Nationals: Cleveland Adventures

I definitely haven't given this trip the attention it deserves, as a lot of incredible moments came out of Cleveland. From the food, to the road trip memories, how I grew as an athlete, and where it is taking me - here’s to taking a moment to give it the needed attention. Further, how it's opened doors for much more to follow.

Each shot depicts an aspect of the race and adventure. A mix of the science in sport that I geek over, race results (plain and simple), but also the pure stream of thoughts that flow.

 

Cleveland - Nationals - 8.10.18 - 8.12.18

racing

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The Swim

Let's fast forward past the moment when there was an E.coli outbreak and the swim almost didn’t happen, to the unbelievable morning sunrise and Lake Erie swim. For some reason when it comes to the swim, it's hard for me to get up and go, or really judge my pace. I'm used to the black line and going all out…and that's far from the case in open water. Usually, people get super intense, warm up and sprint. Usually, I like to do the opposite of what everyone else does. This means taking it easy and bringing it home. When it comes to triathlons, so much of it feels like fun rather than racing, so a major area of improvement learning how to switch gears (as opposed to admiring the sunrise, not wearing a wetsuit, making friends, and barely getting to the starting line in time). This was one hell of a wonderful swim (and that's probably not what I should walk away saying…so there was more left in the tank here). Considering this is my strength, I realized that I need to race this harder.

Time: 26:24/100yd

Pace: 1:23

Place: 5th in AG, 22 Gender, 123 Overall

The Bike

Now, a week before this race I bought and was fitted for a new bike (s/o to Rocktown for whipping this up quick and being one hell of a help still!). So this was the first time I really got to whip her out….and the feeling was nothing short of what I imagine flying feels like. For the first time, I wasn't the one getting passed by everyone. That was quite the feeling. Coming right off doing the Half, this felt like a piece of cake. Hit my targets, never went as fast, and nothing feels more liberating than riding your bike on the highway with 4 wide-open lanes of road to yourself. Win: first time averaging +20 mph and not getting by everyone!

Time: 1:10:17

Pace: 21.22 mph

Place: 8th AG, 75 Gender, 503 Overall

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The Run

This hurt. I thought I bonked. I truly thought I had hit my end here. I spotted a disappointing pace on the watch and that was the last time I looked at it the rest of the race. I was thirsty. Feeling the heat. Overcome with depletion. There were these 2 massive hills on the loops and I savage mode went into full swing. This is testament to how important it is to not match physiological sensations to performance because little did I know that I was holding my fastest pace to date.

Time: 42:57

Pace: 6:54/mi

Place: 7th AG, 58 Gender, 428 Overall

FOOD

Most of this trip revolved around the poppin' vegan scene (who would have guessed!?). Needless to say, I think my performance in food selections overshadowed my racing. The pictures/comments say it best.

Winners: 

FUN

All around, I walked away asking myself, how can I do this all the time? Experience this world through triathlons, my plate, meeting new friends, and exploring with great company. So effortlessly living out my lifestyle of swimming, biking, running, sustainable living, nutrition, health, science, entrepreneurship. It's all coming together so organically as I continue simply training, improving myself, sharing my ideas and skills, and getting after life with no reservations.

Overall: 5ht place in the US for the Female 20-24 category. Left with lots to improve on, zest for this life, valuable learnings, and a major itch for more.

Next stop: Switzerland. To be honest, not sure how this whole thing works but evidently a top 18 finish secures you a spot on Team USA for World’s. I’m just out here doing what I love and making it happen. 

 

 

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Being Tougher, Food Experiments, New Moves

(not so) Monday's Mind, Meals, Moves and More

MIND

"If you want to be tougher, be tougher" - Jocko

Nine different projects, ambitious health goals, and nothing holding me accountable but myself, means discipline is required more than ever. This quote cuts right to it. Simple. I like it. As the same approach I take to eating and exercise - no need to over-complicate things. I wake up in the morning - this is what crosses my mind - "be tougher". The last rep - "be tougher". When I could just press snooze or tan all day because I don't have anyone to report to - "be tougher". I've learned that finding a relevant quote, affirmation, reminder, etc. that resonates with where you are and what you need can be the greatest form of positive self-talk and direction. For some reason when I hear "be tough", it triggers a sense challenge and ignites my competitive drive - what I need right now. 

What we tell ourselves creates our reality. Life's nothing more than what you perceive. So I create my own, acting as if I'm already living that life. Years ago (like middle school)  I read something powerful - here's the entire post - "pretend you are already who you want to be". Worth the read.  


Another science-backed tip I learned in undergrad that still to this day sticks with me: Mental Contrasting (WOOPing). The most important part here after you visualize what you want to accomplish and then anticipating your obstacles, is to formulate an "if, then" statement. A lot of times all we need is plan, however where there is an obstacle or we are stuck and it doesn't go as we imagined then we are like "hold up" and fall back to something easy (like distractions, sleeping, bad habits, etc.) 

"If, then" statements create follow through. Oettingen’s studies proved that programming our nonconscious mind to get what we needed done determined how we act in a problematic situation. If we can devote the mental energy before hand, while it might take some initial effort, we have a process in place and we no longer need to decide if we need to eat less or go for that run. The obstacle is linked to the instrument to overcome it.

Ex: You plan on running in the morning but then I wake up and don't feel like it - "If I don't feel like running in the morning, then I will remember the bomb breakfast awaiting me after"

Ex: You find yourself thinking you aren't cut out for something - "If I notice I'm feeling doubt, I remind myself I'm capable, qualified and a boss" 

Ex: You are doing work and keep switching browsers to read funny memes or going to get a snack - "If I steer away from the task at hand before completion (give yourself a time limit), then I will stand up walk around the room, get a drink or water and return" 

When you get stuck it's easy to switch over the browser, when you don't feel like working out you can easily press snooze, or with neg self-talk that can spiral. however, when you are aware of any certain habit - you prepare for that 

This can be applied to everything from talking yourself into establishing a habit, to creating positive self-talk, and even approaching work for the day. The key is to aware of what you need to get done, and what is the obstacle you may face. 

MEALS

What I'm loving: 

  • The latest garden craze - Pesto:
    • Pick one of each to create your own:
      • 1. Pick your green - basil, parsley, arugula, kale, spinach.
      • 2. Add oil - olive, coconut, avocado.
      • 3. Extras - salt, pepper, lemon, lime, cheese, garlic, onion, old bay, avocado, oils, beans, nuts/seeds. 
  • Meal Prep: In the midst of doing market research, concept testing and creating an MVP for my main pursuit, some extensions have organically formed in the food realm - meal prepping/planning, food services and wellness/food consulting and coaching. Again, the name of the game is "simplicity". How can you get all your body needs, ball on a budget, have it taste phenomenal, and meet your goals. I checked back in, and here were two favorites: 
    • Breakfast: Blueberry ONO (Overnight Oats): Oats, Chia Seeds, Almond Milk, Vanilla, Sea Salt, Blueberries, Peanut Butter, Vanilla ,
    • Lunch/Dinner: Bangin' Brussels Bowl -  Quinoa, Brussels Sprouts ,Sweet Potatoes, Dried Cranberries, Crushed Almonds, Onion, Garlic, Vegetable Broth, Olive Oil, on a bed of greens
  • Concession Stand Revamp: Check it out in my latest projects! 
  • 30-Day Trial: Vegan - My dad and I have a thing about watching food documentaries. I try not to be too obnoxious about my food views (okay, maybe only anti-milk but that's it, but even then I've toned down). I already eat mostly plant-based naturally (mostly a Pollen-esque view - "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."), however if you notice the omission of eggs, chicken and hamburgers these next few weeks, you know why. There are many reasons for this (research, experimentation, environment, mental clarity, feel, etc), but it's not my job to impose my views on you. However I will be sure to share the results after. Nonetheless it's a 30-day experiment of being plant-based (vegan). We aren't committing for life - just 30 days. The food industry.is a messy space -  feeling you must have a strict belief in your food philosophy and values…and thus you must defend that to everyone. Even more, there is a sense of guilt and and responsibility when cooking and providing for others. As a doctor prescribes medicine and makes recommendations - there is no difference with how I do that with food for others - as "food is thy medicine". I understand not everyone will, nor wants to eat like me, however I feel tension and conflict as it's essential I provide the absolute best. The research is mixed, there is a lot of bias and confusion in this space. I take it upon myself to experiment, find as many sources as possible, and match that with the circumstances of individuals. It's too easy to over-complicate food and get your head wrapped up in all the "recommendations", that too often have ulterior motives. What I find works best for most, comes down to the baby steps. Start eating balanced, clean, purposeful meals. Then become more in tune with your personal values and what your body needs. Don't feel you need to justify for anyone but yourself. For me, I'm always continuing to experiment for myself and also for the impact that my eating behaviors and "recommendations" have on the world. 

MOVES

What I'm loving: 

  • Circuits - Videos included on the instagram blog post
  • Acro yoga 
  • Needed something to light a fire under my ass -decided to sign up for a Spartan Race in November. (It wasn't  exactly in the start-up budget to buy a $2000 bike for a triathlon *accepting sponsorships and donations though*
 

MORE

Between about nine ongoing different "projects" (broadly used word for "work", "contracting", "creations" etc.) and being a little over two months out school, I wanted to do a  "check-in". Everything I do, I do with purpose. Right now, my purpose is providing and creating value. It's time to narrow in (so maybe a handful of projects instead of nine).

Please let me know: What brings you the most value? What do you want to see more of? What do I share or create that is helpful? What do you not give a shit about? What can I do to help you? You all know how to reach me (comment, email, social media, phone, in-person, etc.)

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The Unseen of Business Creation, What's Up with Coconut Oil, and Exercises (To Come)

Monday's Mind, Meals, Moves and More

MIND

“The media loves stories of visionaries who see the future and chart a perfect course to intersect it. The reality, however, rarely plays out quite as simply. Even the unveiling of the visionary computer, the iPad, in Steve Jobs' words was years in the making, built on several incremental innovations (and failures) of software and hardware.” - Ash Maurya, Running Lean

This is the realness no one likes to share. Why? Well It’s not sexy. And it's not that glamorous. And it's far from the narrative we are used to enjoying .

If it looks like I know what’s going in, you’re highly mistaken. You'd think after going to college twice that there is this set path paved for you, but rather it’s quite the opposite. You realize how much more there is to do and all there is to still learn. .

However, while I don't know exactly what I'm doing…I do know what I want - and that vision and sense of what I aspire to do and live is clear.

