Vacation and Barre + Conchella and Table 7: June Revisited

It’s been a while since I’ve had a few minutes to sit, process, and share anything more than just a single moment in time.  The last month has been filled with celebrations, construction, some serious bouts of hard core work, and the significant kind of family time that can only come from celebrations of life and love.

After celebrating Year 1 of MADabolic Charleston being open, it was time for vacation…and one that had been long since due.  Since I’m historically (and deeply) terrible at committing to vacation, it was incredibly important that this trip had deep roots, and thankfully, this one had the deepest kind of roots I could ask for – Morini Roots.

My dad’s the oldest of 5 kids in his (Italian) family, and his youngest brother Mikey (aka Big Mike) was getting married, so you better believe the M side rolled in strong for the occasion.   Neither the photos or my words will be able to do the setting or experience justice, but I’ll certainly throw out a few feeble attempts to at least tee it up.

fuel sweat grow: Gansevoort Turks and CaicosThis is the Gansevoort in Turks and Caicos, arguably one of the best places you could go if you’re looking for beauty and relaxation with both a pool and beach setting.   It also happens to be the partner resort for the Exhale Spa in Turks, which means all the life forces in my life converged (just missing MADabolic) and set up a vacation scenario that would be next to impossible to argue with.  In addition to their regular spa treatments, they also have twice a day classes at the outdoor studio, offering Exhale’s signature barre, cardio barre, sport, and yoga classes, which we’re so pumped is the same programming and training we’re bringing to b:core methods in Charlottesville. So basically, this was a business trip, or at least that’s what I’m going to try and sell my accountant on.

Envisioning the studio during my pre-vacation daydreams, I never considered an outdoor space, so I was a little caught off guard when we headed to our first class and found this al fresco setting for our morning sweat.

fuel sweat grow: exhale barre studio Turks and caicos

fuel sweat grow: Exhale barre studio Turks and CaicosThat being said, I absolutely loved it.  While I’m not really living in a geographic market that could ever sustain a full blown outdoor studio, the whole setting really played into the island lifestyle, the absolutely euphoric fresh salt air, and quite honestly my need for some real good sweating to detox from all the food and wine.  The instructors we had were awesome (what up Kim and Josie!) and were so welcoming and open to to Dar and I especially, knowing that we’re just weeks away from bringing this same method and class to life in Cville.  The universal language of barre as it’s been so fully and authentically taught to us by the founders and pillars of the method, is on the whole is something that is pretty incomparable these days in fitness, so we feel beyond grateful to be able to deepen these connections away from the home base.

After class our typical routine was to have ‘second breakfast,’ the better half of ‘first breakfast’ which was largely made up of coffee and just the basic ‘barre class survival’ fruits that were absolutely necessary to survive cardio barre.  Second breakfast included more coffee (obviously), fresh fruit, egg scramble or omelets (MTO), a side of bacon, and of course, my iPad so I could keep up with email, the MAD communities, and our b:core buildout.

fuel sweat grow: Turks and Caicos and b:core buildout

The rest of the day was a combination of pooling, beaching, napping, and showering before assembling the family again for the schedule of nightly events (both leading up to and following the actual wedding).  The family update will come at a later date since there’s some more reflection to be had there, but here are a few of my favorite shots from the wedding events, so eat your hearts out instafriends.

fuel sweat grow: Conchella at Da Conch Shack Turks and Caicos

fuel sweat grow: Conchella Turks and Caicos

fuel sweat grow: Conchella Turks and Caicosfuel sweat grow: Conchella Wedding Turks and Caicos

fuel sweat grow: Conchella wedding Turks and Caicos

fuel sweat grow: Conchella Wedding Turks and Caicos

If you’re up for the full scope look at what went down on that island, well, too bad, you’re going to have to settle for my piecemeal accounts and photos, or the slightly more diverse instagram version by streaming #conchella and getting a glimpse into more perspectives.  Or, if you’re really into it, go to about 7:10 in to this clip, and get another first hand account of the wedding week.  Mmm hmm, yeah.

