thanks go to Jenn of Peas and Crayons for hosting these link-ups. Click over to her blog for many other entries :)


In the middle of this post, I have an awesome sun-dried tomato + chicken recipe for you that blew me away Monday night. Make sure to copy-paste the recipe into your calendar and make it this weekend! Or pin it. Or hand write it. Or memorize it. You choose.

I had dinner plans on Monday night with Sarah (high school bff) and Cindy and Mike (parents of our other high school bff Natalie). We started monthly dinners together a while ago, and I am so happy we’ve kept them going!

Let’s start with my 5 PM trip to Yogurtland. I am a sucker for free things. And for frozen yogurt. So you can only imagine how irresistible free frozen yogurt is to someone like me!


Thank you, Janae, for sounding the alarm about Yogurtland’s awesome deal happening from 4-7 PM on Monday to honor National Frozen Yogurt Day. (I knew the day after the Super Bowl had to be some sort of epic holiday!) I filled my cup with chocolate, red velvet, and pistachio frozen yogurt and gently placed Reese’s, muddy buddies, banana slices, and kiwis on top. This was my first banana topping experience… amazing.

I let that deliciousness digest… and two hours later I was at Cindy’s house promising her that my Yogurtland monstrosity she saw on Instagram absolutely would not spoil my dinner. The four of us sat down to a table with adorable Valentines Day decorations and a yummy side salad.


For dinner, we each had lemon-zested green beans, chicken spaghetti, and chicken with sun-dried tomato-cream sauce (recipe copied from magazine clipping, BELOW!).


Sarah and I were absolutely in love with this sun-dried tomato chicken!! Tangent: I think sun-dried tomatoes are a seriously underrated ingredient… every time I eat something with them (like pizza!), I remember just how fabulous they are. At one point, our mom had a huge Costco jar full of sun-dried tomatoes. It lasted us almost an entire year (expiration dates don’t bother me). I think it’s time to get another one of those!

Chicken Breasts with Sun-Dried Tomato-Cream Sauce
Yield 4 servings – From Bon Appetit, 1999

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate; tent with foil to keep warm.
  2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to drippings in skillet. Add sun-dried tomatoes, shallots and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and saute until shallots are tender, about 5 minutes. Add cream and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits.
  3. Mix any accumulated juices from chicken into sauce. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer chicken to plates. Spoon sauce over and serve.

My slice of bread looked like a bunny!


This opened up the conversation of Super Bowl commercials via the Joe Montana stain/Tide commercial. My favorites: Oreo’s Whisper War, Calvin Klein underwear, and Dodge Ram. What about you?

After dinner, Cindy asked us to open our Valentine’s Day gifts. How did we get so lucky?!


Thank you, Cindy!!!!

We had a little dessert-appetizer while waiting for The Bachelor to start :)


And then we planted our butts on the sofa next to Binky and their new puppy, Owen. He’s so adorable and spunky!


This mid-yawn photo is priceless.


During the drama and craziness of The Bachelor, Cindy gave each of us a giant bowl of tiramisu. (!!!) I’m not sure if this counts as one serving (or three, or six), but I ate all of it because it was sooooo good.


I loved soaking up the extra espresso/rum sauce with the sponge-like ladyfingers. I believe Cindy followed this Giada recipe, but I’m not 100% positive.


Sarah and I left with some leftovers, full bellies, and adorable Valentine’s Day goodies… The countdown to next month’s dinner SLASH Bachelor season finale starts NOW.


WIAW 1/30: Gravity Wine Bar, Palo Alto

Posted by Lauren

Today was an atypical Tuesday at work – we exercised both sides of the brain, delved into the difference between Product Managers and Product Owners, did some team bonding, and ran around the Stanford campus with GPS devices on a scavenger hunt!

Let’s get to the WIAW awesomeness, shall we? Check out other entries over on Jenn’s link-up.

8:30 AM – Breakfast


Coffee, fruit, some coffee cake; then I went back for crunchy granola to snack on during some of the photo exercises….


12:15 PM – Lunch


First, I grabbed sandwich supplies (no bread) and made lettuce rolls with roast beef, sprouts, red onion, pickles, and pepperoncini.


After that, I went back to the “food corner” of the conference room for a bag of baked BBQ Lays, a sugar cookie, and some fruit….


At 2 PM we finished up with part one of our team offsite and then drove to Stanford University in Palo Alto for part two.