I’m always learning how I can bring value with my skills in a way that allows me to continue growing, being creative, and interacting with fabulous people. One door quickly opens up another and soon enough I'm introduced to new world of possibilities. That’s life right? Not stagnant, but evolving.

So what am I actually doing? One week I was a wine tasting girl, the next I’m prepping meals for families. I’ll be doing all sorts of different coaching, or sometimes I'm babysitting.  Sometimes it's part-time consulting, or I watch houses. The mornings I wake up early and workout and write, the evenings I give lessons. At night I get back to what ever it is that day that takes my idea one step further. Each day is different. Super different and full. And somewhere in between all this I’m active and moving and being inspired.

The reality of this life - it's a process that's very "up and down". There are days where I have no direction, no idea what to do next, yet through it all I have this deep knowing and itching to take action and just do something.

This is this struggle that is rarely discussed - the confusing and uncertain-as-hell aspect...the lack of instruction. As much as I hate it, I I love it.

For people who think someone just goes ‘poof’ and 'wah-la' ...a business appears...or that I have a template that I miraculously follow or even clear direction - I don’t. While I'm systematic and follow a personal process, it’s ever evolving and changing with each day...largely dictated by interactions and what I learn from my environment.

These last two weeks couldn’t have been more different in regards to the momentum of projects.

Stuck - that would be the best way to describe how I felt two weeks ago. Sort of just like "now what?'". I was torn on moves to make and what aligns best with my long-term goals.

Two weeks ago (in terms of biz moves)...yeah...I was hard on myself a bit. There was some mixed stagnation and disappointment..and can you believe it...even feelings of doubt. I'm a huge believer in the potential of everyone...including myself. We should 100% believe in our capabilities.. but the question "do I really have what it takes"...yeah that popped in my mind like twice. Is this worth it? I could just get a job and not have to think about this. Should I just get a job where I have some direction? Am I building something people want? How do I bring this to life when I lose energy? I do ask myself what the hell am I doing…but shouldn't we all? Reassessment and asking "why" is an awesome tool for either making sure there is a reason to what we are doing, or it reminds you why the hell you started in the first place. 

So how do I get out of this and back on my true mojo? Talking to people. As soon as I talk to the right people - mentors, friends, customers -  I instantly know what the next move is. It took reaching out to a ton of people to gain momentum. *also a reminder of how nothing is possible without others*

The next week everything fell into place. That balance between patience and action is so real. The entire week was spent trying to make something (anything!!!!) happen but without direction and focus..or even purpose.This felt unproductive and useless. When it’s just you, it’s easy to be like “what the hell am I doing again”. Suddenly, all at once (and really, the moment that real leap of faith was taken) for me, everything came together and it's back to the effortless "go go go" of building exactly what is needed. All the ideas started flowing and flooding again. That's the awesome part. Instantly a move gets made and energy propels all the rest... it is hard work in the most effortless way. But like everything - it takes enduring and being steadfast through the moments of not-so-awesomeness to get to new heights.

 

MEALS

What I'm loving: 

  • Booch: Gut hell-th ya - brew your own and it's even better. Add in your own fresh mint and blubs - yup.
  • New veggie cutter: Make veggies sexy again. Cool shapes and slices aren't just for kids.
  • Mocha-Cacao Smoothie: *say it like "moka-coka" it's more fun* Frozen cauliflower, frozen banana, cold brew coffee, peanut (or any nut) butter, collagen peptides, cacao powder, coconut milk, flax seed, greens (of course get in there) (and if you're extra, go ahead and add some special thangs like adaptagens, mct oil, etc)
  • Coconut Oil: I aint scared..With all scary news circulating, it's easy believe whatever you read. I won't add to your confusion but THIS is one of the better, non-bias articles debating both sides of the argument. 

MOVES

What I'm loving: (vids not happening this week - to come next post!)

  • Stability Core/Upper Body: "Killah" circuits for core stability hittin that multi-directional anti-rotation motion 
  • Pool Exercises: No, I'm not talking about swimming. Rather, regression exercises in the water with transferable skills to master an exercise. 

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Putting Forth Your Best Work, Seasonal Recipes + Tri(ing)

Monday's Mind, Meals, Moves and More

MIND

An alignment of 3 simple concepts I gathered from last weekend's NGS conference, recent podcasts and a current book I've been reading - all through the lens of different disciplines (sports, business, and life). While the perspectives differ, there lies common ground. Interpret as you like but here's what I think it comes down to:

Sustainable Work and Effort

  • Conference: The main message of many of the keynote speakers (beyond the incredibly valuable information shared from their areas of work) was that young people need to put in more time, energy and effort to prove and establish credibility in comparison to adults with more formal experience and expertise.
  • Podcast: All we hear everyone talk about is the #hustle and #grind and #teamnosleepexceptfortheweak…yet is that sustainable to really perform your best? Like many of the speakers said at the conference, you need to work harder than anyone else, but this podcast defends that we also must rest harder than anyone else. This isn't an excuse to not put in the effort. However, true progress is long term. Consistent solid work does best over time.
  • Book: The breaks. Our 'Aha' moments happen when we "open our minds to let the best possible actions from the past combine to reach the best possible goal in the future" - this means taking our mind off what we want at times. "You practice your moves so they become second nature to you, and then you free your mind and let the circumstances of the battle guide your actions in a series of flashes of insight that show you the Way." 

Interpretation: Put in the work, rest, and reap the rewards. Across so many social media influencers, we see all this intense motivation and and sure it lights a fire to get you going..but how long can you sustain that -- yes, if you want to be better, you've got to work harder. While we need to outwork to get ahead, you also need to strategically rest - that's when the breakthroughs happen.

Routine Action

  • Conference: "Obsessively take action..and execute". We were told that how obsessive you are depends on the size of your dream - if it's not that big of a dream, then you won't obsess..and therefore won't deliver exceptional work. The people that routinely are taking action are the ones that have no other option because that's what it takes to deliver. Therefore, if you're goals aren't too ambitious, you feel no sense of urgency to constantly works towards that goal. 
  • Podcast: The routines and parameters you set should align with your goals (whether your're a professional athlete spending 8 hrs/day practicing vs 2 hrs/day while working on a business) - you need to be disciplined in the right direction aligned with what's necessary at that point in timeHowever, you must be as disciplined about holding back as you are with the hard work. In the mindset of peak performance - there are no short cuts or hacks. While it's easy to get short-sided and go into overdrive for short bursts, it's the long term and sustainable action that wins. 
  • Book: Taken from parallel drawn between military strategy and Asian philosophy - there are many possible ways to achieve your strategy. There's what we can control, and what we can't. "Success comes from picking the right combination for the right goal". In order to choose that goal we must understand the current circumstances in order to make the course of action to get there. The "action" itself is never routine, but the process of reaching that decisive point is. 

Interpretation: It's easy to get short-sided thinking you need to stay up all night on Addy and coffee, take PED's, or work really hard for a day and not continue. Science and history prove you are much more likely to achieve your goals and strategy if you establish a process that can be done on a consistent basis for years. 

Balance

  • Conference: The Patience Paradox: Navigating the balance of the ambitious pursuit of an audacious goal, while simultaneously embracing the moments you must endure to get there. This is so real. There is discomfort when we don't feel like we're progressing. This urgency can serve a purpose - it maintains accountability, consciousness, self-awareness and ambition to do more. However, this desire of progress requires a balance of patience. 
  • Podcast: Balance is an allusion. My entire life I've been told to "balance". However, I don't think there is such a thing - however there is being thoughtful, intentional and knowing what you want. "Stress + rest = growth" (I've talked about this type of cycling of stimulus both physically and intellectually before). 
  • Book:  Researchers in neuroscience and cognitive psychology studied these “Aha!” moments and it came down to using “thinking, not feeling,” over time, and you link disparate elements to produce a new idea. “A flash of insight cuts through the fog of your mind with a clear, shining thought…at last you see clearly what to do.”. It's the balance of work, examples of history, presence of mind, intensive learning, personal experiences, reading, and ultimately patience that allows for the breakthroughs to occur and the light-bulb to go off. 

Interpretation: As long as you are committed to self-understanding - who you are and what drives you…then you can align your tasks accordingly, while also being patient in understanding the ebbs and flows. Some days require more work than others, but overall, balance can (and should be) achieved. 

Too be 100% real with you ...Why do I care? The realness you don't hear about is how damn difficult it is to strike this optimal balance to put forth your best work - keeping the short and long term in mind...on top of the events life throws. There's this incredible uncertainty when you have to hold yourself accountable to making something come to life with absolutely no instructions (not like I would read them anyways). I'm constantly trying to navigate this tension of what works and doesn't work for me...and it's always evolving (and always will be). Naturally, I've noticed the relevance to this challenge through what I've been reading, listening to, and learning. 

MEALS

What I'm loving: 

(beside the abundance of fresh garden blubs..a hella easy snack). I'm reunited with the vitamix..distance makes the heart grow fonder. The garden+greenhouse is poppin' so moves have to be made

  • Carrot Almond Butter: Carrots, almond butter, almond milk, frozen banana, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg), protein of choice
  • Mint Chocolate Chip Shake: Mint, spinach, kale, cacao powder, frozen avocado, frozen cauliflower, chocolate protein powder, frozen banana, almond milk, oats, (topped with almond butter, shredded coconut, cacao nibs)
  • Green Juice: Cucumber, spirulina, kale, lime juice, frozen mint, frozen mango, coconut water (Kristen Thut coming in clutch with the brainstorming of this concoction) 

MOVES

Week of 6.5 - 6.11.PNG
  • Tri(ing) - People often ask what I do - I like to schedule lots of different things (nothing crazy, but here you can see a taste of last week's schedule). With that being said, at the end of summer I'll be doing a triathlon (first one in 3 years!) Right now I'm enjoying the mornings outside, maintaining strength, mixing it up, trying new things, and simultaneously focusing on different fitness goals. I also need to find a way to afford a bike that isn't a beach cruiser :) 
  • Moving: Little detail, but makes a significant difference in my work output and general feel. 45 minutes of work, 10 minutes move (mostly to the fridge...but sometimes a quick jump in the pool, handstand practice, attempt to master a one armed push ups, filling up my water bottle, etc)
  • Recovery: Needed to step up my rolling game - found this steal for $14 and I'm more excited than ever to wake up in the mornings. 

