The ‘On the Go’ Chronicles: Food + Love Edition

Life, lately, has been on the go — to say the least. Work and travel are the two main constants, and my long-time skills of throwing together quick meals for ‘on the go’ (or more accurately ‘on the clock’) have been more useful than ever.  The days of hurriedly eating over the sink have been pushed aside by the days of eating at the computer and at a stop-and-go pace that supports conference calls, emails, and all the other distractions that dominate the day.

fuel sweat grow: food on the go

I have a ton going on at all of my jobs right now so that seems to be a dominant theme in my life, and something that I’m both trying to balance and desperately organize so I can breathe a little easier.  I think what I’m working towards is more of an impossible mirage than it really is an achievable goal, but that’s pretty fine by me.  Landing somewhere in the middle is still somewhere closer to fine, and that’s still progress.

On days when things are beyond crazy, it’s not that abnormal for my eating schedule to be off, so I’ll either need a little snack to make up for an off-schedule, or to help me power through the mid-afternoon yuck that is 3pm.  Recently this little tomato / chicken / avocado salad has been my go-to with a little balsamic glaze and a crank or two on the sea salt.

fuel sweat grow: on the go snack avocado salad

Since I’m typically a proponent of over-grilling (in quantity) meat to force the possibility of leftovers, this is particularly appealing to me.  The balsamic glaze part is a little newer to me – not in concept, but mostly in obsession.  I went Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things for Memorial Day and they happened to be grilling avocado and watermelon out front, and sampling them both with the glaze.  I’m nothing if not a sucker for a tasty sample, and moments later I had all three items planted in my cart, all before I even stepped foot in the store.

Which takes me to my next obsession of the moment, and an incredibly simple throw together salad if you have the ingredients in ‘prepped and ready’ mode in the fridge.

fuel sweat grow: watermelon arugula salad

I’ve always LOVED watermelon, so this watermelon + arugula salad is seriously the best thing of my life.  Slightly modified for a stricter 28toLife/Paleo approach, it’s just a bed of arugula tossed in olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper, topped with watermelon chunks, blueberries and chopped mint (not pictured).  It’s freaking good, and if you want to add in a little extra with some cheese or other snacks on top, have at it.  I’m pretty sure it is beautiful no matter how it is dressed up.

This past week has spanned all three of my cities; Charlottesville, Charlotte, and Charleston – and in that order.  I barely had any time in Cville to settle in or even really unpack before I was heading right back to Charlotte — but this time, work was thankfully balanced out by celebrating some love, and a fairly normal weekend (for a change).

Friday night brought a sweet relief from the work week, and an even sweeter night at the Vanlandinham Estate celebrating two awesome people – Kelli + Graham.

fuel sweat grow: Kelli + Graham Wedding

I’m not really sure how to explain Kelli outside of just saying that she’s incredibly smart, loyal, honest and supportive friend that anyone could ask for. While it was once difficult to believe that anyone would be able to fully match up to all of her awesome, it’s clear that she’s found that match, that best partner, and (most importantly) absolute happiness with Graham, and that’s more than enough for me.

After weeks (months…years) of crazy, it was such a welcomed break to enjoy and be present at such a beautiful wedding, on what might have been the most beautiful night of the spring so far.

fuel sweat grow: Vanlandingham estate wedding

This week has reverted right back to the desk eating and hurried meal creation, but after taking a little break from it all and a little trip into someone else’s bliss, somehow it doesn’t seem so bad.

I’ve got more food, b:core, MADabolic, and general life updates coming at you in the next week(ish) so stay tuned, and of course, let me know if you’re around Charleston this weekend and want to get in on celebrating the 1st Birthday of MADcharleston — it’s on.

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MAD minute: the Airport Edition

I knew that if I made my flight this morning it will not be because of luck, or speeding, or the remote proficiencies of the ticket and gate agents at the airport.  I knew that if I made my flight, it will be only because my body is fully  conditioned to break into a forced 1 minute on, 1 minute off, very aggressive sprint (x 4) through the parking garage and terminals of this airport, all while carrying some damn heavy loads.  Suitcase deadlift? Check.  Suicide (or what I would call a long-distance sprint): double check. Both at the same time? Oh yeah, that challenge was accepted.

