*October Loving*

If I could plan an almost perfect fall weekend, this past weekend would have been pretty darn close. We had a wedding, a baby shower, an at home date night, brunch, and family time! Lots of fun, family, friends, and yummy food!

Josh and I had Friday off of work due to a mandatory shutdown of our facility. Even though I was kind of frustrated we had to take our own PTO when it was mandatory, it worked out really well to have the day off. We slept in (I slept until 8 am…contact Guinness World Records, that is so late for me!), lounged around, and caught up on some of our tv shows. I was able to get all our meal prep done for the upcoming week as well. I love getting that off my list of things to do, it makes me feel so prepared for the week. I spent some time doing “girly” stuff like painting my nails, sipping on my pumpkin spice brulee tea, and watching Will & Grace. It was a wonderful relaxing, pampering afternoon before heading up to our friend Almitra’s wedding.  

We had to stop at Starbuck’s on the way up and it just isn’t a trip to Starbuck’s without a cake pop!

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Almitra and Tim got married at the Avon Wedding Barn, which was so very adorable! The wedding ceremony was held outside under a huge tree with leaves just starting to change colors for the fall. The ceremony was officiated by one of their close friends and was really sweet. I just love love. And weddings.

After the ceremony, we headed inside the barn for appetizers and drinks- veggies with ranch dressing and cheese spread and crackers (I ate so much cheese spread, I forgot how much I love it). We had some great friends to sit and catch up with while we waited for the wedding party to come in, which made it even better.   

For dinner, City Barbeque was the caterer. I stuffed myself with all the delicious food- corn pudding, green beans, pulled pork, brisket, and cornbread loaves. Several of our friends had told us to try City Barbeque out and I’m happy we finally got to. For dessert, we had mini cupcakes from Gigi’s Cupcakes. Naturally, Josh and I tried one of every flavor to see which we liked best. We had chocolate chip cookie dough, red velvet, wedding white, and chocolate to choose from. They were all really good (my faves were the cookie dough and wedding white) and the perfect size to feel like you indulged but didn’t overdo it.  

Saturday started with our usual lifting session at the gym followed by mobility and a great workout during class. The workout involved stations of rowing, toes to bar, shoulder to overhead, and rest. My favorite part was the rest haha just kidding (maybe)! When we got home, we ate lunch then it was time for me to get ready for my friend Brittany’s baby shower. I hadn’t seen Brittany for several months, so it was really nice to see her and spoil her and her baby boy! We had lots of yummy treats (pizza dip, queso, veggies, chocolate dipped pretzels, cake pops, and cake) and even played a few baby shower games. I know most people think shower games are extra cheesy, but I always enjoy playing them. I even won the word scramble game and got a prize- hand soap and the cutest pumpkin pot holder, oven mitt, and decorative towel!  

When I got home from the shower, Josh had dinner all ready for us. We had a yummy meal of chicken sausages, sauerkraut with apples, zucchini, onions, and green peppers. I snagged a few cake pops and pretzels from the baby shower, so we had some dessert too. We decided that wasn’t enough for dessert and we should probably make some snickerdoodles to make ice cream cookie sandwiches with. Josh found a great recipe for snickerdoodles and set about making them. The recipe was especially great because it only made 4 cookies…which saved us from feeling like we had to eat the whole several dozen a normal batch would make! We scooped Jeni’s Splendid Sweet Corn & Black Raspberries ice cream in between the warm out-of-the-oven cookies and it was amazing! We will definitely be making these again soon!

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Sunday morning was another slow going morning. We had breakfast, drank our hot tea, and watched tv. As we were finally getting ready for the day, Josh suggested we try out Toast on Market in New Albany for brunch. I’m always game for trying new places and this one had been on our list for a long time. We arrived around 11:30 which was quite possibly the busiest time ever. We put our name in and began our thirty-five minute wait for a table. When we finally were seated, I was really excited to order. I got one of the specials of the day- apple pie French toast with cheesy hash brown casserole. Josh ordered the drowned eggs. We also ordered a lemon soufflé pancake and a pumpkin spice pancake a la carte. I thought the apple pie filled French toast was the best of our dishes. Overall, the food was pretty good, but I was expecting more (I think we’ve been spoiled with places like Tupelo Honey, etc. on vacations). I would probably eat there again, but I’m definitely willing to try other places before going back.  

  

We headed home to pick up Rocko and go to my parents’ house for the afternoon. All of my siblings and their significant others were there to celebrate my brothers’ and my brother-in-law’s birthdays. My mom fixed lots and lots of food for us to snack on. We had green pepper jelly on cream cheese with Ritz crackers, sausage/cheese stuffed jalapeño poppers, and pumpkin fluff with graham crackers. We all got our fill of snacks and headed out to the garage to decorate pumpkins. Normally, we would carve pumpkins, but this year we all decided to try something new and paint them. I think they turned out pretty darn great! And they’ll last much longer than if we had carved them, hooray!

