Maybe Everything: Returning to Passion with My HOOS

This has been a pretty exciting year of athletics for everyone in Charlottesville, or anyone who has ever been connected to UVa.  There were moments in the middle of the numbingly long winter where the only thing cheering our hearts and warming our blood was the basketball team that went on to win the ACC Championship and make waves in the NCAA tournament for the first time in far, far too long.

Now, here we are, just a few months later, staying up nights to watch the baseball team win their way to the College World Series finals.  Yes, it’s a great year to be a Wahoo (though, isn’t is always?) and while I’ve lost hours of sleep ( and years off my life)  anxiously staying up to watch the extra innings, I couldn’t be more aware of how proud I am to be a Wahoo.

Virginia_Cavaliers

More than winning, the real value of the excitement comes from how it brings us together; it reminds us of our first adult roots and the collective identity that drove our passion in our early twenties.  At this point in life the only thing that is ironically predictable are change and insecurity.  Relationships, jobs, cities – they are constantly changing – and suddenly it becomes apparent that the most stable years of our adult lives may truly have been the four-ish years we spent as undergrads, bleeding orange and blue and enjoying the steady bubble within Mr. Jefferson’s university.   Game day brings back our security, it reminds us we are a part of something bigger than just ourselves and this single moment in our own lives.  It reinforces that we are a part of this family that continues to grow;  a growing legacy of hearts beating for the same thing — and you know what? It feels damn good.

I have zero idea how tonight’s game is going to turn out, or if we’ll become the National Champions or not, because on some level it [almost] doesn’t matter.  These teams have already inspired us to dig down, remember where we came from, and hopefully feel a little more inspired tomorrow as we plug away wherever we are in our lives and the world.

That was a little bit of a soap box moment, but that’s just where I am.  I am inspired; I’m reminded of everything I love (and loved) about Virginia, what I poured my heart into while I was in school, and what I wanted to accomplish with my life and that passion when I walked down the lawn and carried myself into my future.  Which all begs the question of the moment –  when this passion is remembered and the energy is raw, what’s the plan?  I’ve leveraged that strong foundation to get to this place, to get to right now…. so what’s next?  Maybe everything.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Starting the Week with Sunday

Sundays are the days that I look forward to most – not just because it’s part of the weekend, but because it’s usually the re-grouping day.  It’s the day when my errands happen, groceries are stocked, and the chaos of the last week gets settled so life can be organized.  It’s also the day that I spend the most time in the kitchen, and is arguably the most involved dinner of the week.

Last night’s dinner included a grilled flank steak, grilled chicken thighs, roasted cauliflower (seasoned with sea salt and light olive oil), and a salad with kale (marinated for an hour in lemon juice), cucumbers, slivered roasted almonds, and avocado drizzled with olive oil and sea salt.

fuel sweat grow: sunday dinner

While I like the therapeutic process of Sunday meal prep, the absolute best part about Sunday dinner is Monday lunch.

fuel sweat grow: monday leftovers lunch

I am such a huge kale fan in the summer because I’m on the go so much, and when I’m packing lunch for work it is the ABSOLUTE best and easiest salad to have.  I can make a huge salad on sunday, and leave the lemon juice (or lime juice) and olive oil dressing on it, and it just makes the greens softer and more flavorful.  Other greens just get soggy and slimy with dressing, or wilt when prepared dry in advance.

Today I threw all the leftovers in together to make a sweet combo lunch for work and it was even better than last night.  There’s nothing better than heading into a busy work week prepared with meals and snacks to sustain you, and nothing worse than walking in unprepared and hangry even before the case of the Mondays has sunk in.

