Some ‘Almost’ Summer Sweats + Eats

Happy Memorial day WEEKEND!  It feels a little strange to think that it’s already memorial day weekend since I’m not sure how we got to May, and have seen only a handful of days that I would categorize is truly ‘spring’ days, but hey, if everyone is in agreement I think I’ll just take it as the truth.

So far the weekend has been amazing.  Totally relaxed, driven less by a to-do list than a want-to-do list which is just beautiful in and of itself.  The lead into the weekend was pretty sweet with Thursday night’s bootcamp group rocking out a partner workout.

Workout: 3 station with 7 minutes of constant work for BOTH partners, alternating work at each station.

There was a 2:30 break in between rounds.

Station 1: 6 Box Jumps / 6 slam balls (counting rounds)

Station 2: KB swings / 200m run

Station 3: Air squats (or goblet squats w/KB) / Plank hold

After bootcamp was in a complete grilling (and using everything in the fridge) sort of a mood, so here’s what happened.

1. grilled asparagus.  made the usual way – light olive oil + sea salt.  grilled to tender, but not wrinkly.

asparagus

2. grilled turkey burgers! I bought ground turkey from Whole Foods a couple days prior so it was time to put it to use, so, that’s what I did.  I literally just made them into patties and added nothing except for a little ground sea salt on the outside.

turkey patties

While they grilled I set out the ‘fixins,’ which included iceburg lettuce for buns, tomato, cucumber, avocado and (not pictured) some amazing dijon mustards.  I always order the dijon at Citizen Burger Bar when I build almost this same burger there (but with Timbercreek beef and pickles instead of cucumbers) and it has this unbelievable kick that I can only assume is horse radish, so of course I bought some.

fixins

Here is my completed plate for a meal that was exactly what I needed.  I did add one more lettuce leave for full coverage (and control) of the burger, but it was amazing.

val burger complete

A few hours after dinner I somehow managed to make a slightly better choice than the Sweethaus cupcakes that Margaret had dropped off during her lunch hour, and had strawberries, blueberries, sliced almonds, a few mini chocolate chips, with a shaken coconut milk/cocoa/vanilla extract ‘sauce’ on top.  It was awesome and I got exactly the right amount of sweet from it.

dessert

Friday morning we had the 6 and 7 am bootcamps who did the same workout as the Thursday night group, and then I jetted off to Richmond for the morning to get some things signed and to get a little retail therapy in on the backend at Short Pump.  I scored some amazing new sneaks at Nordstrom and a new outfit at lululemon, of course.  By the time I got home (and after I woke up from a surprise hour-long nap) it was time for Friday’s after Five downtown.

There’s not a ton of graffiti in Charlottesville, or really much at all that I could even recall, but this was on the wall at my new favorite ‘not so secret anymore’ parking spot for Fridays.  There’s something about it that really actually appealed to me for some strange reason, and added a little color to a random and hidden side street.  There is a serious artistic talent to some of these sections that I totally appreciate and that actually make me miss making art.

charlottesville 'street art' charlottesville 'street' artcharlottesville graffiti art

Friday’s was awesome as per usual, despite the chilly winds that took the heat of the sun away, immediately.  Most of the usual suspects were out, and Dar of course managed to meet some new people that will likely now add the group of ‘The Usuals.’

Thanks to the chilly winds we did split a little earlier than usual to find refuge and delicious food at the upstairs bar in The Local.  I love the local in general, but there is something about sitting at the bar and getting to chat with other people, bartenders included, that really adds to the element of being out, and Dar and I were able to talk at length about new ideas and thoughts for the Fight Gone MAD grand openings here in Charlottesville, as well as in Richmond.

Sidebar: have you ever read the ‘history of the building’ section in the menu? It’s so very Charlottesville, and gives a great historic feel to the whole space.

The Local History

 

The drinks definitely helped the feeling of excited jubilance.

bold rock cider

They have my favorite Bold Rock Cider, which helps me cause greatly, and then my favorite courses of local meals around.

Local (Caromont) Goat Cheese Salad:

the local's goat cheese salad

Followed by the tenderloin special with no sauce, cheeses, or dressings of any kind.  Asparagus and red bliss mashed potatoes underneath.  It’s amazing people, you need to try it.

The Local's tenderloin special

That was a wrap for Friday night, and it was a good one.  Definitely an awesome lead into a three-day weekend full of beautiful weather and nothing but want-to-do’s.

More to come on that later.  Hope you’re all enjoying your weekends, let us know what eats, treats, and possibly even sweats (?) made their way into your holiday fun!

