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.

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Salads, Sweats + A Little Too Much Celebration

Welcome to the end of the busiest week ever.  Well, not ever, and probably not even close when compared to how this upcoming week is looking like it’s going to roll out.  Regardless, here are some of the amazing highlights of what went down.

I made this salad. (You’re captivated already, I know.) In the spirit of my summer berry salad obsession, and because I had all the ingredients left over, this salad had romaine, spinach, avocado, cucumber, blueberries, and sunflower seeds.

fuel sweat grow: berry avocado salad

Roasted more cauliflower paired with grilled flank steak.

fuel sweat grow: roasted cauliflower

I’ve been making this a lot the past few months and started to feel a little bored with it, but have found that changing up the seasonings, adding it to the salad, and even adding it to scrambled eggs (with my usual zucchini and some sort of meat) is amazing.  I definitely recommend it for a little crunchy add on.

On the sweat side of things I actually took two days off to let my body recoup, but in between did the bootcamp workouts that Dar coached on monday/wednesday/friday.   Here’s one of my favorite workouts from the week (and a sweet pic of my new kicks) in Dar’s garage gym.

fuel sweat grow: interval workout

It has been awesome to to the bootcamp workouts (I usually do the 6am), but I have been craving a run here and there lately.  With all the rain happening this week it was tough to time an outdoor run, and during the one single hour I had on friday to get a run in, I found myself at UHall, the old (pretty empty) basketball arena at UVa.

When I was rowing at Virginia we worked out in this building through most of the winter, and would frequently run the stadium.  I don’t remember ever being excited about stadiums then, but somehow, on Friday, it was exactly what I needed.

fuel sweat grow: UHall stadiums

There were a few facilities guys playing some pick up basketball on the court, but for the most part it was a complete escape from everything else going on in my world — the perfect setting for running stairs.

fuel sweat grow: UVa UHall

In other news, social events have been a little too easy to come by this week with a summer kick off neighborhood party on Sunday complete with grilling, pot luck, and a moon bounce.

Thursday was the 4th grade graduation at the elementary school next to our development, so we went to support one of our favorite 4th grader, Asha (Uday + Anita’s oldest daughter) as she said goodbye to elementary school.

fuel sweat grow: asha graduation

Her mom (the amazing Anita behind Maliha Creations) put together this unreal dessert table for the grads and their guests.  I’m not sure what we had for my 4th grade graduation, but I assure you, the dessert table didn’t look like this.

fuel sweat grow: Johnson elementary 4th grad graduation

Now skip ahead to Friday night, and we’re faced with another amazing creation, a la Anita, for Asha’s 10th birthday party which completely upstaged any party I’ve ever had.

fuel sweat grow: Asha's birthday

It was a spa party complete with pedicures, make your own bath bombs, and scented oils.

fuel sweat grow: spa party

Dar chaperoned.  Kind of.

fuel sweat grow: dar mask

Uday got to work grilling steak, chicken, and tofu kabobs on the grill, and they were all amazing.

fuel sweat grow: kabobs

Seriously, they were so good that they made today’s Whole Foods shopping list.  Uday’s were actually had made, but today I was feeling a little too overwhelmed to even toy with that idea.

Once the pedicures and gift opening wrapped up (or unwrapped I guess?), the kids were contained in the living room, fully equipped with sleeping bags and 10-year old chatter, and one-by-one the bootcampers started to stroll in from varies places around town.  That being said, I’ll leave you with this inspiring series of pictures.

IMG_3821 IMG_3822 IMG_3823 IMG_3824

I made the pilgrimage down to Charlotte today and have lots of fun updates for the rest of the week, including but not limited to the borderline obsessive meal construction that happened before I left so that week 1 of craziness transitioned a little easier with full fuel and clean eats.

Quick Sweats + a FemCity Locavore Dinner

It has been a long last two weeks, which is only supported by the look of complete contention on Bug’s face.  She goes to day camp three days a week at Pampered Pets, which is probably her own personal disney land, but with people she loves instead of humans dressed as animals (she doesn’t love that).
bug stares

The unfortunate bit of her schedule is that on Tuesdays and Thursday’s she’s stuck at home and usually ends up watching me spend what she likely feels are her ‘best years’ doing work and checking emails.  These days have been especially bleak for Bug since the amount of work happening in the home office (and out of the house) is at a possible all-time high, and that is definitely saying something.