That’s the quick and dirty of vacation barre / wedding-ing, minus the deep thoughts and over-sensitive feelers surrounding all things family at the moment, and the million+ things that are on the docket for the now and upcoming moments of life.

fuel sweat grow: Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

Until next time, good night, and sleep tight.  Turks, I miss you even more terribly now that I’ve forced myself to look at all these pictures again. Sigh.

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The Crunch: time + greens

I think I’m obsessed with kale.  I’ve always liked it just fine, but recently I’ve been craving it.

Usually when my body tells me it’s craving leafy greens I go with it – it knows better than I do – and with all the craziness of the last few months I just need a little more from my food.

We’re about two weeks out from opening the doors to Fight Gone MAD – Charlottesville, and it has been far less than a smooth buildout so we’re all feeling the time crunch.  In fact, I’d say it’s been a borderline nightmare on what should have been a simple project, so the extra anxiety has taken its toll on my body (or sanity).  So, in the spirit of making good of what is possible – I bought kale.  Lots of kale.

Kale

Since I live by the motto, ‘when in Whole Foods.’ I stopped by the meat counter to stock up on some of my favorite grass-fed cuts.

whole foods meat

Whole Foods happened to also be running a deal on chicken breasts, so I got a family pack to go with this meal, and the meat was stocked in the fridge for another meal to come (soon).

fuel sweat grow: food blog kale salad

For greens we had kale and asparagus – kale for the salad and asparagus to be grilled along with the cauliflower and chicken.

Fuel sweat grow: cauliflower + asparagus

In the salad the kale was met with some cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, and a little added spring mix.  A quick knock off of the House Seasonal salad at Nolen Kitchen in Charlotte I shared a few weeks back – it was exactly what I wanted.  Kale has an amazing crunch to it, while also being leafy, so the mixture of the different lettuces adds a great texture.

fuel sweat grow: kale salad

I made some guacamole as a side (with sliced carrot chips), and it doubled as the salad dressing.  It doesn’t take much on the fork or on a piece of lettuce to give it some flavor and saved me the trouble of getting into an oil/vinegar mixture.

guacamole: fuel sweat grow

This meal is exactly right for green-craving day.

fuel sweat grow: kale salad with chicken

It was so good that Bug achieved stalker status (two notches above begging) and employed her deep breath + audible sigh technique to voice her displeasure.

Bug says: stalking

As far as sweats go, I’ve been doing mostly around-town running this past week, fitting in to whatever time slot I have open, actually running to the location to meet with contractors and our super awesome property manager Fabian.

I did manage to slip in some few and far between garage workouts, one of which was last night (a Saturday nonetheless) at 8:45pm.  It definitely felt late, and being post-dinner was a little tougher to mentally cope with, but I needed the sweat, badly, and it was totally worth it.

I still owe updates on our training at Fight Gone MAD (Inc)’s flagship in Charlotte with our management team, and initial team of trainers, but until then, here’s a little peek at some of the canvases waiting to find their new home on the walls in Charlottesville.

fuel sweat grow: MADness photos

fuel sweat grow: fight gone mad canvases

Sweating + Working and Celebrating America

I keep thinking that it’s Saturday, but alas, it’s just Thursday so nobody panic.  We still have 3.5 sweet days left in this weekend and I, for one, intend to use them all.

Since getting back from Charlotte last week I’ve been a catch up and settle in cycle that can only be described as organizational chaos.  Thankfully I’ve squeezed in enough sweats to keep my brain functioning and my body awake.

Sunday required planning + body testing Tuesday’s bootcamp workout, which I was more than happy to oblige to since I needed a little circuit to get myself going in the morning.

