Memories & {everyday} Magic

Have you ever had a day that you just want to bottle up and keep forever on your shelf of memories? A day that doesn’t seem like anything extraordinary or spectacular, but is just so beautiful and normal and exactly what life’s all about? That was this past weekend for me!

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Lifting with good friends followed by a great workout that pushed my mind and body

Drinking a cold Kill Cliff

Marking off my to-do list for the weekend: laundry ✔ tidying up around the house ✔ meal prep ✔

Spending time with my parents lounging by the pool

Gorgeous weather with the sun shining down and a cool breeze blowing

Having a stay at home date night with my hubby

A delicious home cooked meal of (RP friendly) enchiladas & sauteed veggies

Snuggles in bed watching “Kingsman: The Secret Service”

Sleeping in on Sunday and waking up without an alarm

Singing praise songs at church

Curling up on the couch with my newest Nora Roberts novel and Rocko by my side

Wandering the aisles of Target with no rush to be anywhere else

Lounging on the couch, binge watching Food Network shows

Sitting on the edge of my seat during the Game of Thrones episode

Going to sleep with the love of my life next to me and our pup at the foot of our bed

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the fittest on earth

The CrossFit Games is one of my favorite times of the year. The CF season is quite long- Hundreds of thousands of individuals from all over the entire world complete 5 different workouts over 5 weekends in the CF Open beginning in late February. The top athletes from 17 regions around the world move on to compete in a three day competition at regionals. From regionals, the top 40 men, women, and teams along with 80 teenagers and 240 masters move on to compete for 4 days at the CF Games. The CF Games are like the Olympics to CrossFitters. It is THE competition to determine who is the “Fittest on Earth”.

This year the Games were quite different. For the past 10 years, the Games have been held in Carson, California. This past year, CF headquarters announced there would be a new home for the Games for the next 3 years-Madison, Wisconsin. We had planned to skip this year, but with this news, Josh and I decided (along with a group of our friends from the gym) that we could more easily afford a trip up there to enjoy the long weekend. To save money, we drove up to Madison and rented a suite for all of us to share. We only bought Festival passes ($100) for the Games events this year also. Festival passes gave us access to the outside daytime events, as well as the masters and teenagers workouts. We were supposed to have access to the daytime Coliseum events as well, but for some reason that changed and we could only see the outside events. In past years, we’ve bought Festival+Coliseum passes which get you into the outside and inside events, but those tickets were starting at about $335 per ticket! We just couldn’t justify spending that with all the other vacations we have planned for the year.

No one in the group was able to head up on Wednesday, so we ended up leaving Thursday afternoon. Ashley picked Josh and I up, then we headed up to Columbus to pick up Jake and Leslie. The drive up was rather uneventful- unfortunately we timed it pretty poorly and ended up hitting after work rush hour traffic in Chicago and we got stuck behind a car accident which added about 45 minutes extra to our trip. Thankfully, though, we all packed food and drinks so we only had to make a couple stops for bathroom breaks and filling up the gas tank.

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Check out our awesome group of NoBulls!

We finally made it to Madison around 10 pm and checked into our hotel. I have no idea how we got so lucky, but the hotel I booked was fantastic. It was only about a 5 minute walk to Alliant Energy Center where the Games were being held- you could see the venue from our hotel room. Our suite had two queen beds and a pull out couch, so there was enough room for all of us to sleep comfortably. And the best part was that our room had a stove top with two burners, a microwave, and a full size fridge! It was so perfect because everyone in our group is doing the nutrition challenge with our gym, trying to eat healthy, and we were all trying to save money! After we got our stuff dropped off in the room, we drove over to Walmart to stock up on food for the weekend. We definitely didn’t eat the yummiest food (lunch meat, canned tuna, green beans, and steamer bags of broccoli and brussels sprouts), but it was quick, fairly inexpensive, and easy. You could tell the Games were being hosted close by, as I have never seen so many fit, healthy people walking around Walmart before! By the time we got back to our hotel room, our friend Joel had arrived! It had been almost 9 months since any of us had seen him and we were sooooo happy to be reunited with our Joelybear!

Friday morning we woke up bright and early to eat breakfast and watch the events for the day. The first three events happened on Thursday- there was a run/swim workout, a cyclocross bike workout, and a muscle-up/snatch workout. I wish we had been able to go up to watch those workouts in person, but they were still very exciting on Facebook Live videos. We ventured through vendor village on the way to North Park for the first event. Vendor village had a lot of great booths, but it seemed smaller this year than when it was in California. And unfortunately with us arriving on Friday instead of Thursday when it opened, a lot of vendors were already sold out! I couldn’t believe they didn’t have more inventory with the amount of people they knew would be coming to watch the Games. One of my favorites was the Saddleback Leather booth where we took selfies with a cow for a chance to win a free backpack (unfortunately none of us won, sad face). #StrongestBagsOnEarth

The first event on Friday was an outdoor obstacle course race. The weather was terrible! It was around 55°F, cloudy, windy, and slightly misting. Thank God we were all prepared and had packed long sleeves, sweat pants, and rain jackets or it would have been even more miserable. The obstacle course was pretty fun to see with log walks, a rope wall to climb, an army crawl, rope swings, hurdles, and more.