This week I’m back in Charlotte after an extended stay back in Charlottesville, and while I’ve got a lot of great things going on this week, it’s hard to watch the HOOS in the College World Series and not miss the homeland.  I took this picture walking over to Friday’s after Five last week, and just love the little piece of the city and the huge part of our community culture that it captures, so please, indulge me for a second with this extra boost of Cville love.

fuel sweat grow: Fridays after five

In other news, I want to send a big congratulations to my dear friend Tracie Chan on opening MADabolic LKN, in the Huntersville/Lake Norman area north of Charlotte.  I absolutely can’t wait to come up an get in on the MADness with her this week, and I hope all of my Lake-living co-workers and friends will check it out too.  Better yet, let’s go together, and then get coffee.  Maybe on Sunday, my favorite day of the week.

 

Durable Weekend: Moving, Brunch + Wahoowa

The weekend was an exercise in durability for me, all around, but was sweetly padded with these stems on Friday night from Robin, the lovely owner of Tru Pilates here in Charlottesville.

fuel sweat grow: friday flowers

Little did she know that we were testing her most durable nature Saturday morning at MADabolic (sorry!) with a killer combination of movements packed into our Twice As Nice interval.  [Disclaimer: the ‘Nice’ part of the name is slightly deceptive — just ask Throck (pictured below).]

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Durability

Immediately following my test of will in the interval, it was time to move yet another 16′ container of all my earthly belongings into the new house.  ON a normal day this would have been tasking, but after my early morning abuse it was absolutely brutal.  By the end of the night I was ready to collapse, and I’m assuming that’s what happened since in retrospect I have zero idea what I even did.

Sunday morning included a stop in at MAD to get a few items in order, and then brunch at Beer Run.  My short review of brunch: it’s possible to eat clean, but the presentation and amount of food is underwhelming at best.

fuel sweat grow: beer run brunch

 

It was well past my normal morning eating time when we got the food, so I ate the whole thing in about two seconds.  I had the snow white omleette [basil, purple onion, cherry tomatoes, spinach, and whole eggs] which really was good — but I could have eaten two for sure.

After brunch I actually made a follow up smoothie with ice, coconut milk, cold brew coffee from Stock, a spoonful of almond butter, banana, a tiny bit of vanilla extract, and a touch of raw cocoa powder for a little kick of flavor.  It was good – SO good.

The rest of the day flew by with some pool time and last, but certainly not least, the UVa v. Ole Miss game in the College World Series – and a crazy walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth.  Seriously, I’m not a fan of the high-anxiety, right-up-to-the-last-out, kind of games, but I agree that it truly adds to the excitement – as long as we win in the end.

Late night stress aside, it was a damn good night for UVa and a great way to kick off another 5-day haul.

 

Work Week Closeout: Friday the 13th

There are good weeks, and bad weeks, and then the weeks that come out of no where to remind you that the universe certainly has a sense of humor (a bonus to the previous 30 years of undeniable proof).  This has been a week of everything, and the fact that we’ve still got one day left actually intrigues me more than anything else — like the mystery surprise in the cracker jack box, or a sneeze…but better.  It’s Friday the 13th y’all, so I’m moving methodically to push through the final day of the work week so I can coast into the weekend.

In addition to being Friday, it is also day 5 of 28toLife for our small real food army, and I’m feeling great.  Wednesday night turned into an impromptu Bachlorette viewing party and post-MAD dinner with some of the usual crew.  The provisions in the fridge were dwindling down to nothing, so I made the best of what was left over, and despite my personal opinion that it could not have been more random, it was voted high on the charts of favorite meals from this group.

[Kale salad with slivered almonds; lime, olive oil, and salt dressing….again]

fuel sweat grow: kale salad

[Broiled/roasted cauliflower and brussel sprouts; touch of sea salt and olive oil]

fuel sweat grow: cauliflower and brussels

[Ground turkey simmered with zucchini.  Period.]

fuel sweat grow: ground turkey

It all seemed like an unlikely (and kind of sad) combination, but together it actually created a pretty awesome meal and got us through what could have been a food shortage crisis.

fuel sweat grow: real food dinner

Last night I met up with a good friend at Commonwealth to catch up so I have nothing new to share on the home cooking front, but stay tuned for some ‘dining out’ options and updates — always a question and a hot topic related to how NOT to become a social recluse and still eat clean.

