Local Loves: Hellos, Goodbyes + See ya Laters

This past weekend was all about local living and embracing the beginning of the new, and finally a weekend (though just barely) to check in on Charlottesville.  New chapters, jobs, businesses, and lives; there is so much change happening these days that it’s sometimes hard to keep up with it, and it’s damn near impossible to anticipate.  But, thankfully, the first adventure of ‘the new local’ came by way of Brazo’s Tacos, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

fuel sweat grow: brazos tacos

Last summer when Brazos popped up temporarily in the IX building for 60 days, they became the 60 best days of summer.  Locally sourced ingredients, clean and delicious, and so freaking convenient to MADabolic that sweat + tacos began to define the MADlifestyle.

fuel sweat grow: brazos tacos

This summer, especially with the impending addition of b:core right around the (other) corner, it’s so huge that Brazo’s has set up shop — for good.   Sweat it out, taco up, and shake it off….all in a days work at IX.  Plus, I mean, can you really beat the indoor/outdoor friendly vibe?  Taco ’bout a sweet new spot, right?

fuel sweat grow: brazos tacos

After that taco action and a quick (and fun) check in with our photographer for b:core to plan some awesome projects, it was off to Pippin Hill for an afternoon of goodbye and good luck to Elly, our lead trainer at MAD in Charleston who is leaving us for new love, life, and adventures in dog mommying — which trumps most other things, in my opinion.

We were a little late with the pictures so we missed a whole lot of the crew, but these jokers managed to stay to the last minute to join in on our quick snapshot of beautiful Viriginia.

fuel sweat grow: elly goodbye pippin hill

And if it wasn’t just organically beautiful enough of a day, our friend Bill who happens to be the Chef at Pippin, made sure that we were taken care of — and free of the un-paleo menu anxiety that typically plagues so many MAD lives.  Pumping up some serious veggies, with honestly the most amazing hummus I’ve ever had, was definitely not a bad place to start.

fuel sweat grow: pippin hill food

Then this happened — along with other incredibly amazing and saliva inducing dishes that rocked our world (including the non-paleo but very-life changing homemade bananas foster that pretty much changed our lives.

fuel sweat grow: pippin hill food

I don’t have a picture of the dessert because honestly, while my heart and soul will never forget the moments we shared, my mind was desperately trying to wipe it from memory so I didn’t go to a dark place of addiction and full on NEED.

So, instead, I (eventually) put down my spoon and finished off my wine to appease the now full blown sugar craving that I just made happen.

fuel sweat grow: pippin hill

Sunday brought a return trip to Charlotte that was a little too quick for my liking, but with just one day separating me from vacation I managed to push through it, and just to give myself that little extra boost, I made a stop in my happy place (Erin McDermott’s Jewelry Studio) for a little Suki love and jewelry stockpiling to round out my packing.

fuel sweat grow: erin mcdermott

Since I pretty much only wear Erin’s jewelry these days, this trip was about rounding our my outfits specifically, and pairing up some new things with some of my favorite old pieces — and here’s what we came up with.

fuel sweat grow: erin mcdermott jewelry

I seriously love love these, and also LOVE how they’re going to pair with my outfits, so I guess I’m finally ready for vacation.

While I’m going to miss the mainland — mostly the four legged creatures that are being left behind — I’m most certainly not going to miss all the other garbage that comes along with too much chaos.  I’ve got a lot going on, and a lot coming down the pike, so a little re-boot is definitely in order.

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On the Road Again – First Stop: Charlotte

The snow is gone, the weather is warmer, and apparently, travel is also back in full swing.  This week I got back in my normal routine and made my way down to Charlotte for a full work circuit.  While the vibe is definitely a change up from my normal Charlottesville pace, it’s also familiar.  I’ve lived in Charlotte enough times now to have an easy routine to fall back into.

I’ve got my favorite coffee spots, my go-to restaurants, my fitness favorites, and of course friends that somehow put up with my constant state of being ever-present and elsewhere all at the same time.  I’ve got a sweet little sometimes life there that I love, and a great city where there is constantly something new to try, to explore, and new centers of community.  This trip had a little bit of everything.

While my first ‘real’ day involved my office and a baby shower for a sweet friend and co-worker, my second day (post-work ritual) involved some full-body core action at Carolina Barre & Core, followed by a little happy hour and catch up with my friend Erin at her brand spanking new jewelry studio that I’m in love with.

fuel sweat grow: erin mcdermott jewelry

If I’m wearing jewelry, you can pretty much just assume that it’s one of Erin’s pieces, and if it has an elephant, you’ll know it’s one of my favorites.

fuel sweat grow: Erin McDermott Jewelry

You’ll be seeing much more of Erin, and some special new pieces at b:core in Charlottesville early this summer.  We’re pretty stoked to have her and her new little girls (or little kids) jewelry line share our community.