Somehow I’ve managed to fit in workouts most days, and try to take rest days when my schedule is just too full to rationalize creating another obligation.  I’m incredibly lucky to still be able to  go back to the weight room + athletic facility that I trained in when I was rowing for UVa.  All of the equipment is amazing, the strength and training staff is some of the absolute best out there, and it just feels like a second home to me.

McCue Center

Despite the amazing platforms and equipment, since I’m no longer training on a high level I try to avoid olympic lifting at all costs. I typically make an appearance when it’s too hot (or cold, or rainy) to use the Woodway treadmills – they are amazing pieces of machinery.

Last Thursday I stopped in and did a quick workout with a run + a small circuit:

  • 4 mile run
  • 25 wall balls
  • 25 sweepers (laying on the floor holding a bumper plate right above your chest + lift your legs taking toes to plate working on your lower abs)
  • 25 burpees
  • 25 air squats.

Normally I’d shoot for 3 – 4 rounds of this, but I was running out the door to get ready for our FemCity event, so I cut myself off at 2 rounds. It still started the big muscle engines though, I assure you.

Which brings us to the next item on the menu, literally: the FemCity Charlottesville Locavore Dinner Series.  One of the main purposes of Femfessionals, and our FemCity community here in Charlottesville is to connect, promote, and support women in business, across all industries and professional levels, to create a dynamic and powerful group of women actively changing and developing our city.  That being said, we love to have business (and human) connection events where members and future members can meet other women in the community.  The purpose of these events is to connect and share the passions, projects, and businesses that they put their time and energy into, hopefully increasing interest, support, and awareness for their work.

Last Thursday we launched a new dinner series to do just that, with a hyper-local focus that not only reflects our FemCity community, but also Charlottesville as a whole.  The event was limited to a small group of local women and was a dinner event where everyone was able to sit together, around the same table, connecting personally and professionally over a locally sourced dinner.  For this first one, I cooked, in the spirit of representing this very blog as well as many of our local bakeries, markets, and food vendors to keep things, well, local.

local asparagus from FEAST

It’s not too terribly difficult to accomplish an entirely local meal in Charlottesville, but it is somewhat expensive if you’re really committed to a tight radius.  I found some amazing asparagus, strawberries, and a local pesto at Feast! that cost a pretty penny but could not be beat in freshness and quality.

pesto

While I was at Feast! I grabbed some cheeses, including but not limited to, a great cheddar that I used to make some little grilled cheese appetizers, with local Breadworks bread (of course) in two flavors: 1) pesto + cheddar, and 2) granny smith apples + cheddar, all done directly on the grill.

the makings for grilled apple-cheeses

There are no pics of the finished project, but in full disclosure I did break from my typical no-bread stance and indulged in the apple and cheddar sammies, and it was TOTALLY worth it.  They are probably my favorite little treat snacks from recent memory.

I scored an amazing amount of produce from C’ville Market for less than $80, which always seems to be the case there, and had more than enough for all of the dishes, including the salad.

fuel sweat grow: salad

Mixed local greens, topped with avocado, cucumber, local strawberries, blueberries, and last but not least: sliced almonds.

fuel sweat grow: salad

I’m on a fruity salad kick right now, and have definitely been appreciating the surplus of local greens available at the market, so it pretty much just created itself with only a little help from my hands.

For one of the main dishes I went with my favorite veggie topping (zucchini, yellow squash, red + yellow peppers) all sautéd in coconut oil and served over amazing local fettuccine from Mona Lisa Pasta.  Even though they don’t have a gluten free variety yet, this pasta is made fresh in house, and is absolutely amazing.  This dish had half spinach fettuccine and half basil fettuccine to give everyone a little bit of choice in the matter.

fuel sweat grow: mona lisa pasta

In addition to the pasta we had gilled chicken from the Organic Butcher, marinated in either the local pesto or honey dijon, with a side of tomato mozzarella.

fuel sweat grow: chicken and tomato

The meal capped off with some SweetHaus cupcakes (and wine of course).

fuel sweat grow: sweethaus cupcakes

We had amazing conversations, a number of brand new faces, and an awesome night all around.  I could not be more excited for what is to come in our little FemCity, as well as all of the exciting projects and upcoming plans that all of our Fems brought to the table.  It was incredibly inspiring.

It’s so easy to get caught up in ‘work’ and the demands of every day life, and it was so great to have a casual reminder of just how energizing and productive it can be to sit down and share with no particular objective or necessary outcome.  We’ve got great programming coming up, so check our FemCity Charlottesville if you live here, or whatever Femfessionals community is close to you – they’re all amazing.