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.  ❤

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Clean, Home Cooked December Life + the ‘Dar Salad’

This is what life has been looking like recently, and it’s working for me so far.
fuel sweat grow: goals and paleo

I’ve been cooking a lot more recently than I had for a while.  Travel, moves, construction, and chaos had all contributed to a major shift out of the kitchen, and what felt like a prolonged restaurant lifestyle.  While meal prep and eating clean is significantly more challenging when I’m working in Charlotte, I have to say, if you want to eat clean (out) in Charlottesville, it’s not that challenging.  It’s counter intuitive that such a small city would have such a huge selection of locally sourced / farm to table options, but we’re terribly lucky with the restaurant scene in Charlottesville and all that it offers.

For the last two+ years Citizen Burger Bar has been the local go-to for the MAD crew, and Dar and my absolute survival during all 28toLife and Whole 30 challenges (not to mention just life in general).

fuel sweat grow: Citizens Burger Bar

While I love the concept in general, and the staff are all pretty awesome, the real big hook in the beginning (and what keeps us coming back) has been their amazing flexibility in creating custom orders for both burgers and salads. Oh, and their locally sourced foods, because that’s pretty sweet.  At some point Dar created her own standard, clean/paleo salad that she literally never waivers from (unless she’s making the essentially same thing but just as a burger).  The order goes as follows: House Salad; hold the bacon, croutons and cheese; light onion; add avocado, blueberries, chicken or local beef; oil and vinegar on the side.  Every. Damn. Time.  While my order began as similar, I’ve varied over time, adding different things, switching salad bases, and occasionally throwing in sweet potato fries into the delicious mix.

Tonight, upon entering the restaurant (fondly referred to as CBB), we were immediately greeted with the news that the new staff for the soon-to-open Clarendon, VA location was fully trained today in Charlottesville on how to enter the ‘Dar Salad’ into the system.  Oh, and did I mention, it’s being added to the menu? We’re working on a co-branded name, obviously, and I’m not certain on the exact delivery date for the item on the official menus, but if you’re up for a paleo friendly, MAD women approved meal, just tell them that’s what you want – ‘the Dar Salad.’ It will likely also be an announcement in MAD for the rest of time, because it’s Dar’s little playhouse, and when in Rome….you know.

As for what’s happening in the home kitchen? A bunch, so here are just a few snap shots of some of the late fall salads, and comfort dinners that have finally made their way back into my life.

fuel sweat grow: late fall salad

fuel sweat grow: fall salad

fuel sweat grow: thai chicken stir fry

I haven’t had time to fully go through my new Paleo Parents book, Real Life Paleo, but it’s on my joy list for the weekend.  I’m so excited to spend some quality time planning some fun new meals for December, and totally geeking out over new ingredient combinations.

This is the first month in a year and a half that I’m probably not going to be traveling, and I already know that January, February and March are going to be insane, so I’m committed to appreciating these sweet moments of home bliss.  Winter, this is your chance to get on my good side; it’s a really fortunate thing that you come equipped with blankets and warm beverages because those are two of my biggest weak spots.

MODpaleo: Clean, Convenient Fuel

Remember earlier this summer when our friends from MODpaleo came out to our Grand Opening Party at MAD Charleston for a little ‘MEAT & GREET’ to let our clients taste test their delicious paleo meals? Well, we’re actually their pick up location in Mt. Pleasant, which is awesome, and since July I’ve been pumping hard (from my social media perch) to make sure that their food is in ALL of my favorite places.

fuel sweat grow: modpaleo

In addition to putting a hard push on them to bring their clean eats to Charlottesville, I somehow managed to score them as a breakfast vendor in my office in Charlotte so I’ve got some amazing healthy options when I’m there.  It’s all about convenience and quality in our industry, and when the right options are there it’s not hard to make good choices and maintain positive momentum knowing that you’ve been fueling your body to sustain an active lifestyle.  Day 8 of #23to30: quality of life comes from the quality of your surroundings -know what you need and what makes you feel whole and surround yourself with it.

Two weeks ago when I was working in Charlotte you better believe that I was in the office early on Wednesday morning to get my breakfast on with MODpaleo in our super pantry, and it was killer.  [Egg baked in a sweet potato, herbed chicken patty with fresh pesto on top.]

fuel sweat grow: MODpaleo Breakfast

This meal sold out completely by 8am, and not only tasted amazing, it kept me full well past lunch time.  In a job and world where I rarely have a down moment or a regularly scheduled anything, having MODpaleo at the office was an absolute life saver.  So, naturally, this breakfast just re-lit my hard march to get their pre-packaged meals to Charlottesville so I can spend a few less days doing meal prep and planning and just let them do it for me.  And then low and behold, I saw this on instagram:

fuel sweat grow: MODpaleo Virginia

You better believe this made my day.  Happy, clean, fresh fuel made for convenience and overall goodness – I’m in.  For everyone who has been nagging asking frequently for made to order clean meals….well here’s your best shot.  Check out their website and the weekly menu posted and get your orders in — they even have veggie options people.