IMG_9311
Had I known that this morning was going to be such a fools game (of spreading awesome) I would have just gotten up two hours earlier and killed time with a long coffee date with myself in terminal A.  Instead of that, I started my day from a place of complete calm; all my bags were packed and sitting at the door, I had already planned my outfit out, the dogs cooperated with the feeding/medicating timeline I had proposed with slight apprehension.  I had even made time yesterday morning to clean my closet and office into the well organized meccas they had been intended to be.  In short, I was going to not only crush this work trip, but I was also going to crush my anxiety about it by creating complete control in my environment.  Cue the universe’s intervention.
I’m all about the slow build, but apparently that wasn’t an option.  My 90 minute drive to Richmond turned into a 2+ hour ride, chock full of accidents and lane leaders that believe the speed limits themselves are too high (forget pushing it to +5).  When I finally got there I escorted myself to the daily parking garage, only to learn that the 12 remaining parking spaces were also playing a game: hide and seek.  When I finally got into the airport (after sprints #1 and #2), it became especially clear to me that this challenge was not only physical, but also a mental one, questioning compassion and rationale.  I had 5 minutes to get my ticket, make it through security, and get to my gate before the plane would be finished boarding, and the only ticket agent was helping an elderly woman re-book her flight and understand her new travel…and possibly life.  Honestly, universe, an elderly woman? Of course you did.  You can’t get mad at that.
So, I stood in line, as patiently as I can while simultaneously tapping all of my things and twitching. I eventually got my ticket and well wishes from the ticketing staff as sprint #3 commenced to the security gate.  Shoes off, laptop out, take of literally everything that could possibly suggest weapon of drug concealment  and cause a trip back to the end of the line.  Now, I will say that I appreciate the free pass on the personal body search today, but seeing as though I was just about as naked as you can be (thanks to my lululemon uniform of the day) that search would have been extreme to go beyond the 3 second full body scan.
Eventually I made it to the gate as zone 2 was finished boarding. I slowed my pace to cruise right into seat 16A with muffled, yet still heavy, breathing, a fresh coat of morning sweat covering my forehead and little droplets running down my back.  I know that description made you all want to travel with me, and definitely made you want to be squished into a tiny plane with me and limited air supply.   Truly, how could you resist?
west-coast-flight
As luck would have it, we got a little delayed on the runway, and I got to repeat the whole exercise again when I changed planes in Charlotte, just barely making it to the final, and nearly excruciating 5+ hour flight to San Francisco, crammed 3 in against a window.  But, I made it.
I made it and I’m now safely where I should be, getting work organized, and waiting for work to officially release so I can have company for dinner, and the first actually good and restful meal of the day.

Welcome Back to Chicagoland

I can’t remember the last time I took a legitimate vacation away from work, constant internet connection, and phone dependency.  What originally was going to be a work-focused trip to Chicago with Dar quickly transformed into an extended weekend away with some great friends, and amazing weather – with business sprinkled in to the daytime hours.

Chicago: River + City

Despite the early flight time, long travel hours, and airport lethargy (I’d be great at traveling if it weren’t for the travel part) – we were there by 12pm on Friday, right in time for lunch on the river.

We sat right outside with a table RIGHT on the river, so close in fact we personally met all of the fine folks that were parking their boats and shimmying up to the restaurant for lunch and drinks.

lunch on the river

We were bought a round of drinks courtesy of one of our new friends, and had an extended conversation with the restaurants owner about Chicago, fitness, and his previous home of 10 years: Charlotte!

Friday afternoon drinks: Lunch on the River

After a long morning of travel, this was exactly what we needed.  After lunch, in the spirit of vacation, we did our own vacation rituals and listened to our own personal needs; Dar went to the hotel and took a long nap, and I adventured around the city and got my nails done (with a few extra turns and city street wandering).

edna ring

When I travel to different places I usually bring at least one special piece of jewelry that at one time belonged to my grandmother (my mom’s mom, Edna May).  She was always taking trips with her girlfriends, taking in new cities, cultures, and I think just space out of what seemed like a super static life.  I totally get that. There’s always something freeing about traveling to a new place and thinking about what could be, what additional experiences and communities could be built – ultimately helping to re-instire, direct, or even simply appreciate the life back at home.

This trip was a lot of that for me, and it was awesome to have a little piece of my grandmother there with me, adventuring and seeing my world from a different vantage point.

After my adventures around town it was time for dinner, and a little check in back with our Cville lives since Anita + Uday (two of our favorite bootcampers AND and neighborhood organizers) were in town to take over Chicagoland with us.   They organized a progressive dinner tour on Friday night with our first stop at Bin 36.

BIN 36: chicago

This first stop was the ‘wine + appetizer’ stop on the dinner tour, and it proved to be perfect for just that.

wine flights

I chose the ‘some like it sweet’ wine flight, which was awesome.  Dar was actually the only flight of reds, but we all chose different pairings.

table of wine: Bin 36

The second stop was David Burke’s Prime House (steak house), with more wine, and steak.

chicago: steakhouse

Huge steaks.

Prime House: Filet

And three amazing, enormous, sides of food for the group.

The asparagus was awesome: tender roasted w/a poached egg in the center.

asparagus w/poached egg

Spinach Gnocchi with a fresh spinach center and a cream sauce.  I dripped off a bunch of the sauce, leaving just a light glaze on top for flavor.  Unreal.

spinach gnocci

I also need to go back to the beginning and make note of the exceptional rolls that they have – like a sweet pastry puff with asiago cheese toasted on top.

wine and rolls

 

So, it’s pretty safe to say that the weekend started out with a little less health + fitness than normal, and a little more eating + drinking.

The trend only continued the later we pushed into Friday night with dessert at Sable (the gastropub at Hotel Palomar), and even more fun with the whole group.

dessert at sable

 

The top dessert was the Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake with bourbon ice cream, and the bottom was the Cookies and Cream Ice Box cake.

By 11:30 (or really 8:30, but who’s keeping track?) my eyelids were struggling to stay up, and despite being the youngest of the group I was the first to call it a night.  In my defense, it was really 12:30 my time…

So that’s the start to the Chicago adventure – and a great start to the sequel of last October’s epic Chi-town trip.  The rest of the weekend was even more eventful than the first half, which will be apparent in the next post!

Anyone else secretly (or not so secretly) want to live in Chicago, if there was no winter?  Seriously, if the winter were just half as brutal I think I would have to live there – since that’s not seeming likely I guess I’ll just have to work on my half-year plan to live there in the summer.