MORE

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Two Degrees Later: Why I'm choosing to live in a trailer on my parent's drive-way over taking a job

How I went from attending a prestigious graduate business school to scoring a sick Boston fellowship (with the company of my dreams) where I was living on a futon in a rat-infested loft with two dudes above a rock concert venue, but ended up moving into 1970's trailer on my parent's driveway to pursue a business idea.

They say 10 months would fly by. I believed them. However, I didn't believe I'd have the vast experiences, emotions, living, opportunities, learning and relationships in that time period. From staying in the on-campus dorms to my last day sleeping on my couch…what has taken place over the course of theses 10 months has been a ride where I've grown in ways I never anticipated or sought. They also say you will be employed. I also believed them.

After some time to reflect on what took place over these 10 months at grad school - where I am now, where I was then, where I thought I would and what actually happened, after cherishing the special relationships fostered and unique souls who have forever impacted me...leaving this wonderful place and time in my life was bittersweet.

It's a truly special feeling to move on to a new adventure from a place and time in life that makes it so hard to leave. To drive away with a heart so full, knowing that you did it right, that you are heading in the direction that you've wanted, and seeing your friends head down the paths that is best for them is all for which I could have asked.

Monday I graduated with closure in every way I could asked - with friends who are following what they love, while I get to venture off on the path I'd always desired.

Yet, there was a moment where I almost dropped out.

It was never because I didn't believe in the program (disclosure: WFU was amazing and if you are ever interested in a jam-packed year of learning, hit me up to talk) or felt like I didn't need this knowledge - rather it was 100% me...I was so damn eager to get my hands dirty and learn through taking action right at that second. When entering grad school, my goal was to gain the business acumen that would allow me to start a business. I quickly learned, that nobody has the answer to that. While I surely gained business acumen, I also gained much more than what I hoped for - unique experiences that I didn't realize would make such a difference.

In January I stopped focusing on 'getting a job' and focused on the reason I went to Wake in the first place - to learn and apply. Everything changed. I had ideas again, I created, I was involved in the community, I had overwhelming support from the university, and I was presented with opportunities and experiences that gave me energy. 

I never needed a piece of paper to validate myself and what I am capable of accomplishing (and no one should), however the people and experiences provided a sense of strength and newfound knowledge that by myself I would have never gathered. It's a blessing that it's so hard to leave, because that means I did it right. It took exploring those areas of discomfort, testing the waters, diving into the fields and conversing on levels beyond my realm of experience or interest. I struggled, I learned, I then ran with it.

In March I took that incredible trip to Boston where I hoped to one day work for the company of my dreams. I got the Fellowship, I was going to apply my new skills while improving the food system. I was going to live in Boston on a futon with two dudes in a rat-infested apartment over a rock-venue ..and I couldn't have been more stoked.

Then, two weeks ago, with deep regret..the company informed us that they would be closing their doors.

That was the final tipping point - between the cancellation of my fellowship and job rejection after rejection..at some point it's one of those things that you can't help but just laugh in amazement at how I was getting absolutely nowhere. If I wanted anything to happened, I was going to need to create the experience I wanted where I could apply everything I've learned in school while bringing my ideas to life. 

I committed to longer investing my energy into convincing someone of my value and fitting their need - my energy was much better spent just making shit happen. I had an idea I'd been tinkering with since the winter and at there was no other option to make it happen. As if I was waiting for that invitation to do it - I felt like the closing of my next job was that.

The last few weeks of school were been spent heavily researching, meeting, learning and creating this. While most people were winding down, accepting their jobs and taking vacations and stuff...I was just getting picking up speed.

NOW WHAT: This will be something I'll be rolling out these next couple weeks however I had to share a taste (hint).

As my roommate constantly reminded me these past couple weeks - I was never going to accept a job (…if only I knew that too, it would have been the year much less stressful). So maybe this is what you expected (it wasn't really for me).

But here's the plan….

Yes, I'm heading back to Northern VA, the place I vowed to never return. However, ...it's for business opportunities where I believe I can make the greatest positive impact and learn the most.

Yes, I'm heading back to my home, the place I vowed to never sleep another night. However, …I'll be living in a trailer in my driveway (I get to live out my dream of staying in a tiny home). So that doesn't count. 

I'm giving myself 3 months to do everything I love - learn from people, implement and test ideas, create, train, work hard, absorb in knowledge, challenge myself, follow a strict daily routine and only do the "hell *@^#^ yes".

Three months.

I'll see where it takes me. If I don't do this, if I don't scratch this itch, I'll always wish I did. The worst that happens - I get a job after the summer. However right now, this is the kind of shit that I look forward to - grinding out on business ideas, making shit happen and being healthy AF.

This is the shit that makes me so excited that I can't sleep at night because I'm shaking in my bed ...the type of work where I can't help but wake up extra early to get after the day. It's a life full of energy, excitement, challenges.. and I absolutely thrive.

There's a time and a place for these types of projects, and it comes with it's uncertainty but I'm absolutely embracing it. Bring it on.

20 years of school was great, but right now I'm eager to get after what I've always wanted to do.

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Food+Future Workshop&Makeathon

Sunday: Food+Future & IDEO Makeathon

Saturday: FFxBitten Workshop: A Clarifying Sprint

Some say "We Came, We Saw, We Conquered"

However yesterday, We Came, We Ate..and We Make(athon)

This was the Food and Future Makeathon

I'm going to continue off the questions raised these past two day's: How do we verify what's in our food? What's the truth?

With this question buzzing in my mind all weekend - on Sunday, 60 of the greatest bad-asses gathered to discover and answer this question. With 48 hours of curiosity itching behind me, I was eager to dive right in.

Here's the thing. We think we know what's in our food..well not exactly.

  • For Example - Human DNA in our hot dog: In 345 hot dog samples, human DNA was found in 7 and 10% labeled as vegetarian contained meat DNA.

 

Let me introduce to you Illuminate - a scanner decoding nutritional content of one-ingredient foods. Using molecular spectroscopy (throwback to science fair in high school when I tested for the polyphenols in various vegetables based on agriculture methods…funny how seven years later this was what I was trying to get at), analytical chemistry, and deep machine learning - F+F is bringing to light food transparency.

It decodes (provides the true nutritional content), gives the power to the consumer to decide (take action based on the quality of your food), and delivers transparency (through superior outcomes allowing a change in health and decision making).

What are the possibilities of this...why even stop at food?

Perhaps you want to understand where your clothes come from, or have access to your own personal health data, can this be a tool that educates children and engages them in life of healthy choices, can this be the end to allergy attacks, what if all toilets scanned our shit? This is what we explored, and in four hours, brought to life.

The human centered design Process - inspiration, ideation, implementation

Discovery - understand, prep, inpso

THE PROMPT: So fast forward 3-5 years, when Illuminate is a widely adopted technology (with competitors and a need for innovation to remain relevant) among retailers - giving them the power to hold distribution accountable…a world where food is purchased based on nutritional levels. This data is translated into actionable explanations for the common person (from a kid to grandma). In the long term, the consumer can even interact with this machine.. and we know exactly what is in our food. Illuminate needs innovation to remain relevant. Go

Four hours and four people later (an MIT+Cal Designer, Tufts Engineering Psychologist , and NYU Culture, Education and Human Development), we proposed a solution.

RULES

  1. Get inspiration - talk to people, listen..and more than with just your ears
  2. Make assumptions - like as if all the technology was available and this couldn't fail
  3. Think big - like super big (that also means no shooting down ideas)
  4. Be real - prototype, test, bring it to life.

TL;DR

OUR SOLUTION: Leveraging Illuminate’s technology - we created a brand extension...a pill that takes a snapshot of your individual gut biome to increase transparency about your health. The data collected is able to provide recommendations to optimize your personal biome - in particular, focusing on the pregnant population who commonly suffer from ailments (everything from morning sickness to gestational diabetes) directly related to their internal microbiome. Not only is there a live child inside a mom...but live bacteria..and mom's should care just as much. There's an abundance of emerging research on the topic of gut health, and most recently pertaining to this population. We discovered that gut bacteria has incredible short and long-term impacts on the health of a mother and the carried child.

The possibilities are endless. 

How we got here was even more fascinating.

Interpretation - frame opportunities, search for meaning

"How Might We" Questions and Design Thinking

  • How - assumes a solution; might - free from judgement; we - takes a team
  • A constant cycle of inspiration, ideation and interpretation to arrive at a human-centered designed approach
    • (We hit the ideation phase hard today)
  • It's constant reiteration. No to pressure. Yes to brainstorm.
  • "What if"…generate ideas
  • A balance between broad focus and narrow constraint.

IDeation - generate and refine ideas

Brainstormin' Rules: 

  • Defer judgment
  • Encourage wild ideas
  • "Yes, and" > but
  • Stay focused on the question
  • One convo at a time
  • Visuals!! People understand better through sight
  •  Quantity > Quality - in order to come up with a good idea, come up with a lot of ideas
*Ross in the wild testing our concept*

*Ross in the wild testing our concept*

Experimentation - prototype and feedback

  • Research and Prototype:  Build, listen, edit, repeat
  • Prototyping - fail early, repeat, creative confidence
  • Doing > describing
  • Ask the right q's
  • Learn from getting the product out in front of people (core users, experts, extremes)

Story Telling

  • NOT A PITCH - instead we are capturing all we learned 

Storytelling moves past words alone to help people understand and feel the power of your offering.  At the end of the day, you’re going for impact with a considered audience. Storytelling is the human way …think of it more as a fun science fair.

  • It's like an arc - you set the scene, you share your promise, and show were you end up now.
  • Formula < Structure
  • Convincing < Immersing
  • Professional < Personal
  • Important notes to hit: Empathy building, the promise made, business model, support (hiring), next steps
  • The Bar Test: pretend you’re at a bar with you buddies. Tell the story of your concept. Are they still listening 5 minutes later? The story of your concept should ignite emotion, ideas, and interest

Tips:

  • Be visual - images, prototype
  • Be crisp. - time is tight..understand your points and communicate them
  • Be human - empathy, anecdotes
  • Be thoughtful - consider the strategy

Have fun

Ok..so maybe this isn't an explicit rule in Design Thinking...but I think it's an essential component of having a kick ass team like we did. Both days, I left bonded with incredible individuals who I not only learned from but created lasting friendships. It's sick when you can appreciate everyone's unique contributions, personalities, skills and experiences..it makes the process exhilarating. It's for that very reason this weekend was so special - I was surrounded by absolute rock-stars, in an environment where people loved food and creating and learning as much as me, and I was constantly in a state of exploration and excitement. 

