Welcoming November with Positivity + Cautious Optimism

November is here and I’m itching for some change.  Daylight savings ended this weekend and I wasted most of the extra hour thinking about time, and all of the things I daydream (usually when I’m fighting waking up in the morning) that I would do if I just had one extra hour to myself.  Usually those thoughts center around either getting up earlier to workout, or just sleeping later — something of a paradox really.

Even though the idea of actually gaining an hour has already burned off, I want to be more intentional about how I start my days off — not just through actual action, but also intention and approach.


There’s something to choosing an intention for the day — a subtle focus and general goal for how to mentally approach the waking hours.  Life is way too fluid to be controlled, but there’s something pretty powerful about selecting the lens through which you view it and how it really does begin to shine through the other garbage that starts to pile on.  And maybe, just maybe, over time the garbage will decrease — either in reality, or perception.  At least that’s the goal.

One of the best parts of the day is when I get to check my personal email and the daily Truth Bomb’s from Danielle LaPorte — it’s such a guilty (or not so guilty, really) pleasure of mine….but I need to put the effort in to have my own.  My friends at Merch Colony are currently doing a daily gratitude challenge in preparation for Thanksgiving, so as I launch this new positive/daily intention, I’m going to err on the side of gratitude this month.  December can be focused on a little more positivity since I know I’ll need it once the temps dip below what is reasonable…in my opinion.

This morning, admittedly, I took about a 45 minute delay on being exceptionally positive as I got up to head to MADabolic Cville for the 6am class.  I’m not a super early person these days, so it’s always begrudgingly that I make the early morning classes.  The up-side is that once I’m in it, I love it.  After years of waking up way early for rowing I have a deep love/hate for pre-dawn movement, but my body is definitely conditioned to rise to the occasion, and by 7am I already feel accomplished, strong, and completely focused on the day ahead.

As I was making my (3rd) coffee of the morning (in the newly renovated kitchen that I will undoubtedly be sharing more about, and in, soon), I sunk deeper into an already positive mindset, with gratitude that I’m able to start of Monday so happily, so productively, and with such an amazing group of people.  Followed up by this view of the back yard and the water line of the Rivanna beyond the trees — and thus Monday began with gratitude and a warm mug of coffee in my hands.  Not too shabby.

fuel sweat grow: view from the kitchen window

On another positive note, I made my first full meal in the new kitchen this weekend, and it felt so great to have my favorite space back.

fuel sweat grow: fall squash and salad

fuel sweat grow: grilled pesto chicken

I’m really into late summer/fall style salads right now, and aside from the general add of some avocado, pesto chicken seemed like a solid path to cautiously embrace November.

So, I welcome you, November with positivity, a fully functioning kitchen, and the cautious optimism of someone with an extra hour to burn and anxious anticipation of the cold months I avoid all year.

Fall Living: Halloween + Taco Salad

There’s something inherently warm and inviting about the smell of fall air.  I’ve always loved this time of year.  I loved the start of school when i was younger – the supply shopping, the structure of a set schedule, and the feeling of a new beginning.

As I’ve gotten older and school no longer serves as my annual beginning, I still find something undeniable about the change of seasons, and the crispness in the fall air that makes me want to reorganize closets, drink tea, and transition into heartier comfort meals.

I was a little under the weather today, but by this evening I was feeling halloween inspired, hungry, and wanting a mid-level comfort meal with some color to brighten up an otherwise gloomy day.  So, I went with a modified version of an awesome taco salad a good friend made for me a couple weeks ago, and it was awesome.

Savory Seasoning

My first step was to make the taco seasoning — finally utilizing more than just one flavor from my favorite spice collection from Savory Spice Shop, and an awesome DIY recipe I found.

Taco salad!

I was out of chicken, so I went the ground turkey route, with onions of course, and added the seasoning in to the mix.


Added color came from chopped red and yellow peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms.

taco salad base

I let this simmer for a while to soak in the seasoning, and then set it aside to cool and got to work on the ‘salad’ half of the meal.

Taco Salad

If you’re a grain-lover, this is great with rice or pasta.  If you’re into salad dressing, feel free to add some, but there is plenty of flavor in the dish itself to cleanly top chopped lettuce for a full and complete meal.  Add wine, some friends, and a little halloween candy, and you’ve got yourself a pretty great Thursday night (if I do say so myself).

With all the change in the air – all the new and the old – sometimes you just need a warm meal and a little reminder to keep breathing and appreciate the more basic elements of life – they’re so easily taken for granted, or assumed to be smaller than they are.

drink the wile air

Plus, who doesn’t want to drink in the wild air?  Thick, humid air? No thanks.  Wild air, I’m all in.  Bring it on Fall, I’ve been waiting for you.