The time table looked like this:

  • 45 seconds on / 15 seconds off (rotating through each station once per round)
  • 1 minute of rest in between rounds
  • 5 full rounds of high intensity pace

And the menu was:

  • Kettlebell RDL (option of 12, 16, or 20 kg kettlebells)
  • Medicine Ball Thrusters (holding ball at chest squat full down, drive up through heels extending arms and ball overhead while fully extending hip flexors)
  • Kettlebell twist (using 10 or 12 kg bells – slight dip with hips twisting to one side + pop up to extend hip flexor and twist bell to opposide side of body.  All while keeping an engaged core + strong back)
  • Turkish Getup w/barbell
  • Slamballs (12 or 20lb)

After testing this Sunday, Monday was a welcomed day for a long run + walk around town to slow things down a little and lengthen out the soreness in my glutes and hamstrings.

Tuesday morning was a boocamp morning which means a bright and early 5-something in the morning wake up, and kicking off the day with the 6 + 7am classes.  Per usual everyone rocked it, and we shot this picture of part of the 6am gang after the workout.

fuel sweat grow: 6am bootcampers

Usually I’ll try to swap coaching times with Dar if I can convince her, and I’ll take the 6am and she can take the 7 (if we feel so athletically inclined in those early morning hours) but Tuesday I happily delayed my activity until the afternoon and took a quick 2 mile warm up run before doing the circuit for the second time in three days with the 5:30pm group.  (I’m not pictured because apparently I have the most superior photo-taking skills – or at least that’s the reason I give myself.)

fuel sweat grow: 5:30pm boot campers

Meals this week have also been slightly chaotic, and have involved far more restaurant food than home-cooked, which is something I don’t usually like to let happen.

Monday night I did manage to pull myself together before too late and used the last of the fridge contents to make this meal.

fuel sweat grow: dinner at home

Ground local (Wolf Creek) beef with zucchini, onion, and mushrooms all sautéd together, plus a salad with romaine, almond slivers, blueberries, cucumber and avocado.

fuel sweat grow: guacamole and carrot chips

A side of my homemade guacamole and sliced carrot chips (for dipping and eating) also doubled as the salad dressing.  I’m not sure if it was just a really filling and great meal, or if I was so craving something home cooked, but it was exactly what I needed to kick off the ‘work week.’

There were multiple mornings turned ‘breakfast meetings’ at LaTaza this week, and I finally converted over to Dar’s full-time ‘regular’ order of scrambled eggs with veggies and extra avocado.

fuel sweat grow: eggs and avocado

This used to be my go-to for healthy (@28tolife style) breakfast out, but lately I had fallen into a pattern of getting the same thing, just wrapped up in a burrito.  I highly recommend both from a taste standpoint, but my body is thanking me for cutting out the gluten-full wrap.

Wednesday, which happened to be an off day for my body started with a LaTaza breakfast and began celebrating America a little early with an afternoon bar business meeting in Richmond.

fuel sweat grow: tequila snack time

It’s pretty uncommon (outside of such holiday events…) that I’ll decide on cocktails in the middle of the day, but somehow yesterday fit the bill, so I went for it.

After a full afternoon of meetings, and a quick trip over to Short Pump for a little retail tour, it got too late to think about going to the grocery store and cooking and when we got back to Charlottesville around 8:45, Dar and I settled on the idea of an extended post-business meeting business-meeting at The Local.

The one single change to my usual order is that I ventured over to the House Salad, forgetting my usual goat cheese favorite, and lived on the wild side of choice, even for just one meal.

The Local: House Salad

I’m not someone who can eat the same thing every single meal, or even every single day for that matter (outside of coffee and wine) but I have a hard time diverting from my favorite dishes at certain restaurants, especially if they’re local and real food oriented.  Therefore, once again I got the Tenderloin Special, and unlike Dar I opted to keep the potatoes rather than getting double vegetables.