Whether at F+F, Boston, or in life, this same approach can be applied - finding inspiration, learning from others, coming up with ideas, creating and tweaking (as we grow)..and in the end, you may even have a good story to tell.

As long as you had fun. 

ap

Periodization and Transition Phases - Approaching the Final Cycle of Business School

 
 

(Mostly) Mind (this week)

"The dream you are living is your creation. It is your perception of reality that you can change at any time. You have the power to create hell, and you have the power to create heaven. Why not dream a different dream? What not use your mind, your imagination, and your emotions to dream heaven?"

- Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements (Love More, Fear Less - it's inspirational as hell)

I often think of my life in terms of macro/micro training periodization cycles - here's a very simple picture to visualize how training periodization works (simply put, purposeful waves (gotta love me some water analogies). There are cycles of grinding and maxing out, testing your limits - but in order to grow and optimally perform, these challenging times must be followed my rest, relaxation, and recovery. 

In life, these 'down' periods (transition phases) take the form of reflection, allowing one to process absorbed knowledge and experiences, sometimes realize what you've even accomplished, and take a moment to learn from the past. If you push too far without this, a lot of the hard work and training will go to waste, you risk injuring yourself, you burn out, and you simply become over-trained, not yourself and no longer involved and benefiting from the process.

I'm fortunate to be in school where this type of transition phase is worked into my schedule (aka SPRANG BREAK!!). While many chose to take exotic trips or raging cruises - what I needed for a break was time to simply pause. This week was an active recovery week.

Of course, no surprise...I walked into this week with ambitious intentions - the business plans I would write, the personal projects I'd complete, etc. Yet, the moment I finished those final exams and completed the long trek home...all I could do was sleep (and eat). I had no idea how (unnecessarily) exhausted I was.

Three years ago when I was forced to do nothing but think during my hip surgeries, something I never paused and stopped to do, I promised myself that I would intentionally plan time for this in the future, as it is essential for growing (or else, like stated early, you burn out, or get sick, off-track, etc. and eventually are forced to stop).

Often times my greatest ideas, insights and intuitions come to me after I've taken a break for a few days. Like a taper from training - at first I feel 'off' or may question if I've even put in my best work, if it was good enough, could I have done better. Will it pay off in the end? In sports and life, there's uncertainty at this point because the work's behind you. However, along the way you trusted in the process, so shouldn't you believe in the outcome?

At about Day 5, as in training, I hit this point where everything starts to come together. The accumulation of learning, work, and experiences..my training…and I realize "I still got this"…I'm on the right track. I'm thinking like myself. This "performance test" comes in many forms, often life challenges, ideas or direction for what's next.

When training, it's hard to stay in your own lane. We all have different goals - if you train or do the same as the person in the other lane, you will likely perform the same as them. If that's your goal, then that can be a beneficial training strategy...however, today that's not my goal.

There's plenty to learn from those around you. Those you surround yourself with can serve as motivation, challenge you to be better, or simply be there to keep you on track and remember your goals. However, when your goals and dreams differ from the focus of those you are around, it's easy to lose sight of what you came here to do.

After any test of performance, it's essential to redirect your focus and make changes to the next cycle of your program according to what's working and what's not working (and also what you may want to try experimenting). As I head into my last "cycle" of this semester, the final weeks of grad school, it's a time to refocus and align with my goals. Following what I love, doing what aligns with my long-term goals, serving other's, and fearing less.

"Imagine living your life without fear of expressing your dreams. You know what you want, what you don’t want, and when you want it. You are free to change your life the way you really want to. You are not afraid to ask for what you need, to say yes or no to anything or anyone."

It's only after these tests you realize it was pretty damn irrational to have ever worried or questioned yourself. I believe this emotion does serve a purpose those - because without out any sort of discomfort, we would just casually go about things, perhaps not attentive, without anticipation, never feeling the extremes, no satisfaction or appreciation.

"Imagine living your life without being afraid to take a risk and to explore life. You are not afraid to lose anything. You are not afraid to be alive in the world"

This is why I've grown to love the process of business creation - it's often a game, an internal sport. There are no rules when you it comes to your original ideas, no process on how to take principles and concepts and turn them into creative advancements, no one to tell you what's the right way to go about it, no one is making you do it...there's only the optimal level of intrinsic motivation to create in a flow state...there's no wrong, there's only learning.

It's a game, because most of the time while there is a process and plan to the madness...I have no idea what I'm doing or what's going to happen until after I perform. 

Meals 

Spring Break involved lots of meals full of wholesome and fresh food from our greenhouse and chickens. I discovered the magic of frozen avocado's in smoothiess and experimented with improptu recipes when my friend and fellow foodie from school (s/o to Kristen) stopped through for a couple days to join me in eating and exercising all day.

If there's one thing for you to takeaway - I ask you to never waste a rotting avocado again. Dice and pop in the freezer for later use. Thank you.

Moves

Lots of yoga took place this week (where I was introduced to this week's quote)...a time for releasing and re-centering. I couldn't pass up the free time to create and introduce a new lifting phase, and I enjoyed two long, adventurous, warm, sunny bike rides on the C&O Canal. 

Here's one of my favorite, fun workouts that kicked my ass: 

Full Body Barbell + Dumbbell Blast (45 minutes)

  • 10x each exercise, 3x each cycle
  • Followed by 1 minute sprint

1. LEGS

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Reverse Lunge
  • Sprint: 1 min banded jumping jacks

2. ARMS

  • Push up
  • Row
  • Chest Fly
  • Sprint: 1 min hops over barbell

3. CORE (I used a TRX and was in pushup position)

  • Circles (5x each direction)
  • Knees to elbows (Oblique crunches)
  • Pikes
  • Sprint: 1 min elliptical 

4. ARMS 

  • Chest Press
  • Delt Row
  • Rev Fly
  • Sprint: 1 min hops over barbell

5. LEGS

  • Hip Trust
  • Squat Pull-Through
  • Lateral Lunge 
  • Sprint: 1 min banded jumping jacks

It's as hard as you want to make it depending on the weight and type of each exercise. The point is to move everything, keep your heart rate up, and challenge yourself...so it's a flexible workout format to switch in/out whatever you'd like. 

More

Of course, much more has occurred these past months besides the thoughts between these two ears, what I (primarily) share to be occurring in the kitchen, and my gym chronicles.

I continue to be surrounded by loyal friends (and jeez..realize how lucky I am) and family who I cherish and share many special moments and relationships. I included some of the fun...but of course photos don't always do it justice. 

make it a great week! - ap

Counseling from Children, The Science of Seasonal Eating, Business Movement 101 and Weekly Lesson One-Liners

 
 
 

 

 

Mind

"There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn't matter which path you take. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain, telling everyone his or her path is wrong" - Hindu Proverb

The pressure of providing content, staying connected and actively scrolling through social media for enjoyment is real. It's pretty pathetic this is the challenge our generation faces on a daily basis.

When you are constantly posting (or keeping busy with the posts of others), you aren't present in what you are doing. I love to share experiences, and perhaps offer something that I am experiencing that will be helpful to someone else...but it's also important to recognize that being present in your own life is more important than that. 

I'm finding that balance. 

*Read this excellent article inspiring continuing that topic* It's absurd this is actually a problem faced these days but nonetheless it can't ignore that. It's a longer read but definitely eyeopening! 

The real content: A couple messages gather around this theme of paths (whether it's in what you do each day, how you choose to live your life, or in work)

The paradox of opportunities: One of greatest beauties of life derives from the vast amount of possibilities and boundless directions. It's this same beauty that also bears one of life's greatest challenges. While so free, we can become overwhelmingly restricted...as if there's a perfect path to be chosen. In business terms, "opportunity loss". Some struggle with finding something to do and where to work ...a difficult decision nonetheless...however for myself, it's choosing between everything I want to do. I don't know if it's any better but it's an ambitious problem to have and keeps me hungry and on my toes.

The MA program fills our days with opportunities for networking, learning and career advancement. Lunches with corporate executives, board of directors and professionals (which are all super awesome!) however it was the counseling from a 10 year-old that I want to share. 

At last Friday's Wake Soccer game, we made friends with some kids (clearly I'm winning for grad school social activities). Who I really was talking to was myself, 12 years ago - hyper, full of energy, understanding of others, confident, bold, and dreaming. 

My teammate had her dog (in a dress)...so like every other person...I figured these young girls were going to stop by, pet the dog, and leave. Like most people.

..the rest of the soccer game was spent having all kinds of conversations ranging from school to life plans with elementary schoolers. 

When kids ask you what you want to do with your life...there's this sense that you need to over-simplify things so they understand...and here's how I found myself explaining what I wanted: "I want to be moving around where people are fun and doing crazy things, I want to create solutions that change the world, and lead people toward a healthier and more improved life through health and food"

And here's where 10 y/o me comes in - she starts doing the "twitchy jumpy thing" as she excitedly exclaims that she holds the answer. She so confidently tells me I need to be a counselor, that I love helping people, that I need to own a healthy store where I have solutions for people revolving around food and exercise.

(And so we began bouncing and talking about farmers markets and haircuts and essential oils - so innocently and unconcerned with how we just picked up a completely new conversation and never finished the other. That's also how I knew it was me)

It's funny how I spend hours with all these career experts - asking them where I should go, what I should do. Yet I meet this 5th grader at a soccer game and she had the answers. The answer being that we each have it inside of us - and that there are many paths to get there. Her understanding and genuine energy was so pure and unpolluted by the outside influences, ego, and norms that society inadvertently places on us. We go out searching for all these answers, waiting for someone to confidently send us in a direction and validate that our choice is the best one - yet, kids - with their unbrainwashed wonder, clear lens for dreaming, and invincible sense of possibilities - are often the greatest reminders of what we really want to do. 

Meals

What's in season?

  • Apples, cabbage, tomatoes, collards, cucumbers, green peas, herbs, corn, kale, lettuce, 'shrooms, bok choy, blackberries, pumpkin, raspberries, peas, spinach, sprite melons, sweet potatoes, turnips, zucchini, beets!
  • RIGHT NOW..is the peak of the best of the best selection...this summer to fall transition is the only time of year where you'll ever have such a wide variety

Is it important to eat certain foods during specific times of the year? 

There's a whole area of study stemming from the understanding on what to eat and when but here's what you need to know...

