In Case you Missed It, Christmas is Over.

Christmas happened.  I know that because I was there, but also because that’s what the calendar tells me, and the calendar seems to rule all.

When it comes to managing life and time, the calendar presents as my perpetual nemesis.  Whether it’s moving at a clip that’s too fast, or painfully slow, disagreement on what reality is seems to be perpetual.

So, while I recognize that chronologically speaking Christmas (and Hanukkah for that matter) has come and gone, I still find myself in a state of disbelief.  This was hands down the least festive holiday season I’ve ever known, and I blame both myself and mother nature in equal measure.

I’ve been spending all my time keeping my head above water, to the point that I didn’t have time for a tree, much less decorating, and most of my shopping was done either online or locally in November, without even the excitement of seeing people savagely elbow each other in line at some overpopulated department store.  And then, of course, there was the easter bunny weather that threw off all bearings related to space and time.

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At this point HomeGoods should likely revoke my VIP status, and if it weren’t for the fact that I still obsessively purchased things I barely needed all season, I would just cut my credit card up right now.

In addition to my poor holiday showing, the last two weeks has brought ups and downs of the most unreasonably warm t-shirt weather that took away even the most remote thoughts of holiday hibernation, and for that, I say shame on you mother nature; SHAME.

In an effort to make up for the shortcomings of myself and nature, I did the only other acceptable thing: I ate all the foods.

On Christmas Eve, in full boycott of taking on any personal responsibility of feeding myself or others, we let Orzo fill us with Christmas Cheer the best way they could, with delicious food and wine that warmed the heart (even above the already balmy atmosphere).

Since my parents moved to Charlottesville this year it takes out some of the question of whether or not travel is required during the holiday season (which is great, since holiday travel anywhere that is not tropical and warm is the worst).   The other perk is that the Holidays become an amazing blend of family + friends (that are family), and community roots grow just a little deeper over shared holiday meals, sweats, and overall love.  This is what the Holidays are for me now, and is the real basis for why I’m being agreeable with the fast march into 2016, and the end of what has by far been the craziest year of all.

So, here I stand, just a couple of short hour left in 2015, and while I’m committed to squeezing every last working minute out of each of them, 2016 is kicking off with some amazing promise of just a few of the things I love most: community, professional development, fitness expansion, clean eating, forward progression… and lots of it all.

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This week we kick off the #wholedamnthing16, our annual and not-actually-cliche ‘life changing’ community initiative (regardless of how cliche it sounds), and it’s already better than ever.  More to come on this, but if you’re local in Charlottesville, join us at b:core methods on Sunday at 4:30pm for a kick off community potluck to meet the troops, community leaders, and connect with the resources that will help you evolve your lifestyle into what is healthiest and best for you. [If you’re not local to Charlottesville, you can join us in our Facebook group, or right here, to follow along and engage virtually].

So in summary, in case you missed it, the Holidays happened, and we’re on to a new year.  Clean slate, let’s do this.  Loved to know ya, 2015!

 

 

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Shaking Things Up w/Carolina Barre & Core: Thanksgiving Edition

I’m not going to lie – I don’t love winter.  I love the idea of it; pumpkin things, snow days with hot chocolate, beautiful blankets of white snow that lasts for a day before magically disappearing, and all of the holiday things that HomeGoods has to offer.  I love the storybook moments of winter, and none of the dark, cold, everyday parts hat come from shorter days and wind chill.

This past week was a cold one in my part of the world, and I can’t say I was too thankful for that life reality, but I’m Thankful nonetheless.  I’m still in complete denial that it’s not summer anymore (deep denial apparently), so the 30 degree weather that we met in Charlotte for Thanksgiving week was a bit traumatic.  Naturally, I took to wine, blankets, and barre to recover…along with a pretty significant amount of cooking.  I was in good company for all of those things, so it managed to balance out the wind chill and a happy wine-giving was had by all.

On Thanksgiving Day the Mayor of MADville (Dar) and I made a pilgrimage (get it?) out of the full house and over to Carolina Barre & Core to shake things up with our good friend Amity.  Amity was one of my first ever Barre teachers, and is (and probably will forever be) my favorite teacher of all time.

fuel sweat grow: carolina barre and core

About two years ago I got a phone call from Amity telling me she was thinking about leaving her previous studio to open one, with programming powered by Exhale Spa, and the Barre technique that started it all.  And when I say it all, I mean it.  This method is the first derivative of the Lotte Berk method that spawned the frenzy of barre techniques and studios.

