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.

The Sure Things

There is not a lot of surety in this life, but there are some things that I can count on to reignite all of the passion and positivity in myself, and in life, that can too easily get buried under the remnants of a too-long winter.

This weekend included everything that I love most in my life: amazing friends, great food, community (the best I’ve ever known), innovation paired with intellectual inspiration, and most importantly, beautiful spring weather in Charlottesville which is incomparable.  This weekend, in and of itself, was greatness embodied.

On Friday I took the afternoon off from work — from ALL work — which is a rarity that must be celebrated in full.  It was 75 and absolutely gorgeous in Charlottesville, and day 2 of the Tom Tom Founders Festival.  Last year I arranged my entire schedule around the innovation talks on business and education (UVa President Teresa Sullivan was speaking), and I absolutely loved it.  This year, the talk of choice was on finding investors and funding in Charlottesville, with a panel assembled by a few of the numerous angel and private investing firms that are housed in our city.

fuel sweat grow: tom tom founders festival

The talk was great – not entirely for the content since none of it was particularly relevant to our business, but because real intellect and business conversation never fails to inspire me and always gets the wheels in my brain firing faster than I can keep up with.  This talk achieved exactly that.  By the end of the panel I couldn’t have told you exactly what was said, but I spent the next hour rattling off a stream of concepts and business development plans that were exploding out of my brain.

And of course, since I was ruminating on my new most passionate plans, I took to the kitchen.  A quick spring salad turned into a late lunch with grilled skirt steak, romaine, avocado, cucumber, and blackberries for a little sweetness.

fuel sweat grow: tom tom spring salad

The pace of my ideation slowed as the weekend progressed, but thankfully never stopped developing — and it is the surest sign that I am alive and well.

Friday night was the Block Party for Tom Tom Fest at McGuffy Art Center, which pretty much translated into drinks and socialization a la Friday’s After Five, but at a slightly different venue, and with cool lights to add a little flavor.

fuel sweat grow: tom tom festival block party

We had some of our MAD crew out spreading the good word and handing out MAD passes like they were critical AAA cards for health – pretty much because they are.

Saturday started with some much needed MADness, and the sweat out that I needed after some late night dinner/wine at Orzo.

fuel sweat grow: MADabolicCville April 2014

Aside from the amazing 80 degree weather and the blooming of everything, spring was made official for me with the post-Saturday-MADness walk to Paradox followed by the City Market. Oh, and this, which is brilliant.

fuel sweat grow: neuter weird friends

The next stop on the I love this city spring stroll was the Southern, which is now actually serving brunch, and an awesome one at that.

fuel sweat grow: the southern

I had this killer frittata with bacon, and, of all things, green apples in it.  It was exactly what I needed, and was the only thing that got me through the next 2 hours of this three hour tour.

fuel sweat grow: the southern brunch fritata

Since Tom Tom was still in full swing there were events everywhere, and people, but for the first time ever the Chili Cook-Off benefitting the Ronald McDonald House of Charlottesville which is such a worthy cause that it can actually make chili tasting feel noble.  It also totally justified a late morning beer -Three Notch’d espresso stout (not expresso, as it may read) to be specific.

fuel sweat grow: beer for a cause

After the cook off the weather seemed perfect for a little walk down Main Street to hit up the lululemon showroom.  On the way back we took a quick peek in to the old zinc, and soon-to-be 5 Penny Cafe, a great new spot that we’re checking out tonight at their VIP opening night that I can’t even begin to anticipate since food in Charlottesville is beyond words pretty much all of the time.

The evening was full of more amazingness as we MADbombed Bella’s Restaurant to check in with our clients Doug and Bella, and to wish our favorite bartender (and good friend) Ayo the very best on his last day behind the bar.  MADpasses flowed like the wine, and the conversation was of course of tremendous quality with so many of our favorite people in one place.

And that was the weekend, not in it’s entirety, and not nearly inclusive of everything, but it still seems more than ample to chock it up as an amazing prelude to summer and the community that is thriving here in this town and our tight and growing community of MADness — and that’s the surest thing I know.