  • Fruit's and veggie's beautiful spectrum of visual appeal come from their pigments (like our skin colors). Just like we have shades, so do plants. Chlorophyll (greens), Flavonoids (blue, red, cream), and Carotenoids (orange/yellow). Each are special in their own way, providing unique and different nutritional benefits (hence, why we are told to "eat a rainbow" b/c of the diverse essential vits+mins and nutrients necessary from all of them)
  • Carotenoids (organge/yellows) bring this to the table: Vit C, Beta-carotene, Vit A, Potassium, Lycopene, and Antioxidants
  • We are creatures of habit. We get in routines and purchase the same foods every week. Technology has enabled us to eat whatever we want, whenever we want. However the combinations of vits+mins and nutrients that our body craves for optimal functioning constantly change throughout the year.   
  • Eating seasonally: It tastes better, it's cheaper, it's sustainable..even nutritional analyses have shown significant antioxidant content differences (freshly harvested, rotated...more bioavailable nutrients)..combat flu season with a simple coordination of your diet. 
  • Also next time your fake tan goes wrong and you'll look like this - just say you over did it on the fall vege's carotenoids

Moves 

Ironically, it's the fitness junkies who can be the most sedentary. A 3 hour workout does not give you a free pass to sit all day. Being that I'm in class from 8am-5pm, I'm experiencing this corporate-like culture. I experienced this, gained perspective, and am now changing it. So I left off last time switching things up: had an epiphany, made some changes. Here are the few major ways to inject a bit more movement, improve your level of work, and elevate your well-being: 

  • Combat the movement discouraging clothes - so long heels, restrictive skirts and even those damn tote bags. 
  • Biking to school - Active commuting gives a major boost to psychological well-being (school or work, this is important for us all), including happiness and ability to concentrate. Well-being is found to be higher for people commuting by active travel like walking or public transport compared to driving (and obviously the physical benefits follow, as well as increased creativity)
  • Sitting on the floor - Chairs are a luxury and not doing us any good ...instead of going into depth on this, you can follow the link to read more. 
  • Cut the Commute? - I recently came across this....startling (but not surprising) that the simple act of community is killin' us. Cutting you commute is equal to the equivalent of making $40,000 more in yearly salary! Right now I am paying that much...so I'm pretending that by walking/biking to school they balance each other out :) (I'm not even considering what it would be if I was actually commuting ..that's a whole other story...)

More

For the sake of entertainment, wonder and to reassure you that there is never a dull moment - my attempt to recap the past three weeks through the wisdom of one-liners: 

-When attending a career fair: professional frat party - packed, sweaty and thirsty for conversation...yet crucial for networking

-When at a Wake Saturday football game: proof of what the power of free food/drinks and Harambe can do

-When attending your professor's husband's concert: if there is no divide between the band and audience, it's acceptable to go on stage

-When recovering from an unfortunate butt dial: nothing...just never take your phone into the bathroom

-When surviving your first financial case competition: 48 hours of Finance requires 96 hours of recovery...never underestimate the importance for a platform of creativity 

-When competing in grad school field day: competitiveness and sun-burn susceptibility doesn't change with age 

 

make it a great week! - ap

 

Unstuckin', Food Truckin', and Combating the Energy Suckin'

 
 
 
 

MIND

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it" - Aristotle

Yes, yes. This goes to Carl for the continual reminder that I haven't posted. After a three-week blog hiatus I've returned with nothing short of an exciting, whirlwind of experiences of share. Before blogging, I prioritize writing for my own clarity and understanding. During this action-packed journey, it's been essential that I first digest and reflect...and then share :)

Going into grad school, I knew it would be different, yet I embraced and truly welcomed the challenge head-on as I wanted to stretch my business experience, absorb this new world ,and in the end create some extraordinary. 

Arriving at Wake I was committed to make a complete 180 - knowing well that it would be something I wasn't used to but I was nonetheless looking forward to this gaining a new perspective. Over a combination of many experiences - the past couple weeks I grew increasingly overwhelmed -  a sense of "offness" for lack of a better word.

Questioning and reflecting on this change: Was I challenging myself enough? Was I still following what I loved? Am I learning enough? Staying true to myself? Was it just growing pains?

This path I was taking often left me feeling at times like it wasn't what was best for me. The reason I was here felt much different than others. Never mind the fact that I am beyond eager to get out in the world and start working - whether for a company or pursuing my own ideas. There was something draining me. I soon recognized this and knew I had to make a decision to change my approach - and their were many ways that this could happen.  

I was lacing purpose and an outlet for energizing myself beyond school. Coming off of an incredibly engaging project that my head, heart and mind never stopped thinking about, in addition to being surrounded by a team that was focused, driven, and united toward a vision - my days were always full of progress, personal growth, and multidimensional challenges. 

Wake is beautiful place and full of wonderful people too, and each person in the program is incredibly smart and brings their own unique value..and so I made the priority to actively involve myself in ways that spark energy in me - connecting with these people, volunteering, and creating...but most importantly...MOVING.

While academics are a huge priority, these changes and conversations allowed me to find the ways that will allow me the growth I wanted  while not sacrificing my values to be "business-y".  My focus is now taking in all information while prioritizing wellness - an area that many push aside in this environment. More importantly, new projects are under way and give me an outlet to constantly apply and grow new knowledge everyday. 

MEALS

(bullets will be necessary today)

  • Home: We had a four day "summer break" which I took to head home, grab the car, and visit JMU. Going home means gorging myself with fresh garden delights and making the most of the abundance of cooking options. If you like food - proceed to follow my Snapchat. If not - please disregard and unfollow during holidays to avoid the ungodly but necessary amounts of food porn.  
  • Volunteering: Sunday's are my day to cook and take the time to get food ready for during the week - part therapeutic/part necessary. However today I added an extra 90 meals. No, I'm not trying to bulk up. There's this organization at Wake called Campus Kitchen and they take leftover food from the dining halls, community farmers, and stores to prepare meals and innovative food systems that foster and improve nutrition and education in the community. Obviously, I totally dig everything about this. Today was the first shift of the semester...and there was no leftover food from the dining hall. So...it left them at a loss for what to make...but if there is one thing that I'm good at, it's making something out of nothing. As you can imagine...the feat was exciting and ideal for me..and it was quite evident as I bounced around the kitchen pulling things left and right to create a masterpiece. With minimal ingredients to work with, we compiled a Quinoa Tuna Salad! I can see the repulsed face of my picky-eater readers but I'm telling ya...these kids will never even know that they are eating quinoa..which has me pumped cause sneaking in those nutrients is key for the young-in's.
  • New project: This is all I can really share :) but behind the scenes some exciting work in underway (however I'm sure you can guess what it pertains to) *hint hint* where it lies in the blog category
  • And the Old: Technically, the most exciting of food stories belongs under here - THE LONG ANTICIPATED LAUNCH OF FUELED FOOD TRUCK! I'll touch on this more later. 

MOVES

So as I feel my health deteriorating, energy zapped and soul shrinking with every sedentary minute, my Kinesiology-minded self couldn't allow this guilt to hang over my conscience and watch this spiral any longer.  It would be unjustst for me to tolerate this sedentary trap. *cue epiphany*. I will continue to share how I battle and transform this "9-5" through incorporating movement into my day. 

MORE

Since we didn't have class Monday, I had the chance to stop off at JMU on my way back...the same day as the launch of Fueled!!! 

I've never formally/publicly/social media-y shared what I've doing or working on for the past couple years beyond articles from outside sources and promotion...I was strictly focused on making it happen. 

This venture began coming off hip surgery my junior year and the opportunities I saw thereafter. Invaluable lessons have been gained throughout the process but for brief-blogging's sake...I'll save that for another time (later on I would love to share the process, timeline and story behind it). 

Witnessing the truck open wasn't the moment that this felt real to me. To everyone else this was the big day - and don't get me wrong, I've been waiting for the day that I could share Fueled with everyone - but to me this was only another step of daily progress toward something better. The greatest part of being there wasn't when I first bit into the meal or when the windows opened, but the chance to share the vision and process of Fueled with others.

For the past two years I knew that this was going to happen, but I also knew that I wouldn't be there for it. And that was okay because it was never about me, but rather the university and local community. This was a project that fueled me and that's what it was designed to do for others.

These freshman eagerly waiting in line didn't know what they were about the get themselves into. Here they are, first day of school, first meal on campus.. and I'm overwhelmingly smiling and hugging them and chatting their ears off...they're like'wtf why is this girl tripping over a damn noodle bowl. To share my excitement (and they had no idea I was behind it until later) made the experience even greater.

To put this into context: When I get really excited I do this 'twitchy-thing'…but it was so drastic on Monday…the energy was surging through my veins that I couldn't even take a steady picture of my food.

Being able to share this platform for students to advance their health, skills, experience and community through doing something they love and feeding off that energy of other's doing the same - that's what it's all about. Fueled was much more than a food truck but an opportunity for personal growth, university collaboration and community engagement. Being able to share that was beyond fulfilling. It's funny though..after witnessing this, the last thing I felt was complete…if anything it inspired me to do more. Now of course, I made sure to stop, enjoy the moment and embrace the experience. But as I engaged with students and sparked the possibilities that await them at JMU and beyond, it was the same inspiring sensation that not only symbolizes the beauty of what can come out of the help of so many others…but that also reassured me how special the process was and why I work to continue to learn and grow so I can do this again. 

 

The Accidental Half-Marathon, Motivation by Phelps, and Candied Veggies

Mind

"It's not the end of a career. It's the beginning of a new journey. I'm really looking forward to that"  Michael Phelps

*mic drop*

Guess 23 gold medals makes one wise. All jokes aside, there's depth and truth to this statement.

By far, the swimming in Rio was the most real and the most special than it's ever been.  

The way athletes race say a lot. For most, it wasn't about winning but rather the true purpose and process leading to these unfathomable moments. Many of these swimmers commented on embracing the journey and the meaning behind their swims - little kids or gold medalists - seeing anyone swim for the purest of reasons is beautiful and powerful.

Phelps was like many other athletes who walk away from their sport believing that's all there was and all their ever could be. However, his return to swimming however wasn't for the medals. When watching, you can see that he was much more than an Olympian but a father, captain, and a human being. There was that love for the water.

It's rare to walk away from something so impact with the enthusiasm and optimism for what the future holds after, as well as the gratitude for the process. Unlike in London, rather than a lack of direction, Phelps begins this next chapter  with optimism - it's bright and it's undefined. 

That's completion. Not a medal.

Well...so if it isn't obvious..more than the swimming..my guilty pleasure is watching these athletes experience the pure joy, ego-less pride, that sense of completion, and love for the sport and journey, combined with the drive for more to to come in and out of the pool.

Meals

Calling all sweet tooth's that need to get their veggies in - this ones for you.