The Local: tenderloin special

We’re celebrating America here people, and America (apparently) is about starches and butter, not vegetables.  [Disclaimer: I do not actually recommend that choice model or mentality any days of the week or year outside of some select holidays, and in moderation…].

This morning (Thursday — yep, still Thursday) since everyone was off work for the 4th, bootcamp turned into 1 group class with everyone still in town and moved to the park at 9am.

In an effort to push a little more cardio, and account for a larger group, the workout was structured a little differently.

4 people per station: 4 stations (each station had 2 exercises)

1. speed balls (modified wall balls)/breakdancers

2. jump squats/plank

3. slam balls/walking lunges

4. KB swings/star jumps

We started at each station for 2 minutes (1 minute of each exercise + then switch), with one minute of transition rest in between.  It may have been the heat, it may have been hangovers, or it may have just been much harder than we thought, but after the first round of 1 minute for each exercise, we took it down to speed rounds with round 2 having 45 second intervals, and round 3 pushing through at 30 second max effort intervals.  Regardless, there was heavy breathing, lots of sweating, and three full rounds of work.

Fuel sweat grow: boot campers

The rest of my day consisted of catching up on work, stocking up at Whole Foods (updates on that to come later), and this:

Fuel sweat grow: Ball Jar Mimosas

So far I’m enjoying my celebrations of both Freedom and America, but I’m ready for a nap, and still hoping to squeeze out a little more work.  Two contradictory forces working there, but I’m optimistic.

Dog Meets Ocean: A Weekend at the Beach

After a long week of work, and several long months of craziness in general, it was finally time for a quick break.

fuel sweat grow: Myrtle Beach

Welcome to Myrtle Beach, friends.  After an early Saturday morning departure (and a far too long 5 hour drive) it was time to take a breath – and a long nap in the sand.

After the beach it was definitely time for dinner – but first, margaritas.

Fuel sweat grow: margaritas

We went to Twelve, a restaurant close to Garden City, and since they had a $3 margarita special, 3 out of the 4 of us had to give it a go.  It was totally worth it too, there was nothing discounted about it, but it definitely put the happy in happy hour.

For dinner I had the skirt steak with seasonal veggies, and then the garlic mashed potatoes came on the side.  Initially I had no intention of eating the potatoes, but it’s vacation, and they were delicious, so I indulged — but just a bit.

fuel sweat grow: steak at Twelve

Sunday morning came pretty quickly after 3 margaritas at dinner, and kicked off with Bug’s first beach adventure.

fuel sweat grow: bug beach run

So, turns out, she LOVES running on the beach, but she’s terrified of the waves, so there was a lot of zig-zagging around to dodge what she viewed as impending doom.  I did eventually get her into the water, but I had to really coax her, and slowly walk in first.  What can I say, she’s all about safety first.

She spent the rest of the day guarding the house from all other beach goers, and pretty much anyone who considered walking within 100 yards of her perch.

bug

I spent about 6 hours and two solid naps on the beach getting some much needed Vitamin D (yes mom, I wore sunscreen) before heading back to the house to make dinner.

fuel sweat grow: veggie stir fry prep

Veggies chopped and ready to simmer.

fuel sweat grow veggie stir fry

Paired with chicken and steak for an awesome stir fry modification.

fuel sweat grow: stir fry meats

I was really in need of some good protein, and veggie nutrients, so this was a great Sunday dinner.

fuel sweat grow:  stir fry plate

Since my only real exercise of the day had been my wind sprints on the beach with Ms. Bug, after dinner I hit the beach for a long walk.

I’ve been getting back into walking lately since I don’t always want to push my body through a run (usually after a tough workout, but also during rest times), and this was perfect.  I absolutely LOVE beach walking, and dusk walks with the breeze from the water are without a doubt the absolute best.

My recent iTunes adds included the latest Delta Rae album, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for some beach walking music or really honest lyrics.  Double recommend to some of my yogi friends, and I will probably cry immediately (tears of joy?) if you play them while I’m on my mat.  That’s pretty much a promise — the songs are that easy to connect to.