Friday brought another early dose of Carolina Barre & Core (Barre Fusion class), and some out-of-town community love.

fuel sweat grow: carolina barre and core

fuel sweat grow: carolina barre

By the end of that second class in just over 12 hours, and the fact that every Amity class I take completely rocks my whole world, I was ready for a little lacrosse ball release as we made our way down to Charleston.  Seriously, with so much travel taking up our lives these days, a few lacrosse balls and some foam toys can make all the difference in helping to counter balance the travel tightness.  You’d think that by now I would have learned to not workout and then sit in a car for hours, but apparently I haven’t, and my schedule never seems to make those allowances.

fuel sweat grow: little spoon CLT

So, after a quick coffee stop at Little Spoon, we were bidding adieu to Charlotte and en route down to Charleston to link up with our MAD coaches down here, check out the Bridge Run, and get the community juices flowing as we head into the spring season. Now, if I can just get my muscles to cooperate and stop whining over how dang hard the barre classes were….

Coffee, Recovery + the Sweetness of Life

There’s a strange feeling in the air; a slower pace than a typical monday, and a sense of calm that trumps the urgency that usually dominates the start of a new week.

fuel sweat grow: coffee is life

As I sat sipping my coffee this morning, a welcomed change to my typically hurried infusion of caffeine, I took a few extra minutes to breathe, settle into Monday, and embrace the Holiday calm.

The best part about the week of blending nothing and everything is taking more time to focus on what I’m really needing right now — some serious recovery sweats.

fuel sweat grow: sweat schedule Holidays 2014 We’ve gotten pretty into declaratory sweat schedules around here lately, a long-time habit from my lululemon days circa 2009-11, with a little more of the personalized branding to make it feel like home.  I’m pretty excited looking at this because I know how killer all of those days will be (in a good way), but also because I’m heading into a long stretch of…well, stretching…so expect a little revisiting the practice of Becoming a Supple Leopard and some new habit’s I’m forming to complement everything I’m putting my body through these days.  While I’ve been a little lax recently with my stretching and whole wellness routine, I’ve been creating balance with some other life choices that just fill my heart right up.

Last week amid the mayhem I opted to give my body an end-of-week break since it had been through enough with travel, gluttony, and constant pushing of December, and instead, I filled my usual Saturday morning sweat slot with two of the sweetest girls ever, and their amazing parent’s who are undoubtedly beginning a beautiful family adventure.

fuel sweat grow: Erin McDermotte Suki and Coco

Suki, my first (McDermott) White baby love, recently became a big sister to Coco (Collier Carrington White) and could not be more perfect for the role.  She’s lost none of her spunk or smooching skills, but has become an immediate protector and best friend to her sweet sister, as if her role was laid out perfectly for her.

I stopped by for a visit, and to give Coco some ‘welcome to the world’ gifts (any excuse to shop at Pottery Barn Kids + Baby), and of course ended up in my favorite room in the house, and the creative haven for Erin McDermott Jewelry.

fuel sweat grow: Erin McDermott Jewelry and Suki girl

The visit, the conversation, and the re-connection that I love every time I can make it in Charlotte was so much more than any workout I could have forced into the morning haze, and was exactly what my body and soul needed to take that first deep breath, and full exhale out as I moved closer to letting go for the Holidays.

Now, here we are on Monday, wrapping up all the loose ends, and creating space for relaxation.  It’s never a dull moment around here, but here’s to filling them with the joy and laugher of good friends and family to close out the year.  ❤

Sweet Home Cville: Friends + MADness

When the surroundings of your hometown look like this, and come with amazing food and constantly flowing (and delicious) local wine, there’s really not a lot to complain about.

fuel sweat grow: pippin Hill

I’ve been in a little bit of a home-sweet-cville fog for the last two weeks, not to mention an absolute crazy circuit of life trying to get ready for all of the big things that have been happening in MADville.  Tack on home construction, and the pieces of my own life that need attention and balance now and again, and you better believe I had a pretty full August.

Last weekend (yes, 9 days ago) we extended our Saturday morning MADness and went off-site to Pippin Hill Vineyards, just outside of Charlottesville proper for a relaxing, community rich, and beautiful afternoon in the blue ridge.

fuel sweat grow: pippin hill

Not much else could beat that view, and there’s nothing that can beat a sweet Saturday with friends.  There’s an endless list of things that I just adore about our MAD community in Charlottesville (including the fact that they are such active community builders, which certainly makes our jobs easier), but what really stands out is just how blended the group is in terms of age, experience, interest, involvements and friend groups.  Despite having such a broad spectrum among all of those areas, when everyone comes together it is always a seamless and awesome time.  That’s a really challenging thing to create, and replicate, and I’m always in awe of our community and the amazing people that find their way into my life.

