Grounding Out with Connections: Friends + Lyrical

The major hope of starting off the day with an intention is to take aim at a positive direction and focus on being present in the moment — not the one before, and not anticipating the one after.  Some days it works, and some days it doesn’t, but I have to believe that even the latter days are better off than they would have been if the first moment started off with hope and warmth.

fuel sweat grow: life

The last few days have been chaotic, for sure — I can’t seem to find a dull moment — but starting off with a little more intention, and winding down at the end – far from any part of the day really helped the struggles in the middle be quickly forgotten.

Of course there was wine, and amazing food — but they seemed pretty trivial in comparison to the great conversation with a good friend… though the combination of the three is, of course, unbeatable.  No matter what life brings, or where it inevitable goes I have always found that the greatest escapes from life seem to come in the forms of great friends, conversation, and when it’s a really amazing night, music.

fuel sweat grow: Ten Charlottesville Sushi

Dinner  at Ten was the prelude to an amazing Kate Voegele show at The Southern.  Kate is awesome.  I came across her music maybe 5 years ago completely by mistake (or good fortune?) and she quickly made her way onto my iPod’s top 25 most played.  She writes her songs, which I love, and they all tell stories that connect and inspire .  Each album, for me, has a different associated time period, life stage, and perspective on growth that is immediately triggered and brings the memories to life whenever I hear one of the songs.  I love that.  The good memories, and the bad; the bittersweet and the empowering.  I love them all.

IMG_8970This was the first stop on Kate’s tour, debuting her new EP (that you absolutely need to go buy here).  I actually met her a few years back (in what feels like my former life) at a LXM Pro game in Philly, and I can attest to her being pretty awesome.  I say that, somewhat, because in the 5 short minutes I talked to her (after a year of knowing her music) I decided it was true, but largely also because she married a fellow Wahoo (Cavaliers, respect) and I happen to know him to be legit.

Kate’s husband Brett is one of the founders of Lacrosse the Nations, and you can find him, just like Kate, traveling all around the world, basically promoting human connection.  Both of their lives, and talents, are focused on finding meaning in the stories of people they may not know, or have any real reason to know; they take time to relate (through song, sport, or simple existence) and give back to the world through all the heart and soul they put into their work.  Fundamentally, and for what I believe to be good reason, I feel like that deserves the sort of immediate respect that isn’t usually granted to strangers you’ve only knows for 5 minutes.  On Wednesday night I went to experience that connection in person, and for myself; I stood with great friends, in my favorite town and this current life that sometimes feels so distant from the past, finding connection with the stories of this essential stranger.

I went to bed full on the re-connection to my past selves, not for the sake of dwelling, but more to connect to their impact on the present, and that feels like a pretty important thing these days.  Remembering the past, only to find more value and purpose in the present — I can dig that.

I don’t know exactly what tomorrow is going to look like (though my planner does have some pretty positive insight), but today, where I stand right now — that’s what matters — and from this vantage point, it’s a pretty great place to be.

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Between the Verses: July in a Lyrical Nutshell

July was a very long month; with work, travel, grand opening parties, and all things life, it required a conscious push to march hard toward each thing that was ‘next’ on the docket.  It was a definite challenge to constantly fire on all cylinders, but it was worth it, and thankfully interrupted by a handful of very memorable and unreasonably perfect summer nights.

While summer nights in Charlottesville all typically equate to the good life, there was one Saturday in particular that stood out from the rest.  It had been a pretty full day of MADness (see this post for a more macro level recap) and life-things, so by the time 5pm rolled around, I was ready for a low-key summer cville night and I knew exactly where I wanted to go: the Sarah Bareilles concert at the n’Telos Wireless Pavillion downtown.

fuel sweat grow: sarah bareilles charlottesville

It might not necessarily sound like a relaxing night — going to a concert — but one of the most beautiful things about Charlottesville is just how accessible and intimate the entire downtown scene is, concert venues included.  You would think that being such a small town with smaller venues might not attract the same caliber of artists, but it’s just the opposite.  We are spoiled.