I was already a huge fan of Amity’s, but I’m also obsessed with the diversity of this method, the flexibility and depth of programming, and the warm spirit that it brings to the community of her studio.  In addition to just having standard Barre Fusion classes, they also have Advanced Barre, Cardio / Barre [LOVE], Cardio Sport, and Yoga Fusion classes, just to name a few.  The other huge plus, in my opinion, is that they don’t promote ‘tucking,’ which is a big criticism of more main streamed techniques for the negative impacts the repetitive motion and pelvic contraction can have on women’s bodies.

I love the classes at CBC, but it’s truly the community and the friendly vibe inside the studio that makes it feel like a home away from home for me, and when I’m in Charlotte for work, that’s exactly what I’m looking for.

fuel sweat grow: Carolina Barre and Core

I can’t say that I was totally feeling up for any sort of sweating (first thing) when I woke up on Thursday, but about 3 minutes in to the class I remembered why Amity is everything, and why I was never able to walk, breathe…or really move, after I took one of her classes.  All of those thing proved true again, and on Friday morning when I returned, very stiffly, for day 2, I met my complete match in 30/30 (Cardio/Barre).  That class is my own personal love.  It starts with 30 minutes of body weight, and light weight, cardio isometrics, utilizing full body movements to elevate the heart rate and simultaneously strengthen with slight weights through more functionally designed movements.  It’s not about just isolating one single group at a time, and it’s everything about feeling the burn, and apparently sweating like an animal if you’re me.  The second half of the class is Barre, but only my favorite parts (thighs, glutes, abs, and stretch), and then almost as fast as it started you find yourself laying peacefully on your mat lingering just a little longer before you have to go home.  And then there’s the bonus: there are two stall bars in the studio for you to stretch out and re-align your body/spine, which is pretty critical.

fuel sweat grow: carolina barre stall bar Needless to say, after two consecutive days at Carolina Barre & Core, followed up by Saturday morning back at MADabolic in Charlottesville, my body welcomed a much needed rest day today to get organized for another week of everything at once as we steadily build into the thick of the holiday season. Tomorrow is December 1st, beginning the last month of 2014 and I’ll be damned if this year doesn’t end on a positive note, so who’s in?

Grounding Out with Connections: Friends + Lyrical

The major hope of starting off the day with an intention is to take aim at a positive direction and focus on being present in the moment — not the one before, and not anticipating the one after.  Some days it works, and some days it doesn’t, but I have to believe that even the latter days are better off than they would have been if the first moment started off with hope and warmth.

fuel sweat grow: life

The last few days have been chaotic, for sure — I can’t seem to find a dull moment — but starting off with a little more intention, and winding down at the end – far from any part of the day really helped the struggles in the middle be quickly forgotten.

Of course there was wine, and amazing food — but they seemed pretty trivial in comparison to the great conversation with a good friend… though the combination of the three is, of course, unbeatable.  No matter what life brings, or where it inevitable goes I have always found that the greatest escapes from life seem to come in the forms of great friends, conversation, and when it’s a really amazing night, music.

fuel sweat grow: Ten Charlottesville Sushi

Dinner  at Ten was the prelude to an amazing Kate Voegele show at The Southern.  Kate is awesome.  I came across her music maybe 5 years ago completely by mistake (or good fortune?) and she quickly made her way onto my iPod’s top 25 most played.  She writes her songs, which I love, and they all tell stories that connect and inspire .  Each album, for me, has a different associated time period, life stage, and perspective on growth that is immediately triggered and brings the memories to life whenever I hear one of the songs.  I love that.  The good memories, and the bad; the bittersweet and the empowering.  I love them all.

IMG_8970This was the first stop on Kate’s tour, debuting her new EP (that you absolutely need to go buy here).  I actually met her a few years back (in what feels like my former life) at a LXM Pro game in Philly, and I can attest to her being pretty awesome.  I say that, somewhat, because in the 5 short minutes I talked to her (after a year of knowing her music) I decided it was true, but largely also because she married a fellow Wahoo (Cavaliers, respect) and I happen to know him to be legit.