After we watched the teams and individuals complete the obstacle course, we headed back inside vendor village to walk around. The highlight of my weekend there was that I got free Kill Cliff drinks for wearing a Kill Cliff shirt. And Zevia was handing out free sparkling waters, energy drinks, and their soda! I definitely drank my weight in Kill Cliff and Zevia.      

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The remainder of our Friday was spent walking back and forth to the hotel to eat food and laying on the concrete floor in the beer garden to watch the Coliseum events. It was really quite disappointing to pay $100 and only be able to see one team/individual event live and have to watch the rest of the events on TV…which I could have stayed home and done on my comfy couch. We made the best of it though and had a big group snuggle party on the floor watching the team max clean and jerk event and the individual max snatch event. Hands down, the max lift events are my favorite every time! There is just something about seeing people pick up some really heavy weight and throw down, especially when they PR! There were some crazy strong people- one of the guys on a team (I wish I could remember which one) opened(yes, opened!) with a 347# clean and jerk…and went on to hit 367# and 377#! And a girl on another team was push jerking around 230#! Just so impressive. On the individual side, my favorite lifts were from Chyna Cho and Cassidy Lance-McWherter who both PR’ed their snatches and were just having so much fun! Even in the beer garden, you could hear the roar of excitement from the crowd with every lift made.     

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Saturday morning was much better weather for the outside event. It was sunny and in the low 70s, with a nice breeze. The team event involved a (I think it weighed around 1000 lbs or more) sled drag backwards and push forwards. The individual event, “Strongman’s Fear”, involved heavy yoke carries (420#/300#), farmer’s carries (170#/120#), and sled drags (265#/220#) with handstand walking in between the carries. It looked really hard, but was really fun to watch.

          

After those events were done, we walked around vendor village some. I met Nicole Biscuiti (founder of the Chestee sports bras), taught Jake how to take a selfie, and of course I stocked up on Kill Cliff and Zevia!

 

We ate lunch back at the room and then came back and watched the bar muscle-up clean ladder event from the roof of the RomWod booth. This event was awesome- the weight of the cleans increased throughout the workout and a lot of people PR’ed at the end of the ladder! I can’t imagine PR’ing at the Games, let after so many events over that past few days.  

We also spent a lot of time at the Assault Fitness booth trying out all their equipment and their NormaTec systems. I’ve got to say, the NormaTec leg system was super relaxing and I wouldn’t mind having one of those at home…if I can just find an extra $1500 laying around first lol.

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Sunday was the final day of the Games. It was a little cloudy outside, but the temperature was great and we were able to get pretty decent seats to watch the “Madison Triplet” event (it involved running, sandbag cleans, and burpees over straw bales…only in the Midwest, am I right?). We ate a quick lunch at our hotel room, goofed around in vendor village for a bit, then headed to the age group pavilion to watch the final master’s events. The master’s group ranges from 35 to 60+ years old. And they. are. amazing. The event we watched was Diane+Final (Diane is handstand push-ups and deadlifts, while the final event was rope climbs and thrusters). There were several athletes in the 50-54 age group that beat the times of the 35-39 year olds! It was such an inspiration to watch. And they’re all super ripped and have abs! There’s hope for me yet, you guys, just give me another 20 years!

We watched the 2223 interval event (rope climbs, calories on the SkiErg, and overhead squats) at the Assault Fitness booth. While we were hanging out we just happened to look across the way to see Nick Shaw! Nick is the founder of RP Strength, the diet and hypertrophy templates Josh and I follow. We had to go over and talk to him, of course. We wouldn’t be where we are today with our nutrition and training without him.

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We ended our Games weekend eating dinner in the room and watching the final event on our phones through Facebook Live. The final event was so exhilarating and quick and a race to the finish. I absolutely loved it! It was super neat to watch when the winners were announced and how emotional it all was for them- they invest so much time and sacrifice so much to compete at the Games and it’s over in the blink of an eye. While this year’s Games wasn’t entirely what I expected from a spectator experience, it was definitely fun and full of laughs. The Games will be held in Madison for at least the next two years and if we happen to go back, we’re going to splurge and spend the couple extra hundred dollars for the Coliseum passes for sure. If you go, make sure you get the Festival+Coliseum passes too!

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Don’t let that face fool you, he definitely missed me!

quiet cove

We had the great pleasure of being invited down with some wonderful friends for a long weekend to Lake Cumberland. Lake Cumberland is located in Jamestown, KY and is the third largest lake in the state, with the main lake being over 101 miles long and over a mile at its widest. It is by far the largest lake I’ve ever spent time on. Josh and I flexed some time throughout the week so that we could take a half day and head to the lake on Thursday. Dell and Steve picked us up and we set off to meet Dave & Angie at the marina. Nala, their adorable, very sweet (and very large) Irish Wolfhound, was there as well. When we arrived, the houseboat was all ready for us to load up and head out. My idea of a houseboat has always been something similar to a pontoon, a wide open area where everyone sleeps on the couch or the floor and “roughs” it. I was very wrong! The houseboat was larger than our actual house and so nice. We each had our own bedroom and bathroom (for those, such as myself, not well read on houseboat rules you cannot flush toilet paper as it could clog the pipes, so you throw everything away in a trashcan…that definitely took some getting used to!). There was a full kitchen and plenty of room to lounge in the dining room/living room or up on the top deck. It was quite a sight seeing the houseboat leave the dock- they have the entire process fine tuned for sure. I can tell you that I would never want to be the one driving it in and out of the dock! We all sat up top with music playing over the speakers and enjoyed the beautiful weather on the drive over to our private cove.