By 5:15 I had convinced Elly and Dar to come with me; at 5:30 I had all of our tickets in hand.  By 6pm I had picked them up in the party bus (enjoy the slightly exaggerated mental image) and we were en-route to Bella’s for a little pre-show wine and dinner. It was the perfect prelude to a ladies night out, and I didn’t think it could get much better – but it did.

fuel sweat grow: sarah bareilles charlottesville

The weather was perfect.  No humidity, low heat, rain AND insect free; a seemingly impossible combination.  Add on a box seat upgrade from MAD auto girl herself, Jamie Schwartz, and you’ve got the best of everything right there.  Also, she played this song, which might have completed my life.

fuel sweat grow: sarah bareilles cville

Fast forward two and a half weeks; skipping over week 1 of work back in Charlotte, all of the adventures in Charleston for the Grand Opening party, CLT work week 2, and say hello to this past Monday which brought the 2nd Installment of Sarah Bareilles into my summer, this time with 3rd row seats at the Uptown Amphitheater at the Music Factory.

fuel sweat grow: sarah bareilles

Sometimes you just need it; lyrical connection, live music, an escape from the day to day, and a night out with friends.  The Charlotte show brought another night of seemingly impossible summer weather: no humidity, low 80’s, and just a general calm in the air that lends itself directly to a state of relaxed euphoria.  Tack on 5 people I love, and you’re really gaining momentum.

fuel sweat grow: sarah Bareilles

I’m not sure what it is about this particular artist; if it’s the nostalgic connection some of her songs have to my happiest and most painful memories, or if just the perfect storm of conditions and known songs was enough to peel back every layer of stress and concern that have formed around me, but I seriously considered quitting my life to follow this tour and see if I can find all the answers somewhere between the verses.

Since I had this same feeling at the Delta Rae show in Charlotte just a couple of months back (good thing it was their last tour date), I’m going to chock it up to being a love and connection for music – live music specifically – and am committing to doing a better job of making time for these blissful life escapes.  We all need a break from time to time; a recharge, and reconnection, to reflect and process the chaos that came before and will undoubtedly come after.

So, that being said….who’s got any good suggestions for must-see shows?

 

[Foam] Rolling Through Another Cville Weekend

On Tuesday afternoon I thought that this week may never end, but now, as we get ready to turn the page to what then was ‘next week’, I’m realizing that I’m already behind on tomorrow.

We’ve already ‘rolled’ through our Foam Rolling Clinic with Airrosti at MADabolic (Charlottesville), and are just under a week out from our Grand Opening Party at MADabolic (Charleston) – which if it’s anything like that community, is going to be incredible all around.  I’m heading back to Charlotte on Tuesday to squeeze a few days in the office before heading to Charleston.   Since I’ll be gone for the rest of the month,  I’ve been packing in every last second of Cville summer life while I can.

There are parts of my split and transient life that I love; the amazing friends, communities, and teams that I get to look forward to seeing in all the Charl-cities that I land in – but it’s the transitions out that are hard.   And of course,  leaving my little love bug behind is the absolute worst (even if she is so pre-occupied with her camp friends and holding down the fort in ‘her office’ at MAD to probably even notice).

fuel sweat grow: Bug Says MADness

After my much needed R&R on Monday, I got back into the MAD intervals on Tuesday and Wednesday, both of which were absolute crushers.  My arms and legs were so sore by Thursday that I had to make a point to walk around my office every 30 or so minutes, standing during conference calls, and finally at 6pm managed to run it out with a slow and steady 5 miles.  Friday was off in preparation for what was a very, very, MAD weekend.

Saturday morning the weekend crew was out in full force with waitlisters on deck to get in to all classes, as well as the Foam Rolling Clinic with Airrosti.  I played coach support and amateur photographer in the 8:30 class, and got to sweat it out in the 9:30.