I had no idea what to expect! Our group of 6 split into three teams of 2 and learned the rules of the scavenger hunt: earn points for correctly solving clues that can only be reached by following a GPS signal.


Phil and I teamed up and decided to cover more ground by running (he clearly knows I’m a little competitive and that I appreciate interval sprints). We gained a few bonus points for taking pictures with people on campus (thank you group of German photographers for being so helpful). I can only imagine what the Stanford students thought when they saw us running around with a yellow GPS device!


After we counted the points (pssst Phil and I won!) all of us drove to downtown Palo Alto for a team dinner!


Gravity Bistro & Wine Bar

544 Emerson Street, Palo Alto

6:00 PM – Dinner


Cheese plate, pâté (love !!!), charcuterie, assorted breads – enjoyed them all, especially the various types of cheeeeese.

Plus I had my first oyster…. EVER. What took me so long?!!?


Bottle on left we shared during appetizers. Bottle on right we shared during dinner. Both were mighty tasty and made in California :)


For my main entree (because wine, oysters, cheese, bread, and pâté wasn’t enough) I chose the special of the day: grilled ahi tuna, lentils, grapefruit, baby onions, and an arugula salad. All the individual elements sounded good when the server described the dish, but it didn’t come together as well as I’d hoped. I blame the lentils.


7:30 PM – Dessert Time!

The 6 of us split 3 desserts: blackberry-brandy bread pudding (left) and chocolate budino with vanilla ice cream (right)…..


And profiteroles with coffee ice cream in the center!!


All the food was amazing, but if I go back I’ll likely stick with just a wine flight and appetizers… And maybe dessert ;)

Question: Have you ever done a GPS-based scavenge hunt? Or have you heard of geocahing?


WIAW 1/23: Cooking vs. Free Meals

Posted by Nicole

A lot of my meals throughout last week came from the sorority house, but because there aren’t meals on the weekends, I had to find alternatives.

I had random food here and there, most importantly a veggie burrito from Freebirds on Sunday night. Mmm.

The cooking bug hit me hard on Monday and I decided to cook a half-batch of the amazing tabouleh we had on Christmas day. Remember that?


Memory- refreshed! I didn’t use all the ingredients from the original recipe because I didn’t want to spend soooo much at the grocery store, but the recipe turned out great. Lauren and I will do a full post with the recipe sometime soon. Also, it’s a little hard for the cooking photos to look good in my tiny apartment kitchen. I even had to improvise and use a few pans.

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Other than the big tabouleh dish, I made a few smoothies over the weekend. One on Monday night after my workout and one Tuesday morning before class. Each smoothie had ice, frozen berries, frozen spinach, chocolate whey protein powder (Trader Joe’s brand), and water– added in that order.

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I love when there is extra smoothie that doesn’t fit into the glass :)

Today was lucky because my noon-2 class was cancelled. I went to finance from 10-noon, then to the bookstore to pick up textbooks, and then back to my apartment.

I picked up lunch at the sorority house and ate it while doing some homework. I ate my meal soup and salad style, literally. I loooove vegetarian chili.


soup and salad

I got antsy and started cleaning my room and wasting time other ways. The solution: a trip to Starbucks for some (liquid) mental clarity and a calm environment. For my “leading organizations” class, we have 3 parts: discussion twice a week, lecture once a week, and video lecture once a week. I managed to finish two lectures (3 hours…. Yikes) and take pretty good notes. Then I did some reading for another class. This semester is already slapping me in the face.

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During one of the video lectures, a student asked a question and the screen showed a student sleeping…


For dinner, I had a bowl leftover tabouleh, celery, and an orange.


A bit later on my way to night class, I stopped by DG to pick up a snack of wheat toast with light cream cheese sandwich (with a side of anchor). I knew I would be hungry when class got out at 8, but had plans to go straight to the gym.


I’m glad I grabbed the extra food because it fueled me through a good workout: 2 mile run, 10 mins of corework, 1 mile run, 15 mins biking. I refueled with the same smoothie as I had for breakfast.


The rest of Tuesday was spent out with friends and the cutest pup!


My Wednesday 8 AM class was cancelled this week and I wanted to take full advantage by having a fun (and late- 3 AM yikes) Tuesday night.

Balance balance balance!

For more WIAW goodness, head on over to Jenn’s blog and check out this week’s linkup by clicking below.

- Nicole

Question: Any suggestions for good core workouts? I’m burnt out.