Once we arrived at “Quiet Cove” (as our friends have dubbed it), it was like a well oiled machine the way the tying up process went. It was very interesting and fun to see how effortlessly the boat was tied up for the weekend using jet skis and rope. When we got all tied up, it didn’t take us long to change into our bathing suits. The water there is so clean and fresh (and so clear I could see past my feet). We ate a quick lunch and hopped on the Malibu (the coolest boat ever- complete with a touch screen dashboard, great sound system, a heater, lots of room for people to lounge, and super fast for all the water sports you could imagine!) to try out some wakesurfing. Wakesurfing is similar to wakeboarding, but appears to be easier as your feet aren’t strapped in and you just ride behind the boat’s wake instead of being pulled by a rope behind it. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Steve and Angie wakesurf. You can tell they’re both really comfortable on the water. Steve is especially fun because he is fearless and tries all kinds of fun tricks (like 360’s) that others aren’t as sure about trying. And I don’t blame them- I didn’t even try any water sport activity but stayed put and enjoyed the show on the boat!

After a bit, we headed back to the boat for dinner. Dell fixed up some delicious pulled chicken tacos and her famous homemade guacamole. Josh and I brought our food scale so that we could weigh out everything and stay on track for our nutrition challenge as best we could! Definitely not easy on a weekend trip away, but it is doable. We ate up on the top deck, taking in the relaxing scenery and listening to the cicadas chirp. The evening was a quiet one, ending with us chatting and relaxing in the living room until an early bedtime.

Saturday morning we slept in (really slept in too!) until almost 9 am. That’s quite unheard of for Josh and I, as even on days I don’t set my alarm I’m usually up by 7 am. Cell phone service was pretty spotty out on the lake and I spent most of the time completely unplugged from my phone (except for a few check-in texts to family and friends). I can’t remember the last time I didn’t keep my cell phone by my side and just really unplugged and relaxed. It was beyond needed and amazing! Dave and Angie fixed us up some scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, sausage patties, and fresh veggies for breakfast. The weather was kind of chilly and cloudy, but we went out for a quick run on the Malibu anyways. Steve, Angie, and Dell all took a turn wakeboarding. Steve jumped really high in the air over the wake and even did several flips! I was impressed with how easy Dell and Angie made it look when they went. And then it was Josh’s turn to try! They all told us it is actually quite hard to stand up on the wakeboard when you’re first starting and that most people usually take 20-25 times to actually stand up for the first time. Once they do stand up, they said it only takes about 10-15 seconds for them to fall back down. Josh was able to stand up on his second try and stayed up for almost 20 seconds! It was so much fun!

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After a few more short runs for Josh, we were getting hungry and headed back to the houseboat for lunch. We had a very yummy meal of pulled pork and brisket that Dave had smoked, fresh tomatoes, fruit, and guacamole. Josh went up to the top deck to take his medical terminology quiz while we stayed downstairs and Angie headed into the marina to pick up Cass and Brittany. The weather ended up clearing up and we had blue skies and sunshine peeking through between a few clouds. We grabbed our floaties and drinks, jumped in the water, and floated to soak up as much sun as we could before the storms. When Angie got back with Brittany and Cass, it started getting cloudy and cool, so we made our way inside to relax. Josh and I grabbed our afternoon snack and we all settled in the living room to watch “The Martian” while the rain poured down outside. I had been wanting to see the movie for awhile, but for whatever reasons hadn’t had the chance. The movie is about an astronaut who is wounded in a storm on Mars, thought to be dead, and gets left behind by his crew as they head back home to Earth. When he wakes up, he begins setting up his camp to survive and sets about finding a way to let those back on Earth know he needs rescued. I really enjoyed the story line and the movie had a great cast.    

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For dinner, Dave grilled the biggest, juiciest NY strip steaks I’ve ever seen. Angie made some homemade cocktail sauce with shrimp, boiled beets from their garden, and had a side salad with all the fixings, along with guacamole that Cass made. I have never had beets before and was pleasantly surprised to find they’re very similar to a potato. It was one of the yummiest meals we had all weekend! The rain had stopped while we were getting ready for dinner, so we were able to sit on up on the top deck listening to Piano Guys and enjoy the quiet solitude and each other’s company. Since the weather cleared up, we headed back out on the Malibu after dinner for wakesurfing and cruising around. Dave & Angie have been going to Lake Cumberland for many years and know all the best spots to cruise around to, so Dave took us to a cove a ways away from ours to see a waterfall. It was very pretty- the water roaring down the sides of the rock into the clear lake with bright green trees all around.      

    

After our post-dinner lake cruise and wakesurfing, we gathered around in the living room for coffee and bedtime snacks of smoothies, protein shakes, and fresh blueberries, strawberries, and peaches.   

Saturday morning was another slow morning of us sleeping in and lazing around. Brittany fixed breakfast tacos for us with scrambled eggs full of sausage, red and orange bell peppers, and spinach with guacamole and salsa verde. I am quite addicted to that salsa verde now that I’ve had it…I think I put it on pretty much everything I ate after that. Saturday morning was quite miserable weather-wise- it was completely cloudy, around 70 degrees, and windy. We all bundled up in our sweatshirts and sweatpants and loaded up on the Malibu to get in some more wakeboarding. I snuggled up next to Nala to help stay extra warm. Brittany, Josh, and Steve got in some good wakeboarding before Cass and Angie slalom skied. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them all out on the water, you could tell they were all having such a good time whipping back and forth over the wake.