Case in point: the night before our wine-ventures I had the great fortune to align schedules with one of my favorite humans, and pseudo out-of-towners, for a happy hour walk downtown.  Also a UVa alum and business owner, Erin’s life mimics the same crazy travel mine does, between Charlotte and Charlottesville, our work/home cities.  It’s always a special day when our schedules overlap in the same place and we can do a real life check in.

She’s one of the sweetest humans ever, but she’s also an amazing jewelry designer,  and creates beautiful jewelry that is slowly pushing out anything else I ever owned, acting as constant staples in my life.  She brought me these sweet treats when we met up for our walk, and you better believe they perfectly made their debut on Saturday at Pippin, merging two things I love together into a little weekend bundle of love.  [Check out her website here.]

fuel sweat grow: Erin McDermott

The weekend was then completed with a post-wine trip to Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie (conveniently across the street from Pippin’s driveway) and Sunday afternoon kickball with our MADabolKick team.

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Kickball

All in all, my return to Cville was exceptional, and everything that you could hope during August in this sweet town; and despite the constant grind of work and business ownership, there were even more beautiful days and MAD events that followed.  Definitely stay tuned for those updates, with special emphasis paid to our 1st Birthday Party for MADabolic Cville, the end of the kickball season, and a very exciting ‘official’ announcement and celebration coming up this week.  It’s all happening – and it’s all awesome.

 

Springing into Summer: A May Weekend in Cville

fuel sweat grow: Charlottesville Paramount TheaterWe’re only 4 days into the month and I’m already missing May in Charlottesville.  After starting off the week with three straight days of miserable rain, high 70’s and sweet spring air has been more than welcomed around here.  It’s usually tough for me to pick an absolute favorite time in Cville (it usually spans from spring through late fall) but the extended winter has me so grateful for each day that my body welcomes in vitamin D, and I’m loving hard on this late spring.

This weekend definitely included a long list of to-do’s, prepping ourselves and MADville for our long departure from the day to day, but there was no shortage of the spring weekend things that make this place so magical.

Friday’s After Five was of course the end of the week highlight for the group, which included a core contingent of our MADville members, several of which had used the 12:15 class as the start to their weekend, working their way through the downtown bars until 5pm became an official reality.

fuel sweat grow: charlottesville Fridays after Five

I’ve recently switched over to white wine as I’ve eased my way back into the warm weather, but I haven’t drawn a hard line in the sand.  I think white will just continue to be my outside drink and I’ll relish the indoor moments that red and I continue to have.

fuel sweat grow: Fridays things

One of the least obvious things that I absolutely love about Friday’s is the kettle corn.  I’m obsessed with it.  It’s the end of the week treat and pre-dinner snack that I work towards, and the fact that they’re making it hot and fresh right there just makes it all the better.  I didn’t realize (because I live under a rock?) that you can actually buy this stuff in stores all around Charlottesville – but to be honest, for me, it’s the experience of the in-the-moment purchase that makes the experience so special.

Fuel Sweat Grow: Kettle Corn

Saturday brought an early morning of MADness, but for the first time in what seems like forever, it was just for operational support.  Saturday is actually my favorite day in MADville and you’ll rarely see me sitting out, but after the previous four intervals I did this week I needed a break – body and mind.  I’m always on the later end of the City Market, so I made a point to get there before 8am yesterday, scooting right over to see Erin McDermott for a little jewelry shopping before the masses.  And of course, I got it all packaged up in sweet little bags, just because she’s always adorable like that.

fuel sweat grow: Erin McDermott

I made my way back to MAD in plenty of time to check out both morning classes, and watched two packed classes experience what we by far the most grueling interval of the week.  Sorry guys, you’re better for it.  Brunch happened at The Southern (again) for a little business meeting with our friends who are launching Swim s’cool this summer in Charlottesville, and then it was back to the gym for a private class with the Sigma Kappa sorority chapter from UVa.

After everything at MAD was wrapped up, errands happened, including a late lunch at Zoe’s Kitchen (Greek Salad, no potatoes, add grilled chicken), and finally wrapped up in enough time to take the dogs for a walk.

Fuel Sweat Grow: zoe's kitchen

The rest of the night was spent celebrating a very special 2nd birthday.

fuel sweat grow: happy birthday charlotte

 

fuel sweat grow: sharing is caring

Sweet Charlotte turned two, and despite having her own personal smash cake, she preferred to delicately and intentionally share pinches of her cake with her best friend Eloise.  The cake was of course done by Maliha Creations, and was the best cake I’ve had since the last cake she made, and that’s a pretty high standard to hit.

All in all it was another great weekend in Charlottesville, and the last May weekend I’m going to spend here this year so I tried to soak in every last second.  I head back to Charlotte mid-week this week, and down to Charleston next week to finally get MADabolic Charleston opened and rolling with preview classes and the much anticipated grand opening.   At this point I think it’s safe to say we’ve essentially missed spring, so let’s do this summer, I’m ready for you.

 

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!