On the sweat side of things, here’s this week in small snapshots from MADabolic:

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Cville

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Cville

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Cville

 

I still owe a full recap on last weekends MADrave, but for now, I’ll let C-Ville Weekly do it for me with this awesome review of the event.  Now that we’re over the major hurdles of the spring, the MADcharleston opening, and a million other small milestones we can really focus on the next phase of this great fitness family and building off of this first event into a deep and longstanding relationship — my favorite kind.

For now, that’s a wrap and I’m off to complete this work-day, squeeze in a quick run and enjoy a night of drinks with friends, Friday’s After Five, and dinner with my family.  Not too bad for a Friday the 13th, but I don’t want to speak too soon…

Day 1 of 28: Real Food + ‘Real’ Life

Day 1 of 28 is in the books — and it was a great one.

I had done my due diligence of stocking the fridge and cabinets with all of my favorite clean foods and ingredients, but I completely failed on the Sunday prep piece so meals today were a little bit of a scramble (and a lot off schedule) but it all worked out.

I’m not big on early breakfasts, so I typically start myself off with coffee, and today in order to ease my way back into the swing of things I grabbed my favorite almond milk latte from Milli Joe and got to work.  By mid-morning I was ready for some breakfast — Eggs scrambled with zucchini/yellow squash and mushrooms – avocado on the side (standard).

breakfast Eggs

Prior to 28toLife I didn’t eat eggs more than a couple times a week, and now they’re definitely a staple.  I still try to abide by the food pairing rules: Protein (eggs – and sometimes meat); carbs (vegetables); fat (avocado) and it really does make all the difference in how long my energy is sustained and what that level is to begin with.

Breakfast and snacks are always the toughest meals to stay on track with, so I always try to make extra of everything when I do cook so there is something to reach for when I need it.  If you have a quick morning routine, I highly recommend making a big batch on Sunday to grab and go on Monday/Tuesday morning, or even make them while you’re cooking dinner the night before.  Since I typically don’t get hungry until 9 or 10am for actual food, having something to pack and take to work with me is a life saver.

fuel sweat grow: Kale Salad & Stock Provisions

Lunch yesterday came a little late (and rushed) after the 12:15 MAD class, but it turned out to be a winner.  Kale, softened slightly with lime juice (did this first and let it sit for the 10 mins it took to get the rest ready), and avocado, almond slices, hard boiled egg and grilled chicken on top.  The dressing was finished off with a little olive oil and sea salt, and was exactly what I needed.

The background items are two of my new favorite local finds (thanks Elly!): cold brew coffee and fresh farm eggs from Stock Provisions on Main Street (just next to Bellas!).  I’m addicted to cold brew to begin with, but I can’t say enough about how amazing and fluffy these eggs are.  It’s actually disappointing to eat store bought eggs after having experienced these guys.

Dinner came a little later after I helped my parents unload a 16′ truck of furniture into the new, aptly named, ‘summer house’ they closed on the Rivanna in Cville yesterday, adding one more layer to the amazing summer to come (and their retirement winters).  Don’t worry guys, I’ll make sure the pool gets plenty of attention until you get here.

fuel sweat grow: rivanna summer house

Since I had pretty much had two full workouts by the end of the furniture moving sweat session, I just needed a little refuel without getting too complicated.

fuel sweat grow: broccoli slaw, chicken, avocado

Broccoli Slaw sauted in coconut oil, grilled chicken, and avocado.  It was exactly what I wanted, and with a little apple + almond butter later on for dessert, I was all set to close out on day 1 of my return to ‘real’ food.

I’m hoping to carve out a little time tomorrow to get some end of week meals prepped, but until then I’ve got some chicken, salad, and great snack/smoothie options awaiting to keep things on track.

Here’s my sweat schedule for the week!

Monday: MADabolic [+ manual labor] = done!

Tuesday: Run + Stretch

Wednesday: MADabolic

Thursday: MADabolic + Stretch

Friday: MADabolic

Saturday: Run/Walk + Yoga!; Come get MAD with me at 9:30 in MADville!