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We eventually got cold and hungry enough to head back to the houseboat. Steve and I decided to get a quick workout in while we were waiting on lunch to be ready. We did a workout with dips, burpees, pull-ups (lat pull downs for me), sit-ups, push-ups, and pistols (air squats for me) with a swim at the end. It felt really good to be up and moving, as I had sat around and been super lazy since we arrived. The water felt great during the swim, even though I’m super terrible at swimming lol. No amount of practice will ever help me, I’m convinced. By the time we finished, lunch was ready and some friends of Dave and Angie’s had arrived to join us for the afternoon. Dave grilled up bratwursts and apple chicken sausages along with the most buttery, garlicky Brussels sprouts. We also had coleslaw, side salad, pulled pork and brisket, leftover NY strip steak, watermelon, and potato chips. A smorgasbord of delicious houseboat vacation food. Somehow, magically, after lunch the weather completely turned around and was gorgeous! A few clouds rolled through, but for several hours it was clear blue skies and sunshine! Most of the group headed out on the Malibu, while Dell, Josh, Cass, Brittany, and I stayed back at the houseboat to lounge in the sun. We got all set up with floaties, pool noodles, and drinks, blasted Today’s Greatest Hits over the sound system, and floated in the water to our heart’s content, while Josh read his Kindle and took a much needed nap on the upper deck.

    

Dell, Brittany, and Cass took turns paddle-boarding around the houseboat and our cove. While I’m not great at it, paddle-boarding is really fun the few times I’ve done it.

After all the lounging we could handle, it was game time! With a group this active, it’s hard to be lazy for too awful long. Josh, Dell, and I played a great couple games of Sequence. Dell & I had never played before, but it was super fun! Probably because I won one of the games! When Steve got back ,we switched to a pitiful game of Euchre. Unfortunately, none of us are very good or know a whole lot about the game, but it was great to just play for fun and not be super competitive. Dell and I fought hard, but couldn’t come back to win after the boys took an early lead. Next time, we’ll take them down!  


Saturday night was another delicious dinner- kabobs of juicy grilled chicken, onions, peppers, and mushrooms, guacamole, and a side salad enjoyed with lots of laughs and conversation on the upper deck. Saturday was Dave’s birthday and after dinner we all gathered around to sing “Happy Birthday”- their tradition is to sing as loud and off key as you can. So fun! Nala even joined in with some howling, even though I’m pretty sure she was actually trying to tell us to be quiet! Cass had made a homemade chocolate Texas sheet cake with chopped walnuts on top. I must confess, I saved up all my carbs from a few meals just so I could enjoy some of the cake and peanut butter cup swirl ice cream. So worth it! We spent our last evening on the houseboat enjoying each other’s company and playing Bananagrams (a game very similar to Scrabble, but without a board- each person arranges and rearranges their tiles any way they want, building off the words until all the tiles are gone). It was such a fun way to end the weekend!

Sunday morning was a bit of an earlier start so we could get everything packed up and cleaned to head home. Angie fixed bacon, spinach, cheddar cheese omelettes for us along with fresh cantaloupe…and leftover cake of course! Untying the houseboat was just as quick and effortless as tying it up and it wasn’t long before we were on the way back to the dock. This weekend at Lake Cumberland was one of the best long weekend getaways we’ve ever been on (we were beyond spoiled with the accommodations and the company) and I definitely can’t wait to make another trip down there to enjoy the peace, quiet, and beauty there.

You can even pay a quarter to feed turtles at the marina!

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it’s…meal prep time!

I’ve tried a lot of different diets and eating habits throughout the years and the only one I’ve been successful with is Renaissance Periodization (RP). I’ve counted calories, I’ve eaten whatever I wanted when I wanted, I’ve followed a Paleo diet, and I’ve done IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). RP has been the only “diet” that has helped me lose fat while gaining muscle and it’s also the only one I have been able to maintain for a long time. The biggest reason I have been able to keep up with doing RP long term is because I meal prep every week.  So, I’m going to take you through what a week of meal prepping looks like for us.

On Thursday’s, we go grocery shopping (does this make anyone else think of the Mean Girls quote “On Wednesday’s we wear pink”? lol). We spend a lot of our time around the outside sections of the store where all the fresh/frozen fruits, veggies, and meats are. Side note: we’ve been budgeting using tips from Dave Ramsey and do the majority of our shopping at Aldi’s with a few purchases required at Walmart to get everything we need.   

A typical grocery cart for us is filled with:

Fruit- Gala apples, strawberries, blueberries

Veggies- green peppers, white mushrooms, zucchini, yellow onions, canned green beans, diced canned tomatoes, frozen spinach, frozen Brussels sprouts, frozen broccoli (Walmart is the only place that carries the large 3 lb bags…Josh eats through 3 bags a week!)