This is one of those simple dishes where I scream to Hayley and make her eat it because if she doesn't then she's missing out on life. 

  • Slice sweet potato into cubes, mix in a bowl with a spoon of melted coconut oil and some dashes of cinnamon
  • Roast for 20 mins at 350
  • Let it melt in your mouth as you rise into the heavens

Moves

Today I accidentally ran a half marathon.

You are probably wondering how one does that. Same.  

My week is always full of interesting workout stories (this week: having to politely excuse myself from a very poor workout class, swimming adventures, gym encounters, parking lot workouts...the list could go on...I really don't think I ever have a "normal" day. Keeps things interesting.  

The most interesting of them all though would have to be today's run.

Let me first make it clear - I don't typically run long distances. I would love to, but sometimes this ol' thang doesn't make it with out some little tweak, break, tear, etc.. But Sunday's I spend +1hr rolling, prepping, doing exercises (the whole sha-bang) to prepare to push the limits. 

Somehow, somewhere, I got a little lost, took a wrong turn and at mile 9 found myself in someones backyard 3 miles from my house. Might as well just go all the way.

Too exhausted to be overcome with what should have been an urgent sense of fear/hunger I managed to find a way back (did walk the last 2 miles in effort to not waste $100 because I got injured) and make it home. Not how I imagined by first half, but it's always easier when you weren't expecting it right. 

More

You could say my week started off pretty damn splendidly when I was graced with the honor of being my best fran's maid of honor! KC and AP are at it with the planning (I've never been to a wedding so more room for my imagination...Amy...you sure you trust us?)

Weekends are full of lots of ideain', lots of dreamin' and lots fun. Heading into the week energized with future possibilities and working toward that next adventure. Stay tuned. 

On another note - nothing says give me your money than this face

make it a great week! - ap 

 

Runnin', Rollin', and Racin'

 
 
 

Mind

"Hang on to your youthful enthusiasms -- you'll be able to use them better when you're older" - Seneca
 

Meals

I try to avoid giving "recipes" but rather a template. Recipes do two things: either intimidate you or make you follow directions

I'm not a fan of either.

After talking with a classmate this week about the food I post, he brought to my attention the common struggles for most people when it comes to eating well - 1. Not knowing where to begin when it comes to cooking and 2. The effort to get it together. However, if they had the ingredients given to them they could figure it out (say if someone gave him a list of the basics (spinach, chicken, dressing, etc. he could make a salad, no prob).

My philosophy? I hardly follow recipes; though, I do seek inspiration (sometimes this is through pictures/videos/friends, challenging myself to use what I have, and also being in touch with what I feel my body needs). Then I use my means to make it happen.

Example: I have butternut squash, black beans and quinoa -- find a way  to use it...make burgers, salad, etc. 

This approach to my food isn't much different than my approach to life - no recipe, no set instructions but learning what you like, using what you got, and enjoying it is key. The secret to cooking (and life!) and enjoying it is doing so without recipes (or instructions!) and following what feels right for you. Learn as you go, use what you got, and enjoy the process. 

To come (special requests from other's *keep 'em coming people*): The template to work from when it comes to food basics

*If you haven't already...you'll want to check out all of this week's food pics - played around with a broad range of meals, tried to do something different each time - they are mad sexy*

What I'm lovin: Ging'zing Refresher

  • In a water bottle over night I shake up 3 tbs chia seeds, 1/2 squeezed lemon, and 1 tsp of powdered ginger
  • Pour it in a glass over some ice (even add frozen berries for some extra flav)

Ginger's been well known and studied for it's superpowers to treat a variety of ailments -  reducing inflammation, improving lipid metabolism, and containing antioxidant properties. Now, combine this with the detoxifying and brain-stimulating benefits of lemon while getting in that much needed h20 (which is straight up just good for you, especially if your weather is anything like this hot and humid NC summer). 

 

Moves

Now that my month of Pure Barre is over - it's on to the next - LA Fitness. The swimming deprivation has taken a toll on the soul and a sacrifice had to be made. 

On another note I hit two relatively long distances with both the bike and sneaks' this weekend (on to the pool tomorrow). 

Hit my max running distance since before surgery and it felt damn good.

S/O to ice and the lax ball for making this possible. 

  1. Ice cups: Since I no longer have the luxury (?) of full body ice baths at JMU - this does the trick. Cheap, painful, and not only reduces inflammation but promotes healing and mobilizes soft tissue.
  2. Lacrosse Ball: My best friend. My saving grace. The benefits are truly endlessly but most importantly (and for many reasons) this has been the game-changer for injury prevention. Again, cheap (steal from your brother, find on the ground near a tennis court, go buy one for a few bucks...)
  • Overuse injuries creep up real fast, and usually way too often. However, most of the time this is simply a result of improper muscular balance and timing. Muscles become tight, others become weak, body parts start going in directions that they shouldn't, you keep pounding...and there it happens. 
  • Self myofascial release (soft tissue mobilization) does the job.
  • While research is still emerging, studies have found foam rolling and and SMR to improve muscle length (even more so than stretching) and activation, increase range of motion, influence neural responses, decrease soreness, increase vascular function, decrease arterial stiffness, rehydrate fascia, prevent fascia adhesions, improve muscular circulation and reduce swelling.
    • Here is a little vid from the Swimmin Scientist himself showing how it's done: here
 

More

Once every four years, Swimming enjoys it's five minutes of fame (or 30 seconds). This calls for couch duty and isolation for seven days while I relish the moment. Consider this an advanced warning if you don't hear from me. 

 

MAKE IT A GREAT WEEK! -AP

Swervin', Stories, and Skillets

 
 
 
 

MIND

"Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive"Howard Thurman

One of our first courses is on leadership. We were assigned a project called a "Reflected Best Self Exercise", a way to understand our strengths and contribution through a story-telling, feedback-seeking approach and analysis. Strength-focused development and performance has been all the hype in the large body of leadership development research and growing more popular in business and management theory. 

By reaching out to people who know us well (and can provide honest opinions), it allows us to expand our understanding of who we are and what we do when we are at our best.

Reaching out to people and asking them to write three stories about you is one of the most uncomfortable and burdensome feelings. Seriously...who has time the take precious energy, emotion, and moments from their day to sit down and write three stories about me?

I'd see email notifications and would get nervous...oh god did they have anything to say? What if this cost them too much time?

........ I would get stories back and not only be blown away with the thought, thoroughness and detailed kindness in each response that truly gave me perspective and served valuable in understanding myself – almost EVERY email ended with something along the lines of “I actually really enjoyed doing this!”

Not only were these individual responses incredibly special to me, but for others as well.

I realized...we shouldn’t wait this long to hear how we’ve impacted the lives of others and where we best add value. 

Never would I put this upon anyone to write about me had I not been forced to for class.

This gave me an idea.

SO for the next year, once a week I am going to send someone three stories.

I want to not only help others find their strengths, but also reap the value as the one writing - to reminisce, grow a sense of gratitude, and adopt a mind frame looking at the world in terms of what others have done for you.

 

MEALS

It took me 4 weeks to realize that we don't own a stove-top pan/skillet/anything except for a pot. Got a cast iron pan, a tray and a pot 'doh. 

I'll mention the two cast-iron pan recipes because it was super easy to do and clean up (score.) Side note: I apologize in advance for the vague directions (i.e. dash, scoop, sprinkle) I tend to eyeball when I cook ...so from here on out I'm going to do a better job with taking notes so I can replicate and share :)

1. Breakfast Cake

  • Set oven to 350, put the pan in with a scoop of coconut oil
  • Combine 1/4 c Almond Flour, 1/2 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder, 1/2 tsp Baking Soda, dash of salt, and some sprinkles of ground flax seed, with the liquid mix of an egg, a couple splashes of almond milk, tiny scoop of melted coconut oil, and a squirt of agave,
  • When the oven's ready, pour it in the pan, put a handful of frozen blueberries on top and cook it for......honestly…I'm so bad…don't even know how long I cooked it for..I just smelt it and knew it was done. Let's say about 20 mins 
  • Trader Joes has this incredible PB that has flax, chia seeds and is crunchy! Opened up a fresh jar and put a very generous "scoop" on top

2. Sizzlin' Breakfast Hash

  • Roast chopped cabbage and potatoes drizzled with olive oil at 400 until crunchy (usually around 20 mins)
  • In the pan coat with olive oil, drop in a handful of kale, add the roasted veggies, crack an egg, top with sliced tomatoes and put in the oven for another 10 mins
  • Enjoy warm! (I topped mine with salsa for a little kick)
 

MOVES

Kickin' off the week, Hayley and I head out for Barre...pull out of the street and get a flat tire.

We sure as hell didn't wake up at 5:30 for nothing. And what else was there to do while waiting for AAA than get that werk done.

*Cue spontaneous, full body kettle-bell, dumbbell, and stability ball circuit in the parking lot. 

4 exercises, 4x - one for legs, one for arms and one for core...each round followed by a lap around the block. 

We were wet. It was bad-ass. But it reminded me of a story my dad told me growing up..and soon I realized I'm not near as a bad-ass. 

 

MORE

The flat tire was a slight reminder of an important lesson. As a kid, each morning my Dad would get up before 3am for work so he could drive and hour and half and get their before 6am…over an hour before he needed to be there. Why? The reasoning for this is you never know what is going to happen. Being late is the one thing you can control. We can't control how others act, traffic, situations around us but we can control being on time.

One morning on his way to work he got a flat tire. At 4:30 am he pulled over on the side of the road, fixed his flat and still got to work before everyone else. No one would have any idea that before they even arrived he had changed a flat and still got there early to get started on work.

....SO while Hayley and I may not have changed the tire ourselves (however, she did do a workout, meet with AAA, get taken to the tire shop, get a new tire, have breakfast and coffee (team effort), and be at school by 9), and I'm clearly not a grade-A bad-ass - it did remind me of the lesson to always do everything in your power to control what you can - being early and prepared, showing up with character, taking care of yourself, constantly improving yourself. With all the unexpected occurring day-to-day there are things we can control in our lives and that is where champions are made.

 

The Importance of Failing, Core, Good Food and Friends

 
 
 

MIND

“Success is never owned; it is only rented – and the rent is due everyday.” - Take the Stairs, Rory Vaden

The two times in life I've felt the most alive:

  1. When I had a vision and shared it with others 
  2. Overcoming extreme adversity 

Right now, life's comfortable.

And I don't like it.