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Intervals

The Foam Rolling Clinic was led by Page, our favorite Airrosti guru and client, and was so unbelievably needed by all of us – judging from the groans and nauseous looks that were spread across the room.  Our community is so incredibly committed to our intervals and intensity, the clean eating we love to promote, and the strict rules about being on time and doing the full warmup, but its so much less prevalent to see anyone take more than a few quick minutes to really work-out the days work with a little foam roller or lacrosse ball.  And I’m fully open to the reality that I’m probably the worst – over the last year my yoga attendance has decreased by several thousand percent, and stretch class?  I wish.   This is definitely something that I’ll be talking more about (and committing completely to) to give back a little love to my body that I ask so much of.

Today was the first weekend that I’ve been in Charlottesville where I haven’t made it up to at least check in with the classes, but I just needed a morning to sleep, and slowly prepare for the day; long coffee, dog time, and then my favorite home cooked eggs for breakfast.

We had a 1pm kickball game – yes, that’s right, we have a MAD kickball team, made up of just a small sample of our awesome clients, friends, and coaches.

fuel sweat grow: MAD kickball

fuel sweat grow: MAD kickball

fuel sweat grow: MAD kickball

We’re not exactly Championship bound, but we do have a perfect record (it’s all how you look at it …backwards helps), but it’s a great group and a really fun way to sweat a little differently.

After the game I actually hit up MAD to get my sweat in for the day, just a little bit off the grid.  Heading there I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do – would it be today’s interval that I missed, or the one coming up for tomorrow?  In the end I decided on my own flashback to college, full out slideboard interval series that I would do with my strength coach as part of my cross-training and rehab when I was injured.  I needed a little break from weights, and it was perfect – details coming in the next couple days on what it all entailed after my Apollo Ono stance was put into action.  I think I missed my calling….but I also think I seriously missed the height cap for that sport, so I’ll settle for just living the dream when I can in the privacy of my own workout.

fuel sweat grow: slideboard speed skaters

To wrap up this very incomplete summary of an amazing weekend (including also Sarah Bareilles live at the Pavillion and dinner at Bella’s); here’s the short story of Sunday night dinner, as I love to make it with as many leftovers as I think the week can possibly handle:

fuel sweat grow: sunday night dinner in cville

[Steak (fresh ribeye, and flank steak from Whole Foods); brussel sprouts and broccoli slaw, both sautéed in coconut oil with a little crank of himalayan sea salt on top; roasted/grilled cauliflower; and a kale salad with cucumber, avocado, and a fresh lemon juice and olive oil dressing.]

All in all, it’s been a crazy-beautiful Charlottesville summer weekend and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Charlotte, I think I might actually be ready for you this week – and I’m certainly ready for your yoga.

CLT Revisited: Friends, Food + Fitness

I’ve been back in Charlottesville for over a week now, which means it’s (obviously) due time to circle back to my Charlotte trip and squeeze in a few things that got left out of the few-and-far-between updates as of late.

I have a ton going on right now with my attention being pulled in a million directions, so when I’m in Charlotte (especially when I’m in Charlotte) I know it’s important to emphasize sweats and structure in my day to stay focused and have the energy to knock the to-do’s off my list.

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From a sweat perspective, I spent most of my time bouncing between Fight Gone MAD and Flywheel and loved every second of it.  That being said, since both are pretty intense, every 3-4 days I would take a day to myself to run or walk (especially during the beach trip) giving a little solo time to myself and my body.  The most key piece of that experience for me is always music, and new (at least new to me) songs and playlists.

I managed to fill my adventures with some new choice songs that are definitely going to be deemed the ‘Summer of ’13 Soundtrack’ for my life, but none more frequently played (in its entirety) than the Delta Rae ‘Carry the Fire’ album.  I would not necessarily recommend it for high intensity workouts, or anything where you’re looking to really find increased motivation and energy, but it’s awesome for a walk, long run, or just basic listening.