Carbs- sweet potatoes, Dave’s Killer Bread Thin-Sliced 21 Whole Grains & Seeds (Walmart), mini caramel rice cakes, corn tortillas, instant white rice

Meat- pre-sliced baked ham, boneless skinless chicken breast/pork chops/pork loin (no more than 10% fat for any of the meats), eggs

Misc- crunchy peanut butter, mild salsa, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, vanilla light Greek nonfat yogurt (Walmart), Diet Cherry 7-Up or Diet A&W Root Beer (Walmart)

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We always try to keep lots of low calorie condiments (soy sauce, salsa, buffalo sauce, southwest spicy mustard) and spices (garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and a few different McCormick’s Grill Mates seasonings) on hand to liven things up so we don’t get bored with our foods.  

When we get home Thursday after shopping, I go ahead and roast all the broccoli in the oven for about an hour at 425℉. While the broccoli is roasting, I use my handy dandy Chop Wizard Pro to chop my veggies. If you all don’t have a Chop Wizard Pro, get to Bed Bath and Beyond right this instant and purchase one! I used to hand chop all our veggies which would take me close to 2 hours…seriously, ain’t nobody got time for all that. Now, using the Chop Wizard I can have all our veggies chopped in less than an hour. I chop up all the green peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and onions to use in our veggie “chili”. All the chopped veggies and broccoli just get put in containers and refrigerated until Saturday. The only reason I start our meal prep on Thursday is to get it out of the way-we sometimes have things going on Friday evening and we’re at the gym all morning Saturday and usually busy Saturday nights, so it would be beyond stressful to try to cram it all in.   

 

On Friday night, I throw our pork loin or chicken breast in the Crock Pot to cook on low overnight (usually about 8 hours). I don’t add anything else to the meat, just keep it plain, as I add different condiments to it later when I portion out all our meals.

When I wake up Saturday, I go ahead and shred up the pork or chicken in the Crock Pot. That goes into the fridge until we get back from the gym. After getting home from the gym, I start our veggie “chili” so it can cook down while we’re eating lunch. This is where all the chopped up veggies and diced tomatoes come into play. Sometimes, there is extra zucchini which I sauté up on the stove to use in my meals. If we bought pork chops for a meat source, this is when I bake them in the oven for about 20-30 minutes at 350℉. Once the chili is done and cooling on the stove, I set out all our Isolator Fitness meal prep containers on the table. I portion out enough food for 3 meals a day for 5 work days (15 meals each). Josh makes breakfast fresh each morning and we make our own “bedtime snack” every night. We also have a protein shake and a workout carb shake ( on days we workout) that Josh makes up the night before. In each container, I weigh out our portions of shredded meat needed according to our RP templates. Next, I portion out all the veggie chili as evenly as possible between mine and Josh’s meals (we usually get 10-15 one-cup servings depending on how large all the veggies are). For whatever meals still need veggies, I portion out the roasted broccoli for Josh and either canned green beans or sauteed zucchini for me. For the broccoli, green beans, and sauteed zucchini, I don’t measure out any certain amount, just fill up the rest of the meal container. I add southwest spicy mustard or homemade sugar-free BBQ sauce to meals that don’t have veggie chili in them for some extra flavor.     

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On Sundays, I roast the sweet potatoes in the oven for a little over an hour at 425℉ and cook a pot of white rice (we usually have to make rice once more in the middle of the week).   

Throughout the weekdays, Josh makes breakfast every morning while I weigh out the carbs needed for our 2 work day meals. I wait to portion out the carbs until that day because life happens and sometimes things come up and we’re unable to make it into the gym, so we need to eat a little differently (on “rest” days, we get fewer carbs and a little more fat, while a “training” day is more carbs and less fat). Josh made up some handy flashcards for our most frequently eaten carbs sources that tell us how much to weigh out to hit a certain amount of carbs. Because of these flash cards, it takes me no time at all to weigh out apples, sweet potatoes, and rice for our work day meals. We also keep an extra scale and jar of peanut butter at work for when we get fat with our meals.

One of the best parts of meal prep is that when we get home late from the gym throughout the week (and don’t at all feel like fixing anything because it’s basically bedtime), we already have our meat and veggies ready to microwave and just need to add whatever carbs we want! Josh typically eats sweet potatoes and Dave’s Killer Bread, while I like to have a corn tortilla and Dave’s Killer Bread.

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For Josh’s bedtime snack, he fixes up a bowl of casein “pudding” with apples (or blueberries and strawberries), cinnamon, and peanut butter. My bedtime snack is light Greek nonfat yogurt with cinnamon, cocoa powder, and blueberries with a side of mini caramel rice cakes and crunchy peanut butter…I forgot to take a picture of my bedtime snack as I was distracted by Rocko looking so cute when begging.   

Over the weekend, we usually have extra meat, veggies, sweet potatoes and rice leftover after meal prepping to use for our meals. We honestly don’t have room in our fridge to portion out enough meals for the entire week, so it’s just easier to make those meals as we eat them. And that leaves us room to make some fun “Saturday date night” recipes from the new RP cookbook we just purchased.

I know it might seem very overwhelming at first, but meal prepping has been a total lifesaver for us. Spending an hour or two over a couple of days is much more doable for us than spending 5-6 hours all at one time prepping. And let me tell you from lots of experience, our week goes much smoother having our meals ready for us to just throw in the microwave.

