Recover + Recharge: Holidays in Charlottesville

There have been years when the holidays have been hectic; lots of travel, gift hunting, and a million to-do’s that all collide with each other generating a little more stress than usual.  Since this year has been full of all things hectic (plenty of travel and to-do’s included), it was a nice change of pace to stay planted in Charlottesville, and take the time to recover, recharge, and settle fully into the warmth of a holiday at home.

With work winding down, I took a couple extra days off to do all of the things I love about living in such a locally driven town; exploring locally owned businesses, hand picking gifts, coffee with friends, and of course, one of my favorite treats: sweethaus cupcakes.

fuel sweat grow: sweethaus cupcakes

Tuesday night was filled with mini-cupcakes, great friends, and warm holiday spirit. This time the party was at HOME, which was a welcomed change from the crazy holiday party circuit that has dominated the last few weeks.  This year has been one with challenges, change, and so many amazing people, old friends and brand new, that make it impossible not to have an (over) full heart.

After a great night of celebrating, the 7am class at MADabolic Cville followed by 75 minutes of Rasa Yoga Lab / myofascial release at Opal Yoga with Mia paired up to be the perfect complement for a little extra recovery.

fuel sweat grow: Christmas Eve Opal Yoga

The more I put on myself, physically and mentally, a load that seems to increase by the year, the more important it has become to know what it needs to recover.  Years ago when I started exploring different practices, methods, and the balance of them, my main goal was to figure out the perfect compliments for my own body and lifestyle.  While that’s still the goal, over time I realized that there’s no ‘perfect’ forever combination, but there’s a definite formula for the intelligent pairings of building and releasing strength, stress, and space.  The formula forces self-education, intelligent pairings and cyclical change over time.

The combination of Mia’s class – the yoga (flow + yin) to warm the muscles, and the myofascial release with blocks and tennis (or lacrosse) balls to release – was exactly what I was needing this week, and allowed so much more of a mental release than hurried stretch or foam/PVC rolling on my own (pre or post sweat).

We found our post-sweat / post-release recovery bliss in an almond milk latte at Milli Joe, nerdish conversation about the body, fitness philosophies, and life’s evolutions – in both body and mind.  It was a great Wednesday out of the routine, and a sweet recharge to kick off the holiday.

I’m excited to get back to a little routine and structure tomorrow, but it will definitely be nice to have a few more days off from work to enjoy the easy balance before real life weighs back in.

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Fueling the Extra Mile + The Longest Week of 2014

This last week, hour for hour, was without a doubt one of the longest of the year.  After last weekend’s marathon of holiday parties, a week of complete insanity and over-booked days of work and bid’ness was seriously cutting it close to my capacity limit.  But thankfully, like always, I somehow live to tell the tale (but in all honesty, I had an airborne for snack this afternoon and have been in my PJ’s since 2pm…so the candle may have burned a little too long).

Monday and Tuesday brought early morning sweats at MADabolic Cville, and a lot of end-of-day food prep to fuel incredible conversations, strategic planning, and serious contemplations about the broader concept of development with some of our favorite MAD ones.  Tuesday dinner was another zoodle + beef sauté, accompanied by one of my new favorite salad combo’s [romaine; shredded kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage; cucumbers; raspberries; slivered almonds] and Tessemae’s Zesty Ranch dressing. It’s winter love.

fuel sweat grow: beef zoodles and

Tuesday happened to also be our night to take dinner to two amazing new parents, Robin and Ryan (and sweet baby Arya), so I got to cook a little out of my usual zone since Ryan is a veg-eater, and Robin eats ‘anything’.

fuel sweat grow: spinach fettuccine and veggies

I made them one of my absolute favorite meals from my grain-loving days, and I have to say, if you’re going to have pasta and a bit of dairy, it’s definitely a killer option.  Zucchini and peppers sautéd in coconut oil, Trader Joe’s spinach and chive linguine, tossed in a greek yogurt and avocado blended ‘sauce.’  The veggies are seasoned with Trader Joe’s ‘everyday seasoning,’and can be done with gluten free pasta (or zoodles) if that’s your thing.  I added some grilled chicken thighs to Robins meat-favorable meal, and a cucumber and heirloom tomato salad with balsamic and olive oil to up the ante for Ryan as well.  All in all, a pretty solid tuesday night meal (I think, and yes, I had a little bit myself for old times sake…).

With a million things backing up on the to-do list and ‘real’ work pushing to the end of the year in a full sprint, most mornings begin like this to help me get through: egg and zucchini scramble with a post-MADabolic almond milk latte from Milli Joe.

fuel sweat grow: zucchini eggs and almond milk latte

This is the scene from Wednesday morning, the day of ‘all the things,’ and the last day I spent in Cville this week before taking off for more work+holiday mayhem in Charlotte.  While craziness has been the constant theme of the last few months, it’s all been worth it.  As work and 2014 finally slow down, and new everything begins to ramp up, the only true thing I know is that it always, always, pays off to push it to go the extra mile.

fuel sweat grow: the extra mile

The end of the week finished with more amazing friends, great food, holiday parties galore, and more than I can capture in these final sentences, that’s for sure.  You can expect to hear about all the adventures and new amazingness over the next few weeks.

Embracing the Holidays: Ingredients, Blended Families & Presence

One might think that I would be the person that would have all of my holiday decorations up on December 1st, ready to be #homegoodshappy for a full month.  Well, it would be a logical thought, at least a passing one, and if it were any other year you would have been spot on, but not in 2014. No sir.  This has been the year of maxing out capacity and managing the build of the permanent fixtures in life – letting go of the seasonal.  I’m currently neck deep in things-to-be-done, some critical, some deeply passionate, and some so trivial that it can be hard to want to give any time or energy to them.  As the Holidays barreled closer, and more of the i-want-to-do’s began to shine through in my schedule, I decided to make a choice – and it made my week.  Joy over stress; value over waste; community over self; and presence over presents.

On Wednesday night it was cookie baking night in the neighborhood with some of the dearest friends in the world, and the kids that help to glue us together as the most untraditional and amazing blended family we could hope for.

fuel sweat grow: cookie swap / #myblendedfamily

fuel sweat grow: cookie swap / my blended family

It’s just Love.  A whole lot of love, laughter, dancing…..and sugar.  But whatever, life’s about living, and these moments don’t just come around every day.

I’ll spare you all the finished product because some of those happy little snow/gingerbread men didn’t fare well through the decorating phase, but we still managed to have the best time.

fuel sweat grow: sugar cookies / cookie swap

The whole sugary crew made their debut at Thursday night’s cookie swap at Paradox Pastry with our friends from Our Local Commons, and they got to live out their holiday destiny bringing joy…or something…to other peoples lives.

So leaving Paradox on a high, followed by an AWESOME dinner – that I will post more about later- at the new spot on Main St., Oakhart Social where Dar and I ran into multiple awesome MADabolic Cville clients …and soon-to-be clients… I was fully inspired.  The holiday spirit is alive and well within me, and this weekend it took over in the form of our MAD client Holiday Happy Hour, so many Holiday Parties, and ultimately an afternoon of full out holiday nesting and (paleo) comfort food making (more to come on this).

fuel sweat grow: holiday paleo comfort foods

It’s time to let the year unwind, and while I know that it’s going to have to crank back up pretty damn hard as soon as the ’14 fades out and ’15 busts in, I’m going to just enjoy the moment(s) for a while, and appreciate the people that keep me going all year long when I’m definitely spread way too thin.