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).
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:
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.
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).
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.