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balancing act

I am super pumped because Saturday marked the start of week 3 on mine and Josh’s RP cut and week 3 of our CF Ripcord Nutrition Challenge! Josh and I had been on maintenance for a little over 3 months (from April to July) and I was more than ready to get back on a “normal” eating schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed being a little more lenient over maintenance and eating some really great food on vacation, but there’s just something about eating healthy on a regular basis. I really just feel better, sleep better, work out better, everything’s just better! When we realized it was time to start another cut, we thought why not get the whole gym involved in a nutrition challenge with us? Josh and I have had some great success adjusting our eating habits and I wanna share the wealth! The nutrition challenge at the gym will last 3 months, from the beginning of July to the end of September (this is how long a cut with RP is as well). We wanted it to be a length of time that really got people in the habit of eating healthier long-term and not just a quick fix, 30 day thing that likely wouldn’t last past those 30 days. As part of  the nutrition challenge, we came up with a challenge workout that was done at the start and will be repeated again at the end. We also have weekly mini challenges throughout the twelve weeks to help keep people involved and interested- little things such as drinking eight 8-oz glasses of water each day or completing 100 double unders throughout the week. It’s so great doing this as a gym because it helps us all stay on track and hold each other accountable. If anyone is having a rough day, there’s always someone on the Facebook group willing to offer encouragement or good tips to get through the day. I’m really hoping this challenge will help people make healthier choices. Switch the Mountain Dew for some tea or water. Snack on some cucumbers instead of a Milky Way. These are all seemingly small changes that really add up over time and make a world of difference. They have for me anyways. Through RP, I have really come to appreciate my body and what I put into it, while still being able to enjoy life. It’s been such a learning experience and balancing act. I’ve learned that I’m going to sometimes eat foods that aren’t considered healthy. I’ve learned that it’s ok and I don’t need to punish or starve myself when I do eat something unhealthy- just get right back at it for the next meal. I’ve learned that I feel so much better when I eat healthy and that helps me stay on track. I’ve learned that sometimes I’m not really hungry-sometimes I’m bored or tired or stressed and instead of stuffing my face, I should sip on some tea or get up and move around.    

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Saturday was packed full- we spent our morning at the gym lifting, getting in some mobility, and doing a partner hero workout with LOTS of burpees and barbell movements. It was the most amazing weather (sunny and mid-70s) and I tried to soak it all in. After the gym was the usual Saturday afternoon adulting- mowing, laundry, and all the meal prepping. My sister-in-law, Kena, has been sharing some zucchini from her neighbor with us and I love it! There is nothing better than fresh garden vegetables, store bought just doesn’t even compare! This week she spoiled us and brought over 5 of the biggest zucchini ever- I was able to sauté some, use a bunch in our veggie chili, and still had so much left that I had to use 3 whole baking sheets to roast the remainder in the oven.

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With the cut and the gym nutrition challenge going on, Josh and I have been really good about staying on track with our nutrition and not eating out. We purchased the newest RP cookbook “The Renaissance Feast” and have been loving it. Every week during the cut, we have decided to choose one recipe out of the cookbook and make it together for Saturday night date night. This week’s choice was orange beef- steak and broccoli covered in a delicious orange sauce on white rice. The best part is all the recipes can be altered so that we can hit the protein, fat, and carbs we need at each meal. It was very yummy and I can’t wait to try out another recipe from the cookbook!  

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After dinner, we searched through Netflix to find a movie to watch. Josh found a movie named “Butter” which neither of us had ever heard of, but Netflix was recommending. We decided to give it a try. I’m glad we did. There is a great cast- Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, and several others. The movie is about a butter carving competition at the local county fair in a small town in Iowa. It was not what I expected, but it was so great. I never knew butter carving could be so impressive!

Sunday morning I met up with Kalee and Des for breakfast at Cracker Barrel for some much needed sis time. I have genuinely missed these girls- our schedules are all so different and crazy, we hardly get to see each other as much as we would all like. They both do RP too, so I didn’t feel guilty about meeting up with them while on my cut because I knew they would make healthy choices and help me stay on track as well. It’s seriously the best! We all ordered the Good Morning Breakfast which came with scrambled egg whites, turkey sausage, sliced tomatoes, a small fruit cup, and cheese grits. Not bad for eating out! I loved being able to catch up and laugh so much at their stories.

After breakfast, Josh and I finished the newest Netflix series “Friends from College”. There were only eight episodes, so it took us no time at all to finish the season. And you can’t not watch a show that features Cobie Smulders, Fred Savage, and Keegan-Michael Key as main characters. Rocko just wanted to go to Mamaw’s for ham!

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For lunch, we headed to Josh’s Mamaw and Papaw’s house to celebrate Josh/his cousin/his uncle’s birthdays. Rocko absolutely loves riding in the car (I promise, he was very safe and not at any risk of falling out of our car)- seriously how cute is he?!

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Before you ask-no, we did not stay on track with our eating. Before starting the cut, we had already decided this would be one of three “off track” meals. This is where the balancing act comes in- I understand that I can’t eat cake every single day, but during a special occasion there is no reason to deprive myself from enjoying something worth it like Mamaw’s home cooked meal and Kena’s homemade cake. Mamaw served us a delicious meal of meatloaf, ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, broccoli salad, a veggie tray, and rolls with apple butter and sorghum. I had never tasted sorghum before…I’m a fan. If you like thick, sugary syrup, sorghum is where it’s at! For dessert, Kena made her best cake yet- a vanilla cake with white chocolate chips filled with raspberry icing and topped with white chocolate frosting. She even brought fresh raspberries and made a raspberry compote to put on top. All homemade. *drool*          

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After cards and presents were opened, it was game time. While half of his family played a card game, Kaylie, Josh, and I played Settlers of Catan. Even though I’m pretty terrible at this game, I really enjoy playing it. Especially now that we finally read the rules and know how to play it correctly (it’s only been 7 months since we started playing hahaha). Kaylie won…probably cheated lol jk…and Josh and I called it a tie for the loss.