This morning included another beach walk, another dog meets ocean adventure, some sun, and then a run after the long afternoon ride home in the rain.  I’m signed up for Flywheel tomorrow morning before a long day of work, and have a full week of sweats and some awesome new Fight Gone MAD pics to share tomorrow.

I miss the beach already.

Making it Work in Charlotte, Literally

Last Sunday morning came far too quickly, big thanks to the debachary of the post-10 year old birthday party libations, and unfortunately my natural daylight alarm kicked in to wake me up before 7:30. Awesome.

Since I was getting ready to transition my life back to Charlotte for a while I decided to really take time to enjoy my sweet Charlottesville morning with brunch at LaTaza.

fuel sweat grow: la taza veggie burrito

It is a veggie scramble with zucchini, onion, tomato, some sort of cheese and avocado all wrapped up with fruit on the side.  They will also make a wrap-less version of the scramble with a side of avocado if you prefer, but I was feeling like I needed a little carb-recovery on that particular morning.

When I started writing this post, last monday night, I took a much lengthier approach to detailing out the rest of the day (and week), but since I’ve failed even my most lenient timeline for posting this week, here’s an abridged version.

I’m working on a project at Wells so I’m splitting time in the office for the next few months, and thanks to the magic of time blocking (and patient business partners), I’m balancing it with my Fight Gone MAD and FemCity Cville workload.

That being said, here’s what lunch on monday looked like, carried straight upstairs from energy cafe at the bottom of the Duke Energy Building.

fuel sweat grow: energy cafe salad

This salad was mixed greens, grilled chicken, cucumber, apples, sunflower seeds, mozzarella, and cranberries.  I don’t actually love the creamier style of balsamic dressing, but it served its purpose since structured business hours conflict with my preferred 10am breakfast time and I was beyond normal hunger.

Since Charlotte had a huge afternoon thunder storm that was followed by about 43 accidents and an absurd number of fallen trees, the 15 minute drive home took an hour, and dinner at 8pm took the form of two of my prepped lunch salads into one huge bowl with added flank steak.

fuel sweat grow: salad w/steak

It was a solid 10 hour day in the office, and a roundtrip 90 minute commute (that should have been 30), so I was glad to see Tuesday coming over the horizon, but it was still a great start to the week.

holy hell monday is over

Tuesday morning I was planning on going to the 6am Flywheel, but according to the website the class was full (lies) so I opted for a run (an obvious choice over my other option – the erg).

Work was another long day, but ended with an awesome Happy Hour that my friend Gwen planned for me with the girls from the trading floor.  We walked over to Halcyon in uptown Charlotte, and grabbed seats outside to enjoy the rain-free weather.

uptown

For the sake of a quick review – it was awesome, farm to table (LOVE) and will most definitely be a place that I go back to for a full meal.

Wednesday night after work I hit up the 5:30 class at Fight Gone MAD, which completely knocked me back after days of no sleep, constant work, and stupid amounts of travel.  I left the class shaking and in a panicked search of food because I had completely failed my own food preparation rules at work.

I was having a bit of a comfort food moment, something that I haven’t had in a while, so I dropped into Whole Foods and filled my plate at the hot bar with green beans, mac + cheese (so good), and roasted cauliflower.

fuel sweat grow: whole foods dinner

I had actually gone in for some protein, that ended up coming in the form of chicken salad, and then went rogue in the hot bar section.

whole foods

I loaded up a nice glass of wine to go with the meal, and ended up not finishing most of the binge mac + cheese, but it was great for a few bites.

Thursday I skipped the sweat portion of the day on account of my incredible soreness, and to spend the afternoon up in Denver (North Carolina) planning out the opening retail designs for Fight Gone MAD Cville.

Friday afternoon I hit up Fight Gone MAD (again) for a workout with a great group of friends, which was an awesome end to the week, and start of the weekend.