Sunday: Kickball w/ the MADabolic Team!

 

Returning to MADville + Real [Clean] Food

Last Monday was the official first day of business for MADabolic Charleston, and if you told me it was two months ago, I would believe you, 100%.  The last four weeks have included a ton of travel, way too many hoops to jump through, and a complete and total sense of chaos that is just beginning to settle.  Along with the MADness, there was lots of food — great food — and wine.

The great part of opening fitness concepts is that you typically get to workout a decent amount, but the restaurant hopping really took it’s toll on my energy and overall wellbeing.

Prior to leaving for Charlotte and Charleston I had committed, along with several of our clients in MADville, to kick of 28toLife this week.  While I always tend to teeter on the edge of a modified version, and typically try to eat 80/20, the detox from the last four weeks had me SO incredibly ready to get back into the full routine of planned eating.

On Wednesday night I hit up Trader Joes to get some of the most essential staples for survival.  I had gotten into the habit of making the quick trip to Whole Foods out of convenience, and forgot just how much more expensive it is — which will have to be a post of it’s own.

fuel sweat grow: trader joes grocery cart

So, starting back at the basics, here’s the note that I sent out to our small (but mighty) group of real food freedom eaters to kick off the next 28 days:

The Rules:
-no grains
-no dairy
-no sugar
-no alcohol
-no legumes (soy, beans, peanuts, etc)
Basically, nothing comes out of a box or package.  Below is my most standard grocery list for survival :
– Chicken (breasts or thighs)
– ground beef (or turkey / chicken)
– applegate farms chicken sausage
– yellow & purple onion
– zucchini / yellow squash
– red/orange/yellow bell pepped
– mushrooms
– cauliflower
– celery
– carrots
– spaghetti squash
– avocado (MANY)
– asparagus
– (local) Keswick Gourmet Marinara Sauce (this is the local option at Whole Foods — and they typically carry the most local brand in each market)
– kale
– romaine
– cucumbers
– broccoli slaw (only at Trader Joe’s)
– blueberries
– green apples (usually 6, but if i’m making the streusel recipe about a dozen+)
– bananas
– strawberries
– almond butter
– coconut oil
– sesame seed (or safflour) oil
– coconut oil
– coconut milk (light)
– eggs
– plantain chips (only at Trader Joes — NOT to be confused with banana chips)
– almonds (whole, slivered)
– sunflower seeds
-lemons
-limes
This isn’t totally exhaustive, but for the most part every recipe that I make that is an ‘everyday’ recipe includes these ingredients.  Every once in a while I’ll really branch out, but that’s if I’m trying to follow a recipe from someone else, or get a little creative.  When I do 28toLife everything else (for the most part) gets totally cleaned out and only the good stuff is left, and that makes it so much easier to pick the right things and really prep food.
The easiest thing to do is on a Sunday night (or any night really) make a big dinner with several sides and spend some extra time chopping things up (like zucchini or celery, etc) to have ready for cooking or snacks.  I’ll also usually roast a spaghetti squash or two on Sunday while I have time and will then have it ready in the fridge for meals that I don’t have a ton of time for during the week.
Here’s a post with our favorite quick breakfast option (Apple Streusel ‘Muffins’) which do require some time to make in advance, but are easily kept in the fridge or frozen
This Thai Chicken Stir-Fry is probably my favorite rainy-day or winter meal, but it’s still awesome in the summer with cauliflower rice OR over spaghetti squash. There are no exact measurements, but the feedback we’ve come up with is that adding a little more coconut milk for a thinner sauce is better than a really thick one.
This is by far my favorite meal and the best replacement for spaghetti and meatballs/meat sauce.  It keeps AMAZINGLY well as leftovers, so this is a great one to make in excess and pack up for lunches during the week.
And that’s where it begins.  Tomorrow morning, it begins with breakfast, and most likely the biggest Almond Milk Latte that Milli Joe can make.
Lets do this!