A Little of This, A Little of That

So, on monday I made a rookie mistake.  I planned and cooked one of my favorite meals, and even brought out the good camera to capture the whole thing.  What I failed to do was make sure the memory card was actually in the camera.  So, sorry folks, no pictures.

That being said, here’s what was on the menu (and the grill):

  • 2lbs of whole food’s skirt steak (a great option when they’re out of flank.  and flat iron.)
  • grilled asparagus, and zucchini
  • romaine based salad with avocado, cucumber, walnuts, and tomato

The food was delicious, and the presentation was majestic, sorry you can’t see what it looked like.  What I can show you is the hasty leftover salad that I put together on Tuesday afternoon during my ‘working lunch.’

leftovers

Don’t let the lack of frills fool you, in the moment it tasted like the best thing I had ever eaten.

leftover lunch

It has been a more than beautiful week this week, so in the spirit of enjoying that I took some work outside with me after lunch to get a little extra vitamin D, and to (hopefully) also bring a stop to Bug’s incessant requests to go in and out  of the house.  It worked surprisingly well and once I was stationed outside she decided that her only option was to stay outside and be quietly miserable.  bug outside

I did the 7am bootcamp yesterday with the group while Dar coached which was awesome.

30:30 (4 rounds)

  • Box Jumps / rest
  • Push ups / Plank
  • Kettlebell swings / squat hold
  • star jumps
  • Breakdancers

So, to better explain the bullet points, the workout was 4 rounds of 1 minute rounds split into 30 second segments.  For box jumps it was 30 seconds on, then 30 seconds off (rest!), but for the push ups and KB swings, they both had active rests with planks and squat holds, respectively.

In the most surprising turn of events, one of my group partners, Uday, turned to me after round 1 and said ‘lets do 45/15 on the full rest sections.  Now, I’m not sure if he was having a particularly good morning, or just trying to compete with his wife (the amazing Anita of Maliha Creations ) that did the same workout in the 6am bootcamp, but we made the switch and I definitely felt it immediately.  The only other change I made was holding a 12kg kettlebell for a goblet squat hold.

I managed to get my act back together at dinner, so here are a few food scenes from what was an awesome rainy day meal.

Roasted cauliflower on the grill, seasoned with salt.

roasted cauliflower

The ‘main course’ and future lunches was a mix of onions, ground beef (local!), zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, and red peppers.  It was all just seasoned lightly with sea salt, but had an amazing flavor thanks to the beef.

beef. it's what's for dinner.

On the (other) side was a sweet little tomato and avocado salad, seasoned with salt, balsamic, and a tiny bit of olive oil.

tomato avocado

This meal had a 20 minute turnaround, and provided leftovers for the next two days.  I’m huge on having leftovers on hand to grab and go, or quickly eat sometime between breakfast and an afternoon snack (some might call that meal lunch…).  It really helps to put it in serving sized containers so it’s easy to organize and take with you.

I spent most of this week working on stuff for Fight Gone MAD, from social media, to retail ordering, and a million details in between.  We’re getting closer and closer to announcing both of the actual locations, and I could not be more excited.  I love the spaces we found, our builder is a rock star, and the designs all look amazing.

work

Anyone ready for the grand opening party?  I am.  Seriously, that’s one of the things on my to-do list, probably one of the least important, and I have a million little notes on what it’s going to look like.  I did a little professional reflection this week, and on my personal blog, and am just so excited for everything that we’ve got going on right now, and that I’ve got going on, despite the million directions I feel like I’m constantly going in.  This is the good stuff – it’s the beginning – and the beginning of something awesome.

A Week in Charlotte: sweats, eats + great friends

We’re back from Charlotte and already hitting the ground running.  So you don’t miss out on the ‘fakecation’ week, here are the highlights split up in our favorite categories: sweat + fuel (with a little growth sprinkled in between).

Tuesday and Wednesday were the designated Fight Gone MAD days, and they were just as killer as ever.  The interval lengths and movement combinations are paired with serious intentions of making your whole body work, and the intervals are planned just perfectly to take you to that edge.  Both are constantly changing so adaptation is not exactly an option — in a good way.

fight gone mad

Thursday was a rest day for the whole crew, and then Friday was a Flywheel day for Dar, and a long awaited solo run for me.

I have not been running as much as normal lately, or really much at all, which I think has been great for my body, but I needed a little time with my music and some solo thoughts for a while.  It was exactly what I needed, and I took a round 2 run on Sunday back in beautiful Charlottesville.