Kate’s husband Brett is one of the founders of Lacrosse the Nations, and you can find him, just like Kate, traveling all around the world, basically promoting human connection.  Both of their lives, and talents, are focused on finding meaning in the stories of people they may not know, or have any real reason to know; they take time to relate (through song, sport, or simple existence) and give back to the world through all the heart and soul they put into their work.  Fundamentally, and for what I believe to be good reason, I feel like that deserves the sort of immediate respect that isn’t usually granted to strangers you’ve only knows for 5 minutes.  On Wednesday night I went to experience that connection in person, and for myself; I stood with great friends, in my favorite town and this current life that sometimes feels so distant from the past, finding connection with the stories of this essential stranger.

I went to bed full on the re-connection to my past selves, not for the sake of dwelling, but more to connect to their impact on the present, and that feels like a pretty important thing these days.  Remembering the past, only to find more value and purpose in the present — I can dig that.

I don’t know exactly what tomorrow is going to look like (though my planner does have some pretty positive insight), but today, where I stand right now — that’s what matters — and from this vantage point, it’s a pretty great place to be.

Wine-Down to Thirty

Last week was a crazy travel, and literal wine-down to Thirty week.  After a weekend of major celebrating with some of the finest of the Charlottesville crew, I made the trek down to Charlotte for a quick return to reality – work – and LOTS of it.

Thankfully, and on night 2 of my working girl plight, I had this amazing wine from my friend (& MADville member) Juan’s own vineyard in Buenos Aires.  I shared it because I really like my friends, but I would be lying if I didn’t say seeing the bottom of the bottle so quickly made me a little sad.

fuel sweat grow: wine down to 30

The night that will now be known as ‘the night after the wine,’ is one filled with irony because it also included amazing wine and great people – and an actual BirthDAY party.  It’s been a really long time since I celebrated my birthday on the actual day, so it was a little surreal (and special) to come home from work to meet back up with some of my favorite Charlotte friends from work + play.

There’s something very comforting to me about a laughter filled room of amazing women, supporting each other, sharing stories, and connecting beneath the surface layers.  I know how special it is to have so many incredible people in my life – all strong, driven, and phenomenally brilliant in their own ways – and being in such close company would be overwhelming if it weren’t so fulfilling.  My happy place looks a lot like this – wine in hand, happy chatter, thoughtful conversation…. just give me a blanket and a fire and I’ll stay all winter.

As is typical for me when I try to burn the candle at both ends (and since I did a pretty poor job of recovering from the last few weeks) I crashed this weekend and slept more in the next 3 days that I had in the last week.  I guess this is what Thirty looks like.  But you know what? If the company and content in this life can stay on the steady incline, I’m happy to re-charge when it’s needed.

I’m still in Charlotte this week, chomping at the bit to get back to Charlottesville so I can get this little weirdos from their favorite  Nanny.  They may come begrudgingly at first, but I’m certain that after I hug them in super tight and whisper sweet nothings to them over and over while they struggle to get away, we’ll all feel much better.  There’s no place like home, right?

fuel sweat grow: bug and tank

So, cliffs notes on Thirty: so far so good.  I think it’s going to be a slow march up hill for a while, but I’ve been training for it my whole life, so why not just accept the challenge and soldier on.  You with me?

A Head-down, Strategy in Focus, Hard March Kind of Week

There’s nothing like the start of an up hill week to keep you humble.  It’s an amazing thing how Friday can bring such a natural tapering of events and urgency, but Monday never fails to re-open the flood gates.  C’est la vie, I suppose.  Which brings me to #23to30 guideline #6:

fuel sweat grow: humble mondays

 

Over the last year I’ve tried to routinize myself enough to set aside a chunk of time on Mondays for circling back on loose ends and setting a basic plan for the next 5 days.  It’s always humbling, and somewhat overwhelming, to look at the full list of to-do’s, so I like to take a moment (coffee in hand, in immediate route to belly) to make an execution plan.  Workload isn’t something that scares me – believe me, I love to work and I’m terrible at vacation – but I have to have a plan or even smallest sense of organization and structure.  I need a strategy for how and why I am doing things and big picture approach –  without that, I suffer from what feels like a severe adult case of no-freaking-focus syndrome.  I’m pretty sure that’s not an actual ‘medical’ diagnosis, but it should be, because I think all my friends have had it at one time or another (we’re probably just passing it back and forth via viral emails and Facebook posts).