Here's the thing - we can't stop being disciplined. We can't live off past successes or experiences. Doing something once means nothing, you got to keep doing it every day (more of a pep-talk for myself but bear with me). Every single day, success must be earned. I'm earning nothing right now. Something has been missing - it's been doing something for a reason beyond myself, engaging with others who have ideas, thinking creatively, and challenging myself physically and mentally (beyond the regular school expectations).

It hit me - I hadn't failed in a while. I don't mean that in a "look at me I'm not failing, I'm winning". This is nothing to brag about. I'm not failing means I'm not challenging myself. This is a serious problem. 

Never has reading 19th century political economic literature got me so motivated. While Bastiat's essay, What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen, is economically founded, I look at this in terms of our health and human potential. A simple concept, but money that is going somewhere is money that could have been going somewhere else.

What about our time? Our resources? Our energy?

It's easier in the short term to watch TV, stay up late, skip workouts, eat poorly, vege out. However we soon grow lazy and comfortable. We experience short term pleasure. At the expense of long term success. 

Worse, this lack of growth and influence is what goes "unseen". It's easier to not look at life that way - in terms of all things you could be doing. And even more, actually doing them. So we don't. 

The real tragedy is giving up something you wanted more for something you wanted less. This could be success in athletics, school, relationships - anything. It's sacrificed for short term comfort.

When you gain that foresight - when you realize all the things you could be doing with your time, abilities, and energy - you become motivated to maximize the possibilities.

Thursday morning I woke up and signed up for a half marathon. Decided to rearrange my daily routines. Decided I'm ready for the next ideas to go after.

As Bastiat says "Often, the sweeter the first fruit of a habit, the more bitter are its later fruits"

This week I challenge you to question if what you are doing now is truly what you want, because we always have a choice, and the choice is yours to go make shit happen.

 

MOVES

Core workouts tend to be pretty spontaneous so when two girls approached me at the gym to tell me mine looked kick-ass I was flattered. First off, it was super cool of them to tap my sweaty leg and get my attention. Bold move. Second, it made my day that I had an excuse to share my workout with someone. They were totally down for me to teach them and I'll jump on any chance I can get to do so. 

I figured, well if these girls loved it then maybe other people would want to know too? 

Now, let me emphasize...there are progressions and regressions to this as I learned after I fell on my face. Realizing that I wanted to leave the gym with my front teeth and dignity I switched it up a bit. 

This incorporates stability, strength and core activation. Grab a Bosu Ball, and Medicine Ball. 

1. In a push up position grip the bosu ball on each side (flat part up) and your feet balanced on the medicine ball. 

2. Keep your core braced (no curve in you back!), and everything tight the entire time.

-10 Right/Left Wobbles (make slight elbows bends and roll the Bosu Ball from side to side)

-10 Front/Back Wobbles (same thing as before except now in the front and back direction)

-7 Push-Ups

-5 Foot taps (Alternate keeping one foot balanced on the Medicine Ball and tapping the opposite foot to the floor)

-5 Single Leg Knee to Chest (each leg)

-3 Knee Tucks (Using your core to bring the Medicine Ball into your chest)

THEN! Swap. Put your hands on the MB and feet balanced on the Bosu Ball. 

There are lots and lots of ways to add to this, I was just experimenting but you can make it easier or harder.. I would suggest picking a couple and going through it twice to start out. 

 

MEALS

"Box" Two has arrived and the enthusiasm hasn't dulled. I am overwhelmed with the amount of produce that is currently drowning my kitchen but refuse to waste any of it. This week included all sorts of goodies including peaches, white and purple, eggplant, cabbage, green peppers, zucchini, potatoes, and green tomatoes. This week I'll play around with more dishes but to start out, Box #2 didn't disappoint with dinner tonight and this week's lunch - Garden Herb Basmati Rice and Tofu with Ribbon Carrots, Shredded Cabbage, and Sliced Green Pepper on Roasted Cabbage.

 

MORE

I regularly experience nostalgia of the treasured memories through swimming, traveling and personal growth. My prior teammates through swimming in particular have left a mark on me that often can't be put to words. Just Friday, a close friend of mind went through something beyond incredibly tragic that can only leave one at a loss for words. Not only did my former teammate have her entire house burnt down, but lost her father. Nina embodies toughness, is selfless and was a teammate who no matter what would put herself on the line for others - it is only right that I do what I can for her during this unfathomable time. I include the link to the GoFundMe's that were created for her family and ask that you please do what you can do help. 

https://www.gofundme.com/2fza7ak

https://www.gofundme.com/Tremols

 

 

 

Christmas in July, Grad(e) School, and a New Type of Bar(re)

 
 
 

MEALS

For 7 days I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of (well at least what hopefully would be) something very special to me. What I received was far beyond my expectations.

It all begin when a classmate filled me in on her latest discovery...she immediately messaged me..knowing that I too would share her excitement.

For $20 Lowes Food compiles the regions best of the best goodies from the farmers into a crate.

Introducing - The Carolina Crate.

I can promise what I received was valued far more than $20 worth of food (and I always make sure I'm getting my money's worth)...never mind my effervescent state that even 24 hours post-opening has not dulled the slightest. 

So why am I so excited? I realize how ridiculous this is. And that most people would rather just have a meal delivered. And they would probably be just as happy.

What I love about this is how it combines everything I love - a surprise of local produce that I'm forced to work with and transform into a masterpiece. If it were up to me I would just stick to the same ol' but this forces me to put my creativity to the test using minimal ingredients.

There were so many directions I could go with this but I knew I wanted this week's dish to have a summer flare. 

The final masterpiece:

A lively summery salad w/ roasted roots.

In with Quinoa went the basics (Evoo, S+P) w/ squeezed Lemon and chopped dill to add some dat zest. Chickpeas roasted to perfection in Evoo ( simple but key). The refreshing Cucumber-dill dressing was the magic touch (pureed a seeded Cuc with Evoo, Red Vinegar, Dill, S+P and squeezed Lemon). Enjoyed over a bed of the fresh Green Kale.

Next were the magic roasted veggies.The crock pot came in clutch letting me cook, tan and swim all at once. Just put em 'Taters,  Eggplant, Carrots, Green Beans, Beets, and Tomatoes in and let it do it's thing. I was diggin' the root veggies included in this week's present..but in a "a Summer-y alive and easy zest" type of way...not a "Fall savory warmth and comfort". I needed to inject some lightness...and what better way than making use of the abundance of Cucs and some Lemon and Dill.This dish had the summer warmth without the comfort of Fall. 

The coolest part? My friend got the same box. With the same ingredients, Kristen and I took 2 totally different routes. She wanted to try multiple different meals this week (now I'm wishing I did the same!) and went with a more comforting Curry Stew with her first meal. 

Tomorrow we are each bringing our dishes for lunch and trading (cue the excited clap). Sort of like elementary school lunch all over again  (here's a formal apology for everyone's food I ate throughout elementary and middle school and my extensive/expensive appetite). 

 

MIND

Speaking of elementary school...it's only fitting I'm now trading at lunch too.

If I could sum up my first week of class in two words:

Grade School

This week I had a grown up version of picture day (it's no different than how you remember it). Not only did I take my picture but I also had to pronounce my name which was even more unnatural than this photo...hard to imagine, I know.

I've been blessed with not only a name tag to wear, but one to bring every day to class to put in front of my desk. Much fancier, definitely an upgrade from Kindergarten, but I can't doodle on it this time (except for the message I wrote on the back saying "DONT FORGET ME"....in hopes that I won't lose it for the fourth time this week. 

Packed lunches, assigned seats, team bonding activities.

Basically this whole week has been a bundle of new faces, food, excitement, and knowledge - all the best parts of being a kid in one. Funny how I'm here going to school more, you know..suppose to be 'adulting'.. yet I feel like I'm only reliving the greatest parts of my childhood. I kind of like it. I still pack a lunch twice the size of anyone else, trade food, draw on my name tag,  love love love working with my team, and ask too many questions - so far not much as changed. 

 

MOVEs

It's hard to top that. But I've been experimenting with new forms of exercise as well. If you don't care about Pure Barre, spare yourself my overly in-depth analysis and scroll on. 

Two weeks ago Hayley and I made the decision to test out Pure Barre for 30 days. I use 'test out' lightly...it's more like if we were allowed to do two-a-days we would be there three. Basically I'm determined to get every penny out of this and form a valid opinion by completely Barre-ing it up - going to every class, instructor and immersing in the community. 

I was very skeptical. I think as an exercise scientist it's in my nature to be overly critical of workouts, cognizant of trends and keen to form and proper technique.

I had the choice to sign up with a $99 a month or a $25 class (+ $13 socks)…I figured I might as well just pay $100 and get my money's worth and learn to love it.

All I did was think.

I thought about the music. Which they rocked (except for when Demi Lovato came on twice and I almost had to leave).

I thought about the people. Every single person had this unreal amount of welcoming energy and bubbly fun pep for 6am. Early morning classes you never know what you will get in terms of energy but damn I admired their positive attitude and exuberance!

I thought about the exercises. We used a band strapped to the bar but all I could think of was all the other possibilities for future classes that we could be doing with the one band. 

Myself, what I'm doing, what the class is working on, corrections, the beat, style, people, technique, flow...the state of awareness was quite intense. 

Slowly I'm becoming incredibly fond of Pure Barre. Not in some fad ballet transformation way but for the application to my day. It awakens and activates the tiny and necessary muscles for functional "work form" (aka sitting all day).

As I am no longer bouncing, striding and leaping my way through the day, proper posture is much needed and often compromised after heavy lifts that leave me hunched. Barre wakes up the functional muscles - allowing carryover into the day. 

Some say it's this cross between Yoga and Pilates with ballet spunk - I consider Barre intensive and necessary pre-hab accountability. Sort of like a full body physical therapy session. 

Most the women in the class are so aesthetically perfect with their form that Hayley and I marvel through the mirrors attempting to mimic their movements but just look like well….fish out of water. 

So no it's not a sweat sesh and sure anyone can do a billion reps and it's totally a trend AND I'm paying for prehab BUT I'm totally loving it now, it keeps me from getting injured and I feel it would be an excellent compliment to someone with an intense workout regimen who could use some cross training. (Swimmers especially).

 

MORE

And these certainly can't go without mentioning: 

Hayley and I spontaneously attending the Charlotte vs Swansi soccer game Wednesday after class (including our "rage bus" ride, traffic bonding, and my first Charlotte adventure).

And I (almost) went to Vegas! The weekly Wednesday phone call with the Carl's was delayed until Friday night...little did Camo know it was because Carly would be surprising her in Vegas for her birthday. I kinda went..did the best I could and made my appearance via video but basically experienced Vegas. 

