Baby I’m Back…

I totally have been slacking on the blog thing. I know you all haven’t heard from me in a few months, and are probably super curious and waiting on the edge of your seats to find out what is going on in my Crossfit-ing, Whole 30-ing, Traveling, life. So…I’ll tell you!

First of all…I’m doing pretty good at this whole Crossfit thing! I’m still the slowest…and so to those of you who think you will be embarrassed or not good enough to try it out (or any exercise for that matter) please remember that half of the journey is mental! In fact…I would even go so far to say that more like 80% of it is mental! Just last week we had a workout that included running. I don’t run for the record. Or I should say, I don’t run well. I just so happened to be in the same class as two other women who are runners by choice, and so they are also pretty fast and make it look easy! And the WOD just so happened to include three rounds of running 300 meters (among a few other hellish things that made me want to pass out and die but I won’t go there!). The time starts, and off the two chicks go sprinting down the alley for our 300 meters, and here I am chugging along. Long story short I was super last. The girls were relaxing, wiping sweat from their brow and catching their breath as I was struggling through the last rounds. But…my coach told me to stay positive. And he was right! It’s not about the other people! It’s about YOU! And some people are better at one thing than another! For me…I’m strong!! I have PR’d 5 times in 2 weeks! And I’m good at the 1 rep max lifting! and I got my toes to the bar for the first time ever! and I got 35 double under in a row! These are my milestones- and focusing on the successes is what keeps me going back. I’m also awesome at horizontal running.

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Second of all…I’m sucking at the Whole 30 right now. I started working with a wonderful nutritionist, Karen, whose blog can be found here! But…I’ve also been craving candy ever since Easter, and probably drinking far too much alcohol. So…this is my public proclamation of attempting to revert back to a more Whole 30 influenced life style! Wish me LUCK! I will say I have made major milestones with adding breakfast to my daily routine. In the past I would literally go workout, and not eat until like noon! For the record that is not a good thing to do. Again- you gotta focus on the positives right?

Lastly- what is on the travel agenda?! Soon you will hear from me about Texas (my bff’s bridal shower is coming up!), Washington DC (only one of my favorite spots), Nashville (I would totally opt to live here for the record), Vegas (bff’s bachelorette party!! details to come!), and finally Spain & Portugal! This is a super exciting summer already for me! And I got the sweetest backpack to accompany me on my travels from Winter Session. Gotta have the accessories to be stylin’ and profilin’ while on the road!

Don’t Hate the Clean Plate

I am grateful for a tight knit fitness community. I think this is something I have only been able to find at CrossFit and therefore a huge part of my addiction. We’re all in “the suck” together…especially today when we did a bunch of burpees which can be classified as definitely not my favorite.  And as a local CrossFit community, we are also currently in the “suck” of cleaning up our eating and making a major lifestyle change with 30 days of clean plates. Right now, we are probably all in that hangover stage…and not feeling quite as strong as you might think you should when you clean up your eating. But part of that is just the detox phase, the part where your body is like woah this is a change! I’m hoping that I’m not the only one in this group of Vantage champs making a lifestyle change that feels this way. Raise of hands please?

Anyway so part of this process includes learning my way around the kitchen. Those who know me know that I am really not the best with the whole cooking concept. A couple weeks ago I tried to make a recipe that required chopped onions, and ended up with about 3 bandaids on my fingers. But, practice makes perfect. So…I just wanted to share some of the things I have been eating!!

A few notes- I have found that my staples are hard boiled eggs, tomato and avocado salad, Flavor God seasoning,  and any and all roasted veggies!

Whole 30 Reset button

So I started my Whole 30 off with a  bang. Super prepared. Meals planned, groceries bought, friend meal success. Then I had a stressful day and travel on my agenda and I tripped and stumbled a little. I had a cocktail or two (grapefruit, vodka, etc.), and I may or may not have had some delicious chicken pot pie that my adorable dear friend Katie made. From there the snowball effect occurred…and I fell far far off that wagon. I basically ejected from the wagon. But, as I mentioned in previous posts, I can’t be too hard on myself. This is a choice I am making to improve my overall well-being and my eating choices. Now, it is important for me to recognize that certain situations are a trigger to me, and evaluate what it is that I can do to improve that in the future! Since I have this current challenge, and then I am participating in the Clean Plate challenge with CrossFit Vantage, I feel like I will really dive into the choices I make, why they happen, and what I can do to improve that!

Now with that confession out of the way, I did stay very dedicated to my exercising and made some super successful yummy meals! Did you catch that picture up above? Those are my new custom nanos…I am only slightly obsessed and love putting them on for my morning workout everyday! It definitely helps to have fresh gear to keep me dedicated to the gym!

As far as food though, which I am sure you care more about, the quiche from last post was a huge hit. Not only did my dog Soco love it, but my husband and my Uncle loved it too! So much so that I made it again this week, but with arugula instead of spinach. I have found that nuts are super helpful, and the roasted plantains from Trader Joes are a real life saver. See, even other bloggers about the Whole 30 rave about them! I also am LOVING the Yogi Green Tea- muscle recovery. It has turmeric in it which has anti-inflammatory effects! God knows my muscles are sore every 5 minutes because of CrossFit so let’s hope this tea actually makes a difference!