I’ve got to say, I always have the highest (and most chaotic) planned workout schedule when I head into Charlotte, but this trip I took more time to unwind.  Even Bug got in the pool, despite her constant uncertainty about water.

bug pool

The rest of my time was filled with great food, friends, and meetings about exciting new ventures.  Among Thursday’s highlights was dinner at Soul Gastrolounge (one of my favorite local spots) with some of my favorite Charlotte ladies, business owners, and Fight Gone MAD addicts; Sarah, owner of Social Dress Shop, Carrie of Pink Toast Ink, and Erin of Erin McDermott Jewelry. We’ve got a few fun announcements and a new collaborative side business that we can’t wait to launch, so stay tuned for that.  Disclaimer: it’s not food or fitness – the only food is that which we consume while we meet, and the only fitness conversations are about Fight Gone MAD.  All that considered, it will still be amazing.

Since Soul serves a number of small plates and sushi options, here’s a look at what was enjoyed.  Which is to say, everything.

1. California Roll.

Soul sushi

2. Chimichurri Beef Skewer (with some amazing cilantro based sauce that I am yet to fully deconstruct to reconstruct)

chimichurri beef skewer

3. Guacamole Stack, which might just be the best thing I’ve ever ordered.  Anywhere. Ever.

guacamole stack

My dinner was accompanied by several awesome glasses of wine, and the brilliant conversation of this small think-ubator we’ve assembled, and was the perfect combination at the end of a long day.

Friday morning I stopped in to a local jewelry trunk show at Flywheel to check out Erin’s latest creations, and picked out a ‘congratulatory gift’ from her for our Fight Gone MAD announcement.

erin mcdermott

I love it (first of all) because it goes with my everyday style, but mostly I love it (the way that I love ALL of my Erin jewelry) because I always think of her when I’m putting it on.  Erin is one of the most generous and genuine people in the world (my world at least) and I am SO very grateful for her and all of the support that she has given over this last year of new life/career development.  It has been huge.

The rest of the day was filled with good food and friends, starting with a simple afternoon out by the pool, and a salad using the remnants of some other meal ingredients.

salad

Dinner was a ‘business’ meeting with our partners at Roosters, which has to be another favorite of mine.  Great wine, plus amazing clean food options.  I took zero pictures of food, and only managed this one ‘team’ photo, sans the other 50% of the team, as we waited to be seated.

IMG_3532

No food, just wine – the picture shows nothing but says it all.

I had the hanger steak (medium!) with a side of asparagus, beets, and string beans.  It was awesome (per usual) and was the perfect compliment to the ever-loving, ever-flowing wine that is vacation mandatory.

Saturday morning brought the much awaited Fight Gone MAD photo shoot with Dar (and cameo appearances by Matt and Cristina after the 10:30 class).  My good friend Courtney Linnehan was the Photographer (she’s legitimate, and awesome at what she does) and on top of getting some great shots, we had a damn fun time entertaining ourselves for a couple of hours.

After the photo shoot (pics to come soon) we grabbed lunch with 28 to Life guru and Fight Gone MAD original, Cristina at Bad Daddy’s.    The best thing about Bad Daddy’s, aside from the tater tots and sweet potato fries, is the amazing salad menu and create your own salad options.  Dar and Cristina ordered the same salad with mixed greens, nuts, avocado, tomato, apples, olives, and a burger on top.

bad daddy's big salad CYO with a burger

I also created my own, but went a different route: romaine, mushrooms, cucumber, avocado, walnuts, and chicken with their lemon-greek vinagrette.

bad daddys big salad w/chicken

They were all awesome, and if you’re trying to eat on plan (28 to life, or just clean in general) they are amazing options. A total example of how to successfully eat at a restaurant, without over indulging or leaving hungry.

Saturday night was a big stay-in dinner with some good friends, old and new, including our hosts for the week: Bill and Gwen.  We brought some of our favorite grass-fed, local, beef filets down from Charlottesville which were awesome with Gwen’s cucumber salad, tomato avocado, and a dab of rice.

dinner spread

We spent several awesome hours sitting around the table debating, discussing, and most importantly spending time with each other. It was the perfect last night in Charlotte, and one of my favorites of the whole week.

dinner table

Sunday morning we packed up after breakfast, and made it back to Charlottesville just in time for me to get in my second run of the week (outside, yeah!) and a trip to the grocery store so there is food in the fridge.

It was an awesome week away, but I am so happy to be back home.  There are tons of tangents and additional updates to come — all worth the wait!

A Weekend of Workouts, Yoga, Friends + Yum

Last week was exciting, overwhelming, and completely packed.  Thanks to the rain that had been pouring down for days, we had to split up the bootcamp groups to bring them inside which meant early mornings every day.  When the sun finally came out on Friday morning, it was almost euphoric, and a definite prelude to a classically beautiful Charlottesville weekend.
morning bootcamp

The Friday bootcamp workout took us right up to the hour marker with a solid warmup and stretch followed by a chipper-style partner workout that took all the groups between 22-30 minutes.