 

Week 1!

Three days past my Sunday deadline. 

BUT

  1. I couldn't Bear having to consolidate my exciting new experiences into two weeks once more

  2. Better to try than not do it all, right?

First day of class today and my professor started with a quote summing up my approach to these next 10 months.

"Anything that is worth doing at all is worth doing well"

While not typically how I've gone about my days...if I'm doing this whole business thing I'm going all in. In terms of sustaining a lifestyle - I alter my daily habits to ones I will continue and hope to have forever (morning routines, exercise, etc) and there are trade offs (like being in the same building from 8-5, dressing up, etc) - there exists aspects that I may not continue but I'm challenging myself to step outside that comfort of an active day and gain new perspectives. 

On another note...

"Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you learn to do it well" 

*ahem* *this blog* 

So I may not have gotten around to it this weekend (and I'm happy I made that choice because the trade off was well worth it). But it's better to just get this out there and learn how to do it better than to not have tried...because well, it's worth it to me! This carries over to other aspects of life, business, entrepreneurship and sports as well. 

 

Meals

Every meal is the highlight of my day (and realize other people don't find my food as beautiful as I do).And when not enjoying the meal...my highlight is thinking about the next. This weeks feature isn't the typical glamorous piece of art and pride you'd usually expect. 

That's because this beautiful craft and nourishment that is often consuming my mind often praised in the form of pictures, also consumes the minds of others....but in a much different way. 

Moving to W-S, I was keen to this the first day. It's something that makes me feel sick. Wake Forest is the perfectly manicured university - rich in some of the brightest minds, deepest pockets, and privilege. Take a step off campus and things drastically change. 

50% of school children in W-S are receiving free or reduced lunch...worse...they then go home and won't eat again until the next school day. If lucky, they may be able to have cheap and processed food at home. Think of the developmental impact this has? They can't grow, think, perform, and or have the chance to ever end this perpetuating cycle.

 Here we are as students over-consuming elaborate meals with hefty bar tabs yet right across the street others have nothing. It doesn't seem right to me. 

I'm fortunate to attend a school who cares deeply about this though. During orientation last week the Forsyth Backpack Program came to the MA program and allowed us the opportunity to do be a part of their mission to fix this. Part teambuilding activity and service project, this hit close to home and left me thinking much more of how I want to make use my knowledge for business and passion for food.

Moves

FriYay Partay: 

Two days into the program and we gained a fitness following. The crew rolled in deep Friday morning with four MA students (oh the influence one can have on "Thirsty Thursday"). While sneaking out early from a party Thursday night...hoping not to justify our lame, habituated 'I have swim practice" reason to go to bed early...word spread quickly of our need to depart for an early workout...and others adamantly wanted to join. Of course, I'd love nothing more than for people to join me...but this just isn't typically the most enticing offer or appropriate conversation you expect others to enjoy during a night out with friends. Or if you want to make friends. Like Carly questioned "and they are still you're friends"? - you may too be curious when I refer to these as my friends. 30 minutes (10 push ups, 8 stairs, 6 box jumps, 2 laps - as many times as you can) of high intensity bad-ass-ness later and we are going back for more this week.

How I got to resorting to my creativity and a track for a workout I will explain at another time. 

Stay tuned - hiking, Pure Barre experimentation, and sub-par gym luxuries

 
 

Mind

The Model Health Show Podcasts has been my go-to lifting music. Not only is super motivating but it feeds my mind. I'm usually juiced with new research, health facts and reasons to keep doing me but a particularly relevant episode left me with some key points that differed from the usual science. 

-Respect and revere the process

-Beauty in preparation

-Honor the opportunity

-Execute on what you say you're going to do

-And always do the exceptional no matter what

 

 

More

I'm huge on environment. The impact that your surroundings have on you brain and thus actions extend far beyond what we realize. With that being said - new beginnings mean new goals and new visions. Here's what I've begun to do so far to create that. 

Th[reecap]

I practice writing daily - both as an exercise of clarity, skill acquisition, and peace of mind - however I struggle between regularly sharing for two reasons. 

  1. Why do I care for other people to know what's up?

  2. Who am I to put thoughts into the heads of others? 

For two weeks I did thorough reflecting on my intentions of blogging. Trying to first get my thoughts together myself - I hadn't yet found a deep enough reason to share with others my experiences. When publishing what I write, I first ask the above questions. What value am I adding? A laugh? A "lesson" (and more, who am I to provide that?)? I've come to the conclusion while I always hope to benefit others somehow...the purpose of my actions are not always what they seem. After much reflection, I realized it's not the daily occurrences which I care to have others knowing and taking interest. Rather, it's the documentation and value in the process which I'll accumulatively display. 

Article by article - I don't believe to be spreading anything too life altering - but more it's the compilation of documents piecing together a story that is valuable. The underlying path of connectivity and understanding the journey is where magic's found. With that being said - here I am. To display start to finish how things happen. 

These may come in the form of weekly recaps, sporadic stories, or anything that had a great influence in my day that I get a chance to reflect and digest in writing.  While writing also provides structure, forced thought refinement and a personal challenge to stretch my interests in the form of creative expression - I have even more of a reason to finally share :)


Weekly recaps are the goal. However, in the midst of simply reflecting, enjoying the experiences and diving head first into these new adventures...I'm now forced to consolidate three weeks of a vast ranges of 'happenings' to one post. Hence the title " 'three' cap" . To spare a life story I'll group it into the highlights. 

1. The (not so) Solo Salem Adventures

 

2. The ('dorm'et) food

 

3. And The "Wait. I'm here for school" / "I'm a grown up now"side

1.

As the wise motor scooter rental man from Key West once said

"GET LOST" - so that I did. 

I'm a firm believe there's no better way to familiarize yourself with an area than to workout in it. The majority of my adventures are in the form of fitness - finding trails, gardens, neat hidden gems (usually pools but they're lacking in that department). For the most part I set forth solo. Don't let that deceive you into thinking I'm walking a lonely life here. From stepping foot on campus not knowing a soul, I've made at least 20+ friends this past week in the class...that's not considering the community brunch conversations, dorm neighbors, karaoke bar duet partners, and those daily meaningful interactions with others while enjoying weekend trail walks. While setting out alone, I never cease to become surrounded by and interact with the neatest individuals.

 

2.

You can learn a lot about a town by your Costco trip. And having to fit all your groceries on your bike. 

To sum up my dorm food experience in three words: Winter Training Trip

...but for three weeks...and I only have to eat like 1/5 as much....and I don't have the option to ride in the van to Whole Foods or Jamba Juice or have the luxury of a seafood dinner.

1. First off...the obvious - resources. What do I have to cook with? A pan and tuberware. One spoon, knife and fork. 

2. What will rot first - Obv gonna use up hard boiled eggs for the first source of protein over beans because I don't want my new roommate to hate me for making the dorm smell like rotten shit. 

3. VARIETY - Am I getting dem veggies? Has every meal been heavily grains or am I including lots of foods and colors? Has each meal looked the same each day or am I keeping it fun? This can get hard when you have to fit everything into a backpack....but #firstworldprobz amiright? 

4. Workouts and demands - How active am I? What am I doing? What's my goal of that workout...do I want to eat before or not, what will I need after/am I doubling in the day?

5. Can I switch things up? For example - the same ingredients made to make overnight oats can also make me a smoothie - gotta keep things interesting and find new way to combine ingredients into a masterpiece. 

These were just a few of my thoughts when surviving the born-again dorm life. What goes through someone else's mind depends on their goals and preferences - i.e. others prefer Bojangles er'day or a meal plan - that's cool too...my goal was just to make sure I am eating a well balanced diet that will fuel me steadily throughout the day and save some dat $$$.

Nonetheless - I don't mindlessly go about my eating. Sometimes even more so than eating (hard to believe right) I enjoy the creativity and the challenge of using what I have to make a new dish...and making sure I am giving my body what it needs. Subjective, but I base this on how I perform and feel. Full enough? Lacking energy? Thinking fast? Recovering?

3.

As I formally hung up my new white blazer - the realization hit me hard - I can now officially deem myself "professional".

A close second to learning basic accounting in 48 hours - making it an entire day without spilling anything on my pristinely white jacket was my greatest business school accomplishment to date.

Tomato soup, bird shit...it always seems to find a way. This feat is nothing short of a turning point in my life and should receive the deserved attention. Having recently graduated from daily yoga pants, I understand why people dress up. It makes one come off looking like they have their shit together. In the 'world of business' that's looked at as a good thing. But let's be real here...it's all an act and no one knows what they are doing. Despite the drastic adjustment, I've found the whole 'putting real clothes together' thing to be surprisingly quite fun. There's a chance to inject some personality through the expression of style (a new phenomena for me). While I'm certainly not wishing spilt coffee on my clothes or to walk into class with bird shit upon me - we are all human and I don't think one should compromise that in the world of business for the sense of feeling "professional" and looking like we are "suppose to".

If that wasn't a true testament of my business growth...I did actually learn a lot. Four classes in three weeks - Excel (side note: Everything I ever 'knew' about Excel was wrong - and I was finally taught the right way. Freakin' beautiful. I can see myself getting addicted to making some kick as worksheets. There's something engaging about trying to create worksheets in the most efficient manner by applying shortcuts, and seeing the ease and creating perfect readability that get's me real excited), Math Fundamentals, Accounting and Microeconomics. It was challenging but in a 'totally do-able' way. Most importantly..I nailed the three week routine..it went something like this: 

Move in the morn (run/bike/yoga/track/etc), get ready (takes 15 mins courtesy of short hair and night-before preparation), walk to school, eat breakfast and drink coffee while writing, read the news/Wall Street Journal (because you know...I'm an educated, grown-up, business woman), either do personal work or review notes from the previous day for about an hour...then head to class from 9AM-4PM, lift...HAVE TO MOVE BECAUSE I SIT IN CLASS ALL DAY AND IT EATS ME ALIVE, study, eat (this week watch Olympic Trials, read, REPEAT. 

 

All there is to look forward to next week:

Settling into the new crib with Hayley, make 150+ new friends...experiencing the excitement of the first day of Kindergarten all over again, house design (!!!), reading the new books for class (finally...an excuse to buy these much longed personal development books...not the so much looking forward to the $800 accounting book), adventures with my new partner and crime roomie before we officially start school on Thursday (I foresee lots of yoga, wine, workouts, and interesting stories). Happy Fourth!