The reality is, no mater what, I’ll eventually get it all done, but I’d prefer to not waste my time (or others’) to get there.  Whether it’s work, life, or a combination therein, it all seems to be about perspective and and vision.  When both of those things are present in the foundation, it’s not so hard to deal with the unexpected, or adjust on the fly.  All in stride, and all with a deep breath, and all with trusty cup of coffee (or beautiful glass of wine).

So far this week has required many moments of pause, coffee drinking, and list-making….and the fact that it’s not even half way over should probably scare me, but thankfully the careful structure of my sweat schedule has added an extra precautionary layer to boost my mental preparedness.

We wrapped up MAD cardio week on Sunday with the longest, most grueling, and most intense hamstring and glute interval that I had felt in a while, so I took today as a rest day with the full-on commitment to my sweats for the rest of the week, as follows:

Tuesday: MADabolic

Wednesday: MADabolic

Thursday:  Run + kettlebells + band stretch (yep, i’ll be posting this)

Friday: MADabolic + Stretch

Saturday: MADabolic + foam rolling / stretch

Sunday: REST.

This weeks focus is a head down, strategy in focus, and a hard march on toward the end-zone as a restart to this final quarter.  The holidays are coming sooner than we think, and it’s time to get prepped, so who’s with me? I’ve got barely three weeks until I turn 30 and you better believe that 29 is going to finish out stronger than it started….and this year has certainly been a big one so it’s go time.

Wine, Apples, Brunch + More: #23to30 Days 4 & 5

This weekend brought Day 4&5 of my #23to30 chronicles, and marked a solid October weekend of both amazing friends and the first convincingly crisp fall air.

Day 4 landed on Saturday, and it kicked off with an abrupt wake up call that was the second to last day of cardio week intervals at MAD Cville. Saturdays, when I’m in Charlottesville, typically always involve taking and teaching the interval, and this week was no different.  While there are some moments when I first wake up that I reconsider this scheduling decision, I have to say it’s by far my favorite day of the week with our community, packing classes with clients from all week-day time slots, always adding a fresh dynamic to the morning.

After class, the second week of patronizing Brazo’s Tacos, the new pop-up taco spot in IX (In the Al Dente space) brought both fuel and happiness into my life, perfectly timed right before what turned into a marathon day of errands and chores.

Thankfully the day ended with some much needed wine with a few of my favorite people, a finale that inspired this #23to30 philosophy for the day:

fuel sweat grow: #23to30 Day 4

All of these things are absolutely true, and just further support the notion that wine = happiness, and since happiness is the basic goal, wine is the foundation for life and prosperity.

Today, Sunday, brings day 5 of the chronicles, and if it’s possible, was end to end one of the best Sunday’s in a long while.  Wake up, grind out a durability interval at MAD, finally have coffee, eat an amazing brunch at the Guptas (the patron saints of Cherry Hill) and then go apple picking with some of the MAD folks? Yes please.

[grain free paleo pumpkin waffles, egg + asparagus fritata, bacon, coffee....brunch perfection]
[grain free paleo pumpkin waffles, egg + asparagus fritata, bacon, coffee….brunch perfection]
Apple Picking at Carter Mountain Orchard with the MAD crew
Apple Picking at Carter Mountain Orchard with the MAD crew

I’ll have to circle back on the specifics of the day because there are many moments worth sharing, but the main focus was enjoying moments with friends; the beauty that we’re lucky to have in our backyards, and all of the subtle thrills of Charlottesville life.   I could write about this all day, and as much as I want to, I also want to keep to the point —  and that is that sometimes it’s important to just take a break for the people and things that are right in front of you — the ones that give content to your life, everyday.

fuel sweat grow: get excited

 

There’s so much to be so grateful for, and positively overwhelmed with, so take a time to make room and celebrate all of the little things that make up your big happy life.  They add up, and more importantly, so do the relationships, making the difference between simply having a life to having an amazing quality of life….and that deserves a little enthusiasm.