The rules of the WOD were that both partners had to carry the med ball at some point during the run, and only one person’s work counted at any given time, so the resting partner was either at rest, or holding a plank, while the other was working.  The workout was:

  • 800m run w/med ball (12 or 20lbs)
  • 100 Box Jumps (resting partner held a plank)
  • 150 Kettlebell swings
  • 100 Push-ups
  • 150 Air squats (resting partner held a plank)
  • 800m run w/med ball (12 or 20lbs)

I worked out with the 7am group which was an awesome way to kick off the day.  I love getting a solid workout in early so I can either take the rest of the day easy, or take an afternoon run or walk when it’s nice out.  Dar actually offered an optional Saturday bootcamp to anyone that could make it, and found herself with a full house on Saturday morning for a killer Barbell Complex that I’m going to try out tomorrow morning.

The rest of Friday flew by with meetings and to-do lists in anticipation of a pretty awesome weekend.  As I shared a few weeks ago, two of my favorite people – Katie and Adam – were coming up from Charlotte to teach an inversion workshop at Opal Yoga here in Cville.  Neither of them had ever been to Charlottesville before, so it was game on to try and show them the most abridged version of everything that makes Charlottesville unbelievable.

We strolled the downtown mall, hit up the middle of Friday’s after five, and then made our way over to The Local for a long (and overdue) dinner.

The Local

The weather got a bit wonky as our drinks came out, so our awesome waitress let us move into the private wine room that was empty after a reservation cancellation.

the local wine room

I’m not sure if it could have gotten much better than that; great friends, amazing food, and the ability to hear each other and have very in-depth conversations – all surrounded by walls chock full of wine.  In the words of our friend Brandon: #notbadifyoulikeperfect.

And that wasn’t even all.  When we got home we had the most amazing treat, literally: cupcakes from one of our favorite friends, Anita, who is the sweet-genius behind Maliha Creations, and happens to also be our neighbor.  We had received (hand delivered by her three adorable children) lavender cupcakes with vanilla + lemon icing on Thursday night, only to be surprised with a second box of carrot cake cupcakes with caramel drizzle on Friday afternoon.

maliha creations - cupcakes

They were amazing.  Seriously amazing.  I love carrot cake, and these were especially good, but there was something so different and appealing about the combination of the lavender and lemon that I couldn’t get enough of.

lavender/lemon cupcake

They were the perfect way to end the night.

Saturday was a crazy morning that included, but was not limited to, 90 minutes of walking for me, getting locked out of the house with all of the keys and dogs inside (thanks Kristin for saving our lives with the million keys at the bottom of your bag), and the Charlottesville City Market.  With all of the bustling around town we got home with just enough time to make a quick salad before the yoga workshop.

grilled chicken salad

Pretty simple no-drama salad here: romaine, cucumber, avocado, grilled chicken, tomato.

The workshop was awesome, and we had a great group of well-intentioned, fun, and engaged yogi’s at Opal, which made it even more amazing.  Here are a few pics that Katie took to capture the event.

Opal workshop w/ Adam + Katie

Opal Workshop with Adam + Katie

Opal workshop with Adam + Katie

Even Dar got into it, and was able to knock ‘crow’ off of her to-do list in her first-ever attempt which is both impressive and really annoying to anyone who has ever struggled. But hey, coordination is coordination I suppose, and you know how she likes those functional movements.

After the workshop we took up four tables at Moto Pho Co AND One Meatball Place and played musical chairs (meals) for a while, getting to know each other a little better, inducting Katie and Adam into our culture (it wasn’t difficult) and enjoying the beautiful day that it turned out to be.

Since Adam also teaches music he and Katie had to head back to Charlotte last night so we capped off their visit with a necessary trip to Paradox Pastry, and then a tour of our top-secret, never been revealed location for the new Fight Gone MAD: Cville.  I think it’s safe to say you can expect to see them here again, hopefully sooner rather than later, and most definitely for some events around the grand opening of Fight Gone MAD, and anything else we can think of to bring them back.  If you have ideas of your own, inbox me, I’m taking all suggestions.