I’m committed to better sweats this week so stay tuned for that schedule, and new updates from a weekend at the beach!

Salads, Sweats + A Little Too Much Celebration

Welcome to the end of the busiest week ever.  Well, not ever, and probably not even close when compared to how this upcoming week is looking like it’s going to roll out.  Regardless, here are some of the amazing highlights of what went down.

I made this salad. (You’re captivated already, I know.) In the spirit of my summer berry salad obsession, and because I had all the ingredients left over, this salad had romaine, spinach, avocado, cucumber, blueberries, and sunflower seeds.

fuel sweat grow: berry avocado salad

Roasted more cauliflower paired with grilled flank steak.

fuel sweat grow: roasted cauliflower

I’ve been making this a lot the past few months and started to feel a little bored with it, but have found that changing up the seasonings, adding it to the salad, and even adding it to scrambled eggs (with my usual zucchini and some sort of meat) is amazing.  I definitely recommend it for a little crunchy add on.

On the sweat side of things I actually took two days off to let my body recoup, but in between did the bootcamp workouts that Dar coached on monday/wednesday/friday.   Here’s one of my favorite workouts from the week (and a sweet pic of my new kicks) in Dar’s garage gym.

fuel sweat grow: interval workout

It has been awesome to to the bootcamp workouts (I usually do the 6am), but I have been craving a run here and there lately.  With all the rain happening this week it was tough to time an outdoor run, and during the one single hour I had on friday to get a run in, I found myself at UHall, the old (pretty empty) basketball arena at UVa.

When I was rowing at Virginia we worked out in this building through most of the winter, and would frequently run the stadium.  I don’t remember ever being excited about stadiums then, but somehow, on Friday, it was exactly what I needed.

fuel sweat grow: UHall stadiums

There were a few facilities guys playing some pick up basketball on the court, but for the most part it was a complete escape from everything else going on in my world — the perfect setting for running stairs.

fuel sweat grow: UVa UHall

In other news, social events have been a little too easy to come by this week with a summer kick off neighborhood party on Sunday complete with grilling, pot luck, and a moon bounce.

Thursday was the 4th grade graduation at the elementary school next to our development, so we went to support one of our favorite 4th grader, Asha (Uday + Anita’s oldest daughter) as she said goodbye to elementary school.

fuel sweat grow: asha graduation

Her mom (the amazing Anita behind Maliha Creations) put together this unreal dessert table for the grads and their guests.  I’m not sure what we had for my 4th grade graduation, but I assure you, the dessert table didn’t look like this.

fuel sweat grow: Johnson elementary 4th grad graduation

Now skip ahead to Friday night, and we’re faced with another amazing creation, a la Anita, for Asha’s 10th birthday party which completely upstaged any party I’ve ever had.

fuel sweat grow: Asha's birthday

It was a spa party complete with pedicures, make your own bath bombs, and scented oils.

fuel sweat grow: spa party

Dar chaperoned.  Kind of.

fuel sweat grow: dar mask

Uday got to work grilling steak, chicken, and tofu kabobs on the grill, and they were all amazing.

fuel sweat grow: kabobs

Seriously, they were so good that they made today’s Whole Foods shopping list.  Uday’s were actually had made, but today I was feeling a little too overwhelmed to even toy with that idea.

Once the pedicures and gift opening wrapped up (or unwrapped I guess?), the kids were contained in the living room, fully equipped with sleeping bags and 10-year old chatter, and one-by-one the bootcampers started to stroll in from varies places around town.  That being said, I’ll leave you with this inspiring series of pictures.

IMG_3821 IMG_3822 IMG_3823 IMG_3824

I made the pilgrimage down to Charlotte today and have lots of fun updates for the rest of the week, including but not limited to the borderline obsessive meal construction that happened before I left so that week 1 of craziness transitioned a little easier with full fuel and clean eats.