If you want to test your own willingness to be vulnerable and do a little at-home therapy, lay on the floor and shut your eyes while you listen to their single ‘If I loved You,’ and let your mind wander to the past, or present, and the many complex and heart breaking layers of relationships, life, and trying to do the right thing.  The song is about as powerful as it gets and could probably bring the strongest of souls down to their knees- so listen at your own risk my friends.

On a much more upbeat note, I was also able to catch up with some amazing friends in Charlotte that I don’t usually get to see, and loved getting to catch up with over sweats, eats, and even a little jewelry.

I met my friend Cara for a walk around her neighborhood (and a ‘surprise’ walk to Harris Teeter to buy a few kitchen items she was out of  – coupons present a sense of urgency people.  We’ve always walked together, and use the time to get in a little physical and mental therapy.  It’s probably one of my favorite friend sweat rituals because it helps restore balance to my whole being and gives us a chance to reconnect, a process that takes all of about 5 seconds.   I have a number of larger take-aways from our conversations that will be part of future blogs and would be far too minimized to squeeze into a paragraph here.

The day after my walk with Cara, and post-Fight Gone MAD class, I ventured over to reconnect with my favorite little bulldog – Suki.

fuel sweat grow: suki Mcdermott-White

Suki is the four-legged fur baby, and jewelry model, of my friend Erin McDermott (White) who is one of my absolute favorite people on earth (and the only person that I seem to buy Jewelry from anymore).

Erin is in Charlottesville every couple of weeks so I do see her pretty regularly, but it had been almost a year since my last smooch from Suki so I took the opportunity to catch her at home while I could.  Suki has crazy awesome energy and calmed down on my lap only when it meant full neck to belly button rubs – oh and when we put a necklace on her.  Like any good model she knows when its business time and sat still(ish) in her chair for the photo op.

While I was there Erin handed me some earrings that were the nearest replicas to old favorites that I had back in college and lost somewhere during my journeys.

Erin McDermott earrings

I had sent her pictures several months back asking for re-creations, even though they were not the typical style she normally makes.  I had actually forgotten about it totally, but she had remembered and when she was working with another jewelry designer that had the right scraps and tools, they gave them a shot.  They are perfect.  I think they’re going to try and team up on some different sizes and variations which I could not be more excited about (and you should be too).

Since I can never get out of Erin’s without making additional purchases, I picked up a few extra tidbits including an elephant necklace that had been waiting for me to get it.

Erin McDermott: elephant

And some more droplet earrings to go with my collection of the similar items in Erin’s line.

Erin McDermott Jewelry

My last two special friend-visits were happily done over lunch, one with my amazing friend Lauren who is always sweating towards some goal – this time the Baltimore + NYC marathons in the fall.  She and I hit up Bad Daddy’s which is one of my all-time favorites, and lunch was a CYO salad of romaine, mushrooms, apples, cucumbers, walnuts, avocado, and grilled chicken with a vinagrette on the side.  No picture to share, but the combination is awesome for summer.

While Bad Daddy’s is a go-to spot, I think I found a new winning salad when I grabbed lunch with my friend Cadie at Nolan Kitchen.  I got the house seasonal salad which is typically a kale salad with beets, tomatoes, herbed goat cheese, pistachios, pita croutons and a honey-sumac dressing.  I added Chicken and some additional (spring) greens to mine, and can say with all honesty this is my favorite salad, probably ever.

fuel sweat grow: nolans seasonal salad

So, those were the fringe updates on my trip to Charlotte with a few more sweats, eats, and suki/jewelry treats.

All of these things were awesome and made me happy in my heart, which is really all I could have hoped for and totally completed the trip.  And best of all? Erin is now a Fight Gone MAD addict (like so many of us) and I can’t wait for her to workout with us in Charlotte at the South End location, and when she’s up visiting in Charlottesville.  Suki is welcome too, of course.