We capped off our evening at home watching “Shameless” (we’re on season 4 now!) until Game of Thrones time. Finally! Having to wait 3 extra months for the premiere was no fun. Game of Thrones is probably one of my favorite shows of all time- I know this because it’s the only show I’m willing to stay up an hour past my bedtime to watch live. I can’t lie, part of the reason we stay up to watch it live is because I don’t want it ruined by people on Facebook and other social media. Seriously, people, not everybody gets to watch it as it airs. Keep the spoilers to yourself!

Someone was all tuckered out from a late night watching GoT.

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i feel home

Wednesday morning was an early morning, even for us. We got up, packed the car, and were on the road by 5 am to head home. Sea Pines has a rule that after 10 pm all outdoor lights need to be turned off so the sea turtles aren’t disturbed. It was sooo dark driving through Sea Pines to leave, there was not a light to be seen. We passed only one other car in Sea Pines and only 5-10 on the main road out of Hilton Head. No one up and about at 5 am, vacation spot for sure! We drove for a few hours before we started getting hungry for breakfast. It’s kind of a rule of ours that you have to eat at new/local/regional restaurants (we gave my youngest brother crap all week because he kept choosing to eat at Taco Bell *facepalm*), so we stopped at Bojangles. I sure wish there was a Bojangles around here, it was so yummy. Josh and I both got the Cajun filet biscuit with bo-tato rounds. The chicken was juicy and the biscuit was full of buttery goodness.   

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For several more hours, we trekked along. The weather was gorgeous, mid 70s and sunny the whole time, and there wasn’t much traffic at all. We had an awesome playlist to sing along to and get us through the looooonnngggg drive home. The Monster Energy drinks might have helped too. I’m not usually into drinking energy drinks, but these were fat free and I could not make it the whole drive without some energy. Somewhere in Kentucky (I don’t remember exactly where, I mean we did drive 12.5 hours that day), we started getting hungry for lunch. Sonny’s BBQ was our choice- I got the Sweet Carolina sandwich (pulled pork with coleslaw and Carolina BBQ sauce on a bun) and Josh ordered the pulled pork with broccoli, coleslaw, and cornbread.

After lunch, I was bound and determined to get home in time to pick Rocko up from K9 Campers where he was being boarded. We only stopped once more for a quick drink and snack and booked it to Seymour. We got to K9 Campers right before closing time, hooray! I was so excited to see our little monster. When we got home, he didn’t move from our bed all night even through all our unpacking and moving around- Campers sure tuckered him out.

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After all the mundane “coming home from vacation” tasks, we settled down to watch “Shameless” on Netflix. Have you seen this show?! If you haven’t, stop everything you’re doing and watch it. right. now. The show is based in Chicago and follows around a family of six kids, their very crazy, alcoholic father, and all the shenanigans they find themselves in. The show is jam-packed with the most outrageous, inappropriate scenarios (definitely NOT kid friendly) you can’t even imagine. We’re super far behind (somehow we missed this show coming out in 2011), but we already watched the first season in a week. #guiltypleasure

For some reason, we (ok, it was all me) thought it would be a great idea to buy tickets to the Train concert at Klipsch for Thursday night. Drive 12.5 hours home from Hilton Head on Wednesday- check. Work from 6 am to 2:45 pm on Thursday- check. Drive up to Indy for a concert that didn’t start until 7 pm and didn’t end until 11 pm meaning a 1 am sleep time- check. For those of you that don’t know, our normal bedtime is between 9 and 9:30…We sure were wild and crazy staying up until 1 am! But it was worth every minute. It was pretty convenient that on the way to Klipsch we had to drive past Handel’s Ice Cream. You all know how much I love me some Handel’s. We played one of my favorite games of “Do you want ice cream?” “If you want ice cream, I could probably eat some ice cream” and what do you know- minutes later we were pulling up to Handel’s! I had the most yummy Caramel Pretzel Crunch (caramel ice cream with chocolate covered pretzels) and Josh had the Banana Cream Pie (banana ice cream with cream swirls and chunks of buttery pie crust).

We got to Klipsch a little early, so we had to wait in line behind the lawn until they opened the gate. The opener was Natasha Bedingfield. She was full of energy and a great opening act. Next to perform  was O.A.R. which is one of my favorite bands of all time! I’ve seen them in concert at least 4 times and they’re amazing every time. I couldn’t stop myself from dancing and singing along to every song. Most especially when they closed with “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker”! And then it was time for Train. I’ve seen them in concert one other time and absolutely loved them. This concert was no different- they do an awesome job of mixing in their older stuff with their newer songs and I danced and sang along to everything they played. I was very much hoping they would play my favorite song, “Drops of Jupiter” and to my delight it was the encore! The late night and being extra tired at work on Friday was completely worth it to me just for that.    

PS I had to pick up my parents’ and brother/sister-in-law’s dogs on Saturday from boarding- seriously how adorable are these sweet pups?!

And meet my newest puppy friend, Wicket! He was the best little snuggler ever!