After we finished up with our pumpkins, it was dinner time! I wasn’t even hungry, but when it’s a home cooked meal from my momma that doesn’t matter lol. We had chicken and tilapia with onions and bell peppers (think fajita insides), deviled eggs, rice, beans, and my grandma’s homemade German potato salad (*drool*). And don’t forget dessert- funfetti cupcakes with rainbow chip icing, homemade sweet cream ice cream, and peanut butter rice krispies with chocolate ganache on top!  

There’s nothing like a weekend of celebrating love, babies, family, and food to rejuvenate your soul!

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summer’s in the air, baby

Oof, was Saturday morning rough! We went to the gym like usual to get our RP Hypertrophy lifting in before mobility and class. I warmed up, started my sets, and missed lift after lift after lift of a weight that I don’t struggle with anymore. I missed a third of my programmed snatches! That NEVER happens! For every lift I missed, I would take a few steps back away from the bar, reset my mind, and attempt the lift again. And make it. It’s crazy how sometimes a little mind reset can help. When I finally finished my sets of snatches, I moved on to my clean and jerks…which didn’t go much better unfortunately. I had to drop my weight down and really focus on my form. Fatigue from the week, a long list of to-do’s on my mind- I’m not really sure what was going on exactly, but I think those both definitely played into a terrible day of lifting for me. Let’s just say I was more than happy when I was finished lifting for the day.

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Being so bad on the struggle bus, after mobility I decided to head home and start meal prepping. I don’t think my body (or my mind) could have handled a long workout after all of my lifting struggles. When I got home, I got some pork chops (with salt, pepper, and McCormick’s Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon seasoning) baking in the oven while I started the veggie chili. With the cast iron pot simmering full of zucchini, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms, I began portioning out the pork loin, broccoli, and green beans. It’s a good thing I can multitask because meal prep has me running around the kitchen like crazy for a couple hours. After the pork chops and chili were finished, I portioned those out into our containers as well and finally sat down to eat my lunch. I feel so accomplished when I’m all done meal prepping, prepared for whatever the week has in store. Josh got home from his last nutrition class, ate lunch, and headed out to mow our yard. I know I’ve said it before, but I truly appreciate that he takes care of the yard so that I don’t have to worry about it. We had a short time to relax after our “chores” were all finished before getting ready for our Olivia’s (our coworker) wedding. The wedding was at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Brownstown and it was a beautiful ceremony. At the reception, we sat with a few of our other coworkers and had a fun time eating, telling stories, and laughing. And of course, we tried all the flavors of cake…don’t judge, we only shared 3 small pieces.   

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Sunday turned into a fun food day for us. We woke up fairly early, ate a small breakfast, and headed up to Broad Ripple for a lovely cake date at the Cake Bake Shop. We sat outside under an umbrella, the sun shining down, bright pink and white flowers lining the fence next to us, and traditional French cafe music playing over the speakers. It truly is a little slice of heaven on Earth. The summer flavors that are available currently make it almost impossible to narrow it down to one flavor to try. After much debate, we finally decided on the Lemon Blueberry cake and the Boston Cream Pie cake. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing they both were. The Lemon Blueberry is three layers of moist blueberry studded vanilla cake, filled with their house made lemon curd, and topped with their lemon vanilla bean buttercream frosting. The Boston Cream Pie is six layers of moist vanilla cake filled with a homemade pastry cream and vanilla buttercream and topped with Belgian fudge frosting, a vanilla buttercream dollop, and a maraschino cherry. Everything was so creamy and rich, I had to stop myself from licking the plate clean! Bon appétit!      

After our cake date, we stopped in at the new Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market in Broad Ripple. Fresh Thyme is a grocery store set up like a farmer’s market. They offer a large selection of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, and fresh baked breads. There are sections to grind your own coffee, make your own fresh nut butters, and even pour your own local honey or maple syrup. We didn’t feel like heading home quite yet, so we made our way down to the Greenwood Park Mall. We spent a few hours wandering around, stopping in at different shops here and there. I’ve been on the lookout for a chambray shirt and I finally found one I liked and it was even on sale! Yay for bargains! After a bit, we decided to head home…and then decided to turn around at Whiteland and head back up to the new Primanti Bros. restaurant in Greenwood. My friend, Rich, has told me about this place many times and I’ve been wanting to try it. It did not disappoint! I ordered the Almost Famous pastrami & cheese sandwich (grilled pastrami, provolone cheese, fresh cut french fries, sweet and sour cole slaw, and tomato all stuffed in Italian bread) and Josh got the New Yorker Tall Boy sandwich (grilled pastrami and corned beef, provolone cheese, fresh cut french fries, sweet and sour cole slaw, tomato, and spicy beer mustard on Italian bread). The sandwiches were so huge, I could hardly fit it in my mouth. You’ve got to make a stop there if you’re ever in Greenwood or near any of their locations at least once in your life.           

I headed over to my parents with Rocko after we got home from Greenwood for a little pool and relaxation time. It was a perfect day to lounge in the pool and the water felt great. I’m always very grateful that my parents let us enjoy their pool and are always willing to share an afternoon with us. We capped off our amazing day watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Life in Pieces on Netflix, enjoying a root beer float and a bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips. Here’s hoping for many more amazing summer weekends just like this!

