Being Tougher, Food Experiments, New Moves

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


"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. 


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 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. 


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*


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.)


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

Monday's Mind, Meals, Moves and More


“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.



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. 


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. 


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

Monday's Mind, Meals, Moves and More


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. 


  • 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. 


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) 


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. 



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


"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. if it isn't obvious..more than the 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.


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


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. 


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 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'



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


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'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). 



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


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. 



Swervin', Stories, and Skillets



"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.



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 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)


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. 



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



“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.



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. 



"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.



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.




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



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'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" 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''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.