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I have to say our friend meal was one of the best by far! Thanks to my girl Juli for hosting us for this one! We made almond crusted chicken breast, with asparagus and purple sweet potatoes. The picture does not do it justice at all, and I apologize for the yucky quality. If you want to recreate it just simply:

1)Preheat the oven to 350

2) Dip the chicken breast into 2/3 eggs (I break the eggs into a bowl and scramble them up a little bit first)

3) Then coat the chicken in almond flour (I usually put the flour on a plate, and then put the egg soaked chicken right on that plate to get a good covering!)

4) Put in a greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes (time will vary based on the size of the chicken- we had thin cutlets so our chicken baked very quickly!)

For the asparagus- we simply sautéed them in a pan with coconut oil, garlic, and lemon juice. As for the purple sweet potatoes- how fun is that?! We boiled them, and then mashed them kind of like mashed potatoes. They were very vibrant purple, and totally put a new spin on “make your plate colorful.”  Yum!!

Now I am reinspired as we go into a new week so…here we go again!

Philly or Bust…

So this past week I was sent to Philadelphia for work, and got to experience this great city for my very first time. I am blessed with a job that affords me the opportunity to see some different parts of the US. So when I found out that a presentation was needed in Philly, I was quick to jump on that opportunity. From then on  I could not stop singing Fresh Prince of Bel-air’s theme song. Over and over again my brain would say…”in west Philadelphia born and raised…” I was told not to see West Philadelphia though, as the song is quite accurate in that it is not a very safe place to be. So, I stuck to the “Center City” and all of the amazing food and sites there are to see!

Disclaimer: I did not stick to my Whole 30 at all while on this trip. I’m basically going to just press a restart button on MLK day and attempt this again. I’m hoping this is something that is relatable for you as a reader. Sometimes we just aren’t perfect! Sometimes a Philly cheese steak sounds a lot better than a salad. It happens!

Basically the trip went like this: land in Philly, meet up with my fun coworker Michelle, and eat. We did some work as well (presenting to the Department of the Navy there, which was a great experience!), and then ate some more. We stayed at the Sonesta Philadelphia Hotel which was a very pleasant stay! Beautiful spacious rooms, modern decor, and great customer service! I will admit though that on our walking tour of downtown Philly we saw the Monaco and I will just go ahead and say I had super hotel envy. Next time I go to Philly, I’m definitely staying there!

Back to the important part…food. On night one we went to a restaurant called El Vez. This is a Mexican style restaurant and they had the best best best corn. They also have a super old school photo booth so obviously we took advantage of that! Then we walked over to the Graffiti Bar where the bartender was awesome and gave us the low down on everything to eat and drink in the city. They also had a delicious cider-esque whiskey drink that I highly recommend! (See how I incorporated the whole whiskey thing here) We then took a quite fascinating cab ride, with complimentary trumpet music, to Franklin Fountain for some ice cream. I had a chocolate milk shake that totally rocked my world, but all the other treats (check out those pies) looked amazing as well!

On day two, our awesome Navy friends brought us to Jim’s for some real Philly cheesesteaks. They taught us the right way to order. “Wiz with” means cheese wiz and caramelized onions. I went all in for the Wiz. Others got American…but I was looking for the real deal. To recover from the food coma…we then had to have an afternoon coffee to survive! So we found an amazing little coffee shop called Elixir. Word to the wise, they have amazing espresso and lattes. I’m not a fancy coffee drinker. I am a regular drip coffee drinker with a touch of heavy whipping cream. Elixir only does pour overs…so my coffee was not as delightful as Michelle’s. But, she loved it so much we went back again the next day. Moral of the story is if you are a fancy coffee lover, definitely check it out. The vibe was super cool too with wood paneled walls, beautiful wall paper, and a lot of terrariums. Did you know that you can hire an indoor plant designer? This is something I learned from Elixir.

For dinner, and yes we ate dinner even though we had a huge lunch, we found an amazing British restaurant called The Dandelion. HEAVEN! The cheese plate- yes! The fish and chips- yes! The environment- double yes! I stuffed my face so much that I wanted to go to bed afterwards…see I told you I did not stick to the Whole 30.

Day 3 was our last day. That morning I dropped in at CrossFit Center City for a WOD before I ate some more. This was a great spot! The coaches were wonderful and attentive, and everyone was super friendly as is common in the CrossFit world. Word to the wise, if you plan to drop in here you need to prepare in advance. They do require that your coaches from your “home gym” email them to let them know you are familiar with the lifting moves, and have been doing CrossFit for at least 3 months.  One thing I learned here…is that when you get used to your own jump rope, other jump ropes really suck. I also learned about banded pull-ups! Our gym does not do banded pull-ups so this was new for me, and quite fun I might add!