Amber + Carter, sounds like it’s time to get your Cville on and get this full-blown show rolling.  We’re ready for you in MADville.  Next goal: shipping meals to me on all my trips.  Just saying…

 

Gratitude, Vegetables + Love: Featuring Zoodles [ Day 7 of #23to30 ]

The last 5 years have taught me more than I can fully communicate in the #23to30 chronicles, but these three concepts have proven to be critically important day to day.  When one is missing, the whole day is off balance.70b009db8decb19162818bffee458eea

I’ve always been a vegetable lover – growing up my dad had to have a backyard garden – we ate fresh food, we learned to like all food (mostly) and fast food was not something that came around often.  My mom did have a thing for Dairy Queen, but we all try not to talk about it.

I truly grew up thinking that salad made with home grown produce, and whole wheat pasta sautéd in olive oil with pine nuts, arugula and sun dried tomatoes was a typical tuesday night dinner for all families.  Add avocado? Obviously.   That’s how I learned to cook (and eat); watching my dad cook, acting as his sous chef, and being second in command to conduct the evening assessment of refrigerator contents to determine what meals are actually possible (aka Fridge Disposal Meals).  When my dad would travel I was automatically promoted to head chef, a scenario which my mom was both intrigued and terrified by; but outside of a few small and thankfully contained kitchen fires, I steadily honed my craft.

As an adult I can honestly say that things have only gotten worse, which of course really means exponentially better.  My love for locally grown and organic food has become more obsessive, I live in a town that is focused on locally sourced foods and culinary uniqueness, and I have slowly (but certainly) become more compulsive about cooking and eating clean and delicious food.  That being said, it should come as no surprise that Zoodlers and spiralizers are one of the greatest things to happen to me in the last decade.

fuel sweat grow: zoodles  Anyone who has peeled or sliced zucchini into ribbons knows, these kitchen toys have completely changed the game.  Lately I’ve been loving zoodles sautéed in coconut oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and ultimately topped with browned ground beef and sautéed peppers, carrots, and mushrooms.

fuel sweat grow: zoodles and ground beef

I love this as another grain free option, in addition to spaghetti squash, to create and replicate meals.  Obviously it’s an amazing pasta replacement, but it also works as an amazing addition to scrambled eggs (like below), fajitas, and pretty much anywhere you might want to mix in some greens.fuel sweat grow: scrambled eggs and zoodles

You can definitely expect a series of zoodle heavy recipes to come out of the winter months, so get excited.  You’ll be zoodling before you know it.

While I never really lost touch with my love for vegetables and ‘fridge disposal meals,’ it wasn’t until the last few years that I’ve really focused on creating more in a clean and grain free arena.  The first few months were a little scary, and I missed the meals that I was so used to, but slowly I figured out how to recreate them; how to work with different ingredients, pair different ingredients, and create more flavorful and exciting meals than I ever had before.

This is going to be the winter of amazing meals and I’m inviting you all to dinner, one way or another – so join me with plenty of gratitude, vegetables, and love.

Scenery + Serenity: Coming and Going in my Everything Place

This is what it looks like to drive through Virginia.  The beauty of this state in and of itself is something to behold, but for me, in my life of constant transit, it’s so much more than that.

fuel sweat grow: charlottesville virginia

When I drive through Virginia, whether I’m en-route to Charlotte, or heading back into Charlottesville, there is a distinct serenity that I get from the scenery — and probably also the fact that it’s the only time I get completely to myself, without having to be in any particular place, or being chained to a computer.  With that being said, while I revel in the space and time to myself whether I’m coming or going, there is the distinct feeling of letting go of whatever might be weighing me down when I drive into the Charlottesville city limits.  This place is my everything place.

Last Friday as I drove in after spending the week in Charlotte there was more than just a sense of calm — there was an immense amount of anticipation since this weekend was packed full of goodness.  Just a few short hours after rolling into Cville, it was time for the Tom Tom Founders Fest (fall edition) Block Party at the McGuffy Art center; an event that we ( MADabolic Cville ) were sponsors for.  So, as you can imagine, the troops were out dressed in some MAD gear, chatting up friends and strangers, giving away our beer tickets liberally.  And it was awesome.

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Cville at Tom Tom Founders Fest

From what I gather there were over 6,000 people there, which is a tremendous amount of people to have anywhere in Charlottesville at any given time (well anytime that isn’t Friday’s After 5).

