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 Recipe: Great Food, Plentiful Wine + Good Company

I don’t know a lot of things for certain, but I know that great food, plentiful wine, and good company will always rank highest on my list of needs. All three seem to be constants in my life, which is something that I am eternally grateful for, and while there’s nothing better than time spent with old friends, it’s always exciting to welcome in some new faces.

Last night after spending some time checking in with the MAD crew in the 5:30 and 6:30 classes, an old friend of Dar’s swung by the space after his first day in his new job…IN CHARLOTTESVILLE.  Her friend Robert has long worked in the financial industry, one that we both know (too) well, and recently made the choice to pick lifestyle and community over long commutes and even longer days in his old California stomping grounds.  And to that I say, welcome Robert, to the good life.

In the spirit of slowly inducting him into our Cville crew and showing him the best that Charlottesville has to offer (which is everything, of course) we beelined to The Local.

Mondays are 1/2 price wine night (on bottles $75 or less) so it was a win even before we stepped in the door.  We all shared a bottle of the Petit Verdot from Pollak Vineyards – another local choice – and I started with the local caramont goat cheese salad that I love.

fuel sweat grow: the local goat cheese salad

Because I’m a creature of habit, and at that point I couldn’t even remember what I had for lunch, I had my typical tenderloin ‘special’ for my main meal (‘dry’, no mashed potatoes, and double veggies).  And I promise, despite the lack of butter and sauce, this steak was anything but dry.  So good, and probably the most perfect ‘medium’ steak I’ve had in recent memory.

fuel sweat grow: tenderloin special Just as anticipated, and in line with the food and wine exceeding expectations, the company was excellent and before we knew it hours had passed and the wine was getting low.  That’s the truest sign of a quality night, and the beginning of a very exciting chapter with this new member of our cast.  MAD crew get ready, he’ll be a part of your ranks very soon.

fuel sweat grow: Pollak vineyards wine


This week, so far, has been very good to me, and for that I’m so thankful.  The weather has turned, spring is here, and things are aligning even better than I could have planned.  It’s such a rare thing in life to have all things pointing positively forward with days unfolding with relative ease so I’m making a point to pause and enjoy it.  These days will pass, the calm will ebb and flow, and the march will always be up hill, I’m just choosing to be optimistic that the incline may be evening out ever so slightly.