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low country life

 

 

Tuesday was our last day in Hilton Head before coming home. We woke up and hit the 8 am class at Reebok Crossfit Coastal Carolina. They start off every class with a question, something to break the ice and get everyone thinking a little. The question of the day was “Would you rather meet your descendants or your ancestors?”. I chose ancestors because I think it would be neat to see what life was like for the people we came from. We did a tough hero workout called “Big Sexy” which had deadlifts, burpees, cleans, chest to bar pull-ups, thrusters, and muscle ups. The weights for the lifts were HEAVY and I had to scale a lot. Here at home we’re really spoiled with the huge amount of space we have to work out in, but at RCCC they have a much smaller area for everyone to be in. We had to partner up on the barbell and even still people were lifting under others doing muscle ups. Everyone was very aware of what was going on and it ended up being a great workout even with limited space.

We got back to the house, showered, and grabbed a quick breakfast before riding bikes with Tommy and Alysha to the farmer’s market at the Sea Pines Community Center. There were lots of tents set up with fresh fish and veggies, crab cakes, pies, strawberry shortcakes, jewelry, dog collars, and much more.

After seeing the super cute tanks and shorts the girls had gotten from Coligny Plaza the day before, I really wanted to go check it out. Josh and I stopped at Java Burrito for lunch on our way. Java Burrito is a burrito and coffee bar, similar to a Chipotle but better in my opinion. The ingredients were really fresh and delicious. I got a burrito bowl with cilantro lime rice, pulled pork, grilled veggies, and a peach salsa. Josh also ordered a burrito bowl, but with local fish. They even grilled it fresh when he ordered it. “Delicious. Fresh. Goodness.” is definitely the perfect slogan for them.

We walked around Coligny Plaza for awhile. We stopped in at Blue Moon (where the girls had shopped yesterday) and I got the softest, most comfortable shorts ever. Josh wanted to try a new coffee, so we stopped in at Caretta Coffee Co. for him to get a cold brew nitro. I very much dislike coffee, but he loved it and was ready to go for an afternoon of shopping! We passed t-shirt shops, a daiquiri bar, a candy store, and restaurants. When we saw Sweet Carolina Cupcakes, I knew we had to check it out. We got a strawberry shortcake cupcake to go. It was a white cupcake with a strawberry “jam” filling and vanilla buttercream frosting- very yummy! We also stopped in at Coligny Deli & Grill/The Ice Cream Cone for ice cream. I had the Snick-a-Ripple (fudge and caramel swirls in peanut butter ice cream) and Josh got a fresh made warm Belgian waffle bowl with chocolate fetish ice cream, mixed nuts, whipped cream, a cherry, and hot fudge drizzle. Very much worth the stop!

Alysha texted me while we were eating ice cream that a woman was coming to move the sea turtle eggs. Sea Pines was getting ready to begin renovating the beach and wanted to move the eggs to somewhere safer. We headed back to the house and I biked down to the beach to meet the rest of the family. My mom took me to the sea turtle nest- someone had formed a ring around the nest so it could easily be found. We waited for almost an hour and a half and the woman never came, much to our dismay, so we packed up all the beach stuff and biked home to get ready for dinner.   

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Everyone was really in the mood for sushi, so we perused Yelp until we found a sushi restaurant that sounded good. Derrick and Lys stayed at the house to order Papa John’s and relax and the rest of us headed to Okko. When we got there, we realized it was the same sushi restaurant that Kylie and Mitchell had eaten at on their honeymoon a few years ago and they hadn’t realized before we arrived. Okko was amazing and some of the best sushi I’ve ever had. There were so many choices to pick from, definitely something for everyone. Josh and I ordered the tuna bowl for an appetizer- spicy tuna with sriracha sauce, and onion masago on chips. For our main meal, we ordered the spicy scallop roll, spicy tuna roll, angry bird roll (spicy tuna, king crab, and avocado topped with shrimp tempura and wasabi sauce), and sapporo roll (spicy scallop crunch and cucumber wrapped in soybean paper and topped with spicy tuna). We cleaned our plate good. My siblings and my dad (can you believe it?!) all ordered sushi as well, while my mom ordered pineapple rice with chicken (fried rice, pineapple chunks, sweet peas, cashews, carrots, and raisins). What made it really cool was that it was served in half a pineapple. It was a ton of food and after my mom was full, my dad finished it off in a flash…I think if we ever went back, that’s what he would get for sure.

After everyone was stuffed from a fantastic dinner, we went to Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf for putt-putt. It was packed. I mean, who doesn’t love a good game of putt-putt on vacation? We chose the easier course because it seemed to be less crowded. They advertised it was easier, but I still totally got my butt kicked. The atmosphere was awesome- anything pirate-y you could think of- canons, waterfalls, alligators, a pirate ship- all around. Definitely one of my favorite putt-putt places we’ve been to.   

Right as we finished our game, we were able to catch the start of the fireworks show at Shelter Cove from the parking lot. I love fireworks so I was happy to be able to see them for a bit. We didn’t have much time before Hilton Head Ice Cream closed, so we quickly headed over. I got mint oreo in a waffle cone and Josh had cookie monster in a waffle cone. Neither disappointed (although I must say, if I ever venture back to Hilton Head, I will hands down be getting the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream from HHI).  

I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect end to our adventures in Hilton Head!