They gave me this awesome spice kit from Savory Spice Shop in Charlotte as a Thank you for having them, and I could not be more pumped to use them in some meals very soon.  Thank you guys!

spice kit

We already miss having them here, but I can’t exactly put into words how devastated Tank and Bug were that they left.  Tank took to Adam more (and faster) than he has ever taken to another human in his life, and bug was sure that she was going to get to live with Katie (and Mitch, wedgie, ralph + weaz).  They even practiced their own versions of sun salutations on the deck for an hour before giving up and settling into the couch. IMG_3454

What they don’t know is that we’re all heading to Charlotte tomorrow so they’ll get to see them again soon.  Until then, I’m going to take a few minutes to unwind before another crazy week begins.   Happy Mother’s day to all you moms out there!

Rainy Day of Work, Workouts + Clean Eats

The excitement from yesterday’s announcement is still lingering, but thankfully reality has also set back in because we have a ton going on and it’s time to get back to work!

In addition to all of the Fight Gone MAD developments, FemCity Charlottesville is moving into the spring with some pretty awesome spring and summer programming that we could not be more excited for.

541192_436518353026467_185930963_n

The next event is coming up on Thursday, May 30th, and is the kick-off to our Locavore Fem Dinner Series all highlighting local Fem business owners, FemCity members, and inspiring entrepreneurs, as well as local farm to table fare.  Space is limited to each dinner, so register ASAP to reserve your spot!

This is an amazing opportunity to connect with other amazing Charlottesville Fem’s in a small group, sharing your business or professional goals, asking for feedback or connections, and hearing about the amazing projects that everyone else is working on as well.  Share, collaborate, connect, that’s the idea.

We’ll be sharing some really exciting, big, events that we’ve got planned for the summer and early fall that you don’t want to miss.  They’re going to be great, and we look forward to a ton of great engagement from Fems and Fem businesses!

In other news, while today was definitely a busy one, I got a head start early this morning on returning emails, checking off my to-do list, and was able to easy into the day.  I had coffee first thing, but after the pizza and cider celebrations last night I wasn’t ready for food until about 9:30.

Breakfast was spaghetti squash, zucchini and eggs scrambled together.  I never would have assumed it, but the spaghetti squash really adds something to the eggs, more of a texture than a flavor, that I love.

scrambled eggs with spaghetti squash

After I ate and had a few minutes to wrap up some ‘office’ work, I managed to convince my mind, and body, that I should do Dar’s 10:30am small group session.  I was actually really glad that I did, and in the moment believed that I was done for the day, but alas, I ended up doing the workout a second time with the 5:30pm bootcamp group.  I’ll let you all know if I’m able to walk tomorrow.

Today we did a 6 station circuit:

-Around the World Oblique work with a 15lb bumper plate

-Overhead Squats (walking) with 10-20lb bumper plates overhead (with arms LOCKED out)

-Getup Sit ups with a 15lb barbell

-break dancers -or- mountain climbers

-wall sit (with or without a 10lb bumper plate overhead)

-TRX pikes or knees to elbows

Each station was 1 minute of work, with 30 seconds off, for three continuous rounds.

After the 5:30 class my body was demanding dinner so I tried to put to use what was left in the fridge.

I had spaghetti squash, ground turkey, a zucchini, a red pepper, an onion and the 365 brand pasta sauce (no added sugars!) that all went on the stove. It was all seasoned with kosher sea salt and my favorite everyday seasoning from Trader Joe’s, of course.

food skillet of goodness

For the salad I had romaine, blueberries, avocado, walnuts, and cucumber.  Pretty simple, but a great mix of flavors and colors.

salad

It was a great blend of different (random) ingredients, and definitely replenished everything that I needed following today’s double workouts and hours at the computer and running around the house trying to get re-organized.

Tomorrow is another day of bootcamps starting bright and early at 6:15 am, so I’m going to take my own most common advice and get some sleep so I’m not totally dragging.  The only bonus to all of the rain is that it really helps me sleep, so I’ll embrace it and just appreciate my sleep rather than being beside myself about missing the sunshine.  Fingers crossed that we really do get to 70 degrees tomorrow!

Exciting News + Living the 80/20

Yesterday was a big day.  It was a long time in coming, and a big exhale at the end of an immense amount of work for both Dar and I, our partnership group, and the Fight Gone MAD corporate team.  Here is the press release that went out yesterday afternoon:

fgm_generalrelease

fgm_generalslide2

Once the release went out and the buzz settled itself down, it was finally time for drinks, pizza, friends, and a big exhale.  To make things even better, the Bulls beat the Heat in game 1 of this playoff series, so Dar is convinced that this was the best day of her life.  I’m inclined to believe that the best day is still yet to come – there are some pretty exciting things on the horizon.

Yesterday we fully lived the 20% of our 80/20 health and fitness balance — today we get back to business, back to our workouts, and back to the #MADlifestyle that we’re so excited about. Stay tuned.

the best is yet to come