Afterwards we walked all over the city. Obviously I had to see the Liberty Bell and get a little touch of American spirit in me! God Bless the USA! We also had to do a little shopping because I had learned that the “Old City District” was the place to find some boutiques and unique Philly fare. Vagabond was definitely my favorite shop that totally fit my style. I found two cute sweaters and was so pleased with my shopping success. We also had a great lunch at Farmicia complete with yummy cheese plate and a classic BLT to end the trip!

That’s basically my experience of Philly in 2 nights. I think I will have to do an East Coast city tour with my hubby. He has not been to Washington DC, Philadelphia, or New York City yet but he is like the biggest history lover ever. He would totally go crazy for these cities. East coasters- do not take for granted the fact that you are just a hop skip and a step away from some these awe-inspiring historically rich cities! Take advantage of it!

A Clean Plate Looks Like…

I am lucky to have some amazing friends who are always up for trying something new! And in the spirit of the “newness” of the year, some of my dear friends and I have decided to embark on the Whole 30 challenge which we started Monday January 5. To add to that…my awesome gym is doing a Clean Plate Challenge starting January 25…so I have about 2 months of clean eating ahead of me. Fingers crossed I make it!

I decided I would try to share my journey with you all to keep myself accountable and also maybe give you some inspiration or ideas! So some starter tips from me to you:

1) To begin with, it is important to prepare. The first time we did this, I really did not take that advice seriously. I just dove right in thinking it couldn’t be that hard. I was wrong…so this time I plan to actually meal prep, meal plan, and only give myself options for success! The pictures above are a few of the fun stuff I made. Recipes (for the pictures, as well as a few other things I made) are as follows:

  • Quiche with a sweet potato crust- adapted from this recipeThe only thing I did differently was use Spinach instead of Arugula!

Side note about my quiche adventure. My Springer Spaniel. Soco,  also decided he loved quiche. So much so that  we took our eyes off of it for one second, and he ate the whole thing in one bite. Hope the first one was good…from the looks of the photo below, it was delicious! I did make a second one, and that one was yummy! IMG_0024

  • Tuna (scored some awesome Wild Planet tuna at Costco!) with Whole 30 mayo, and green apples (got the idea from here!)
  • Slow cooker pulled pork (no recipe for this one- just a few seasonings, and throw it in the slow cooker for 4 hours)
  • Massaged kale greens (learn about why to massage your kale here!)

2) It is great to have a support group. Three of my local friends and I are taking this challenge together. To make the time go by, we take turns having a dinner at each person’s house once a week and make a fun and creative Whole 30 compliant meal. It helps that no one is having a glass of wine, or a slice of pie, or whatever it is that could be your trigger!

3) Remember that this is a choice you made for your health and well being. This is not something someone is forcing you to do. This is not supposed to be torture. It is important to keep your mindset positive, reminding yourself that you are not being deprived but rather replacing old habits.

Comfort Zone

First of all, Happy 2015 to you! The New Year is such a wonderful time to reflect, and restart. I know for me that 2014 was actually an amazing year. We bought a house, went to Greece, got to spend holidays with both my family as well as my husband’s family, I saw my college team beat Alabama (Hotty Toddy! Ole Miss Rebel through and through!), I started and fell in love with CrossFit, I learned to ski, and so many other things happened that created amazing memories. However, as amazing as 2014 was, I know that there is room for growth and improvement in 2015. Previously I posted about resolutions, and starting on them early. One of my resolutions was to challenge myself or get out of my comfort zone. I started 2015 with a challenge for me, and went skiing! I snowboarded for many years, and hated it. Despised it. It would literally make me cry. I decided to try skiing earlier this year, and fell in love! But as soon as I could find a passion for it, the season was over.  Now as the mountains are getting fresh powder here in Colorado, I finally got a chance to get back on the “sticks” and try it again! To make it even better, we got to take my sister-in-law and her family skiing for their very first time. And quite frankly I could not be happier that I started my new year off waking up refreshed (and not hungover for once) and ready to face a challenge!

So what did you all do for your New Year’s day? Nurse a hangover? (No judgement here! It helps me to get a cold rag on my face, and some Advil…any other hangover advice?) Go for a hike? Spend it with family or friends? Make black-eyed peas and cornbread? (a traditional meal for good luck of course!) Whatever you did…I hope you are as excited for 2015 as I am! And…if you have resolutions or goals for this year, perhaps take some time to start on those today!

A Reason for the Season

God is always working in our lives…every place that we are, every situation we are faced with, every blessing that comes our way. This past few weeks I have been researching and planning for how I can be more involved with scripture, more involved with a church community, and grow in my faith. I have come to know that there is a reason for everything more and more as I have embarked on that journey. I am blessed that in my CrossFit gym, the place where I spend so much of time, there are people that have introduced me to an amazing church community no farther than .3 (yes that is point 3) miles from my house. I am blessed that these people have opened their arms to my husband and I, and made us feel so welcome right at the very time when I was looking for it most. I am just so excited with how this worked out!

That said, Christmas is coming, and I always find myself wrapped up in the material of it all. I love presents, presents and more presents. Not just for me, but for all. Yet, it is important to remember that we have received the greatest present already. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. A son is given…to us. This is something that I want to think about, and encourage you to think about, as we continue in this holiday season. PS- MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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