Saturday kicked off with some of my favorite people at MADabolic Cville on what turned into one of the last lingering days of summer weather in the beginning of fall.  And let’s be honest – this was all made possible by the caffeine I imbibed first thing in the morning to start the engines.  I can’t tell you HOW much I miss my (house made) almond milk lattes from Milli Joe when I’m out of town.

fuel sweat grow: milli joe almond milk latte

After class while we were waiting on a call with our western business partners, Dar and I hit up Brazo’s Tacos pop-up shop that is running out of our building for 60 days in the Al Dente space from 7am – 2pm.  And let me tell you — it’s GOOD.   Great local ingredients, and a build your own basic template so you can eat as clean as you want (we went with eggs, bacon, avocado and eggs, steak, avocado, and they were killer).

fuel sweat grow: brazes pop up taco shop

There was just enough time post-lunch to get cleaned up and head over to Scott Stadium for a little UVa v. Kent State action….and a big fat W.

fuel sweat grow: Virginia Football ( UVA )

Post-game Saturday was mostly an exercise in unwinding and getting back on track with life.  Some strategic planning, but mostly couching and cooking good food, which is what has been missing from my life lately.

Sunday brought some more culinary goodness for breakfast (scrambled eggs with ZOODLES!) and a long walk downtown to shake out some of the soreness and overall tension that my body has been carrying.

fuel sweat grow: scrambled eggs and zoodles

Following some time up at MAD, some of our kickball crew hit up the UVa Baseball game v. Towson, to cap off a full weekend of Virginia Sports lovin’.

fuel sweat grow: virginia baseball

This week is a de-loading and re-loading week from end to end, from it being #MADcardioweek, all the way to my own sweat schedule that is touting more yoga/stretch than I’ve given to my body in a long time.  It’s also time for some major fall organization, and strategy implementation for ALL my jobs, setting a solid new schedule for some work/life balance.  Pretty exciting stuff if you’re a dork like me.

While I’m not getting the time and serenity of a several hour drive through the Virginia country side this week, I’m just happy to find some security and balance in the chaos of home.  There’s something to that, and I can’t imagine life any other way.

Monday Coffee + Some Work-Lunch Balance

I’m definitely a fan of three-day-weekends, but there’s something a little painful about it when the short week comes on the front end of the holiday.  Adding an extra weekend day never achieves that extra rest and work catch up that would probably be the responsible time spend.  Instead, adding an extra 30% to the weekend immediately results in a 50% increase of overall wine consumption, sun exposure, and as a combined result, sunglass wearing to compensate for the consequences of both.

That being said, Monday morning brought a pretty harsh snap back to non-holiday reality, so, naturally,  I coped the only way I knew how: with an almond milk latte from Milli Joe.

fuel sweat grow: Milli Joe Coffee

And since Monday’s are tough (and this one didn’t disappoint), I decided to keep the celebration going after work with wine and a catch up friend date at Commonwealth.  I mean, it’s America kids, lets not limit our freedom celebrations to one day in July – celebrate every day and wine when you damn well please.

fuel sweat grow: commonwealth restaurant

And why quit while we’re ahead?  I was bordering on hangry driving while I was looking for parking downtown (which only took about 90 seconds, but they were 90 long seconds), so with my coveted wine I paired up two quick appetizers that proved to be a pretty awesome little meal. [Brussel sprouts and spicy chicken lollipops – try them Charlottesville, they’re both amazing.]

fuel sweat grow: commonwealth dinner

Today was another packed day, so work-life balance quickly translated into a work-lunch balance experiment of trying to eat, type, and strategically mute myself through conference calls to fit in chewing (Kale is NOT a quiet food).

fuel sweat grow: work place lunch

I had actually gotten myself up for the early am classes at MAD this morning to hopefully clear out my schedule for the rest of the day and enable myself to stay in my house with no interruptions, but of course I found myself rolling up to the 5:30 class to check in and take some much needed photos of our clients doing what they do – being awesome.

Dinner was a plethora of leftovers; kale marinated in lemon juice and olive oil, grilled flank steak, cucumber, and avocado.  I’m apparently on a kale binge, which was not intentional, but mostly just a product of some pretty aggressive fridge stocking last week.  Thankfully there’s not much I love better than some really great leftovers, so I’m all for it.

Here’s to hoping that the rest of the week shakes up a little to find some pockets of calm, but I wouldn’t know what to do with it anyway, so I might as well just hope for large periods of productivity coupled with some good food, great company, and MAD sweats.  I’m back to Charlotte next Tuesday so I’m trying to pack in as much time in MADville as I possibly can, and I couldn’t have picked a better line up of intervals than this week.