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home of the free because of the brave

Friday evening was pretty much the best ever! How could it not be when it started with me goofing around at the gym and hitting a strict bar muscle-up?! Coach Jeff and I were playing around on the rig and I asked if he could do a strict bar muscle-up and I told him I was close (just being a smarty pants lol). He got soooo close so many times, but couldn’t quite get it. I pulled myself up really high almost getting one and surprised us all, so I had to make another attempt. I switched my grip on the bar and tried again and got one! Of course, everyone was chatting and not paying attention, so no one saw it (face palm). Good thing I video’ed it on the magical chance I would get one! I probably won’t be able to get another one for a really long time, but I was super pumped to get one in the first place…and I can’t lie, it made me feel kind of good because Josh hasn’t gotten one yet and he can do all kinds of things that I can’t! Love you, babe! 😉

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Saturday was like any other Saturday for us. We hit the gym for our Hypertrophy lifting, mobility class (full of extra laughs and story time revolving around all the fun things children say), and got a great team workout in. The workout included rowing, goblet squats, and bar muscle-ups. I was able to get 3 bar MU in all five rounds (15 total) which is a workout PR for me! Slowly and surely, I’m building up my strength and courage to continue improving. It wasn’t that long ago (about 5 months) that I couldn’t even do 1 bar muscle-up and this weekend I got 15! It’s very rewarding to put in all the time and effort, work on drills and progressions, and see all the hard work start paying off. After class, Josh stayed to teach his nutrition class and I headed home to do laundry and meal prep…I know you’re shocked by this! There’s just something about having all the clean laundry folded and put away and all our meals prepped in the fridge for the week- it just gives me a sense of accomplishment and order. Josh is the best and takes care of all the yardwork. I can’t stand mowing or weed eating, so he kindly handles the outdoor stuff while I handle all the indoor stuff. We spent the evening catching up on all the CF Regionals events for the Pacific, California, and Central regions, then rented “Hidden Figures”. I very much enjoyed the movie. What a time it must have been to live in back during the 1960s- rushing to be the first country into space, fear of the Russians taking over and bombing the US, sexism and racial segregation prominent in the workplace and in the community. The movie was a behind the scenes look at the Space Race, following the lives of three African American women mathematicians who helped launch John Glenn into space, making him the first American to orbit the Earth. There was anger, laughter, frustration, excitement, romance- all the things that make a movie great for me. Definitely check it out if you have a chance.

We started off Sunday morning at church, singing, worshipping, and continuing our multi-week study on prayer. After church, we headed to Josh’s grandparents to celebrate a belated Mother’s Day and his grandma and cousin’s birthdays. At Mamaw’s, you’re always guaranteed tons of food and Sunday was no exception. We had hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, potato salad, and a veggie tray. We brought Rocko with us (he loves Mamaw’s house because she gives him all kinds of treats) and I mentioned how much he loves hot dogs. Mamaw pulled an entire hot dog to the side and cut it up into little pieces just for him. Talk about spoiled! Kena made the yummiest homemade vanilla ice cream and a cookies and cream cake decorated like a race track.  

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After lunch and 2 servings of cake and ice cream (I can’t stop myself when it comes to Kena’s cake), I fell asleep in my “nap chair” while the rest of the family played a card game and watched TV. When the card game was finished, we gathered around to watch Mamaw, Colin, and Teresa open their gifts and spend some time chatting and catching up. We headed home after a while and finished watching the CF Regionals events. This weekend was crazy at regionals. There were several injuries (pec injuries from high intensity/high volume ring dips and muscle ups) and a definite shake-up on the leaderboards across the regions- people I thought wouldn’t make it to the Games did and people I thought would make it didn’t. Which is part of what makes watching Regionals so fun…you never know what to expect!   

Monday was Memorial Day, a day we celebrate, honor, and remember all who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. While I have family members and friends who have served or are currently serving, I have been so lucky to not lose anyone in the line of duty. There are so many people though who have lost loved ones and I know “thank you” will never be enough and that our debt to everyone who serves can never be repaid. I am proud to be a member of a gym that does our best to honor the fallen by participating in a special workout, “Murph”, on Memorial Day. Murph is a workout done in honor of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. The workout was originally called “Body Armor” and was one of his favorites. The workout is 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, 1 mile run with a 20 pound vest if you have one. By coming together and suffering through this workout, we hope to pay tribute to Lieutenant Murphy and all that have laid down their lives for us.

After everyone finished the workout, we headed over to Angie’s for a cookout and pool party. Angie and her family are so gracious to let us come over and enjoy their beautiful house and the most perfect backyard oasis ever! Angie had brats, pulled pork, and beef brisket  for us and everyone brought side dishes and dessert to share. We ate lots of yummy food, lounged in the pool and hot tub, and laughed a whole lot! The weather was amazing- the bright sun shining down and big fluffy clouds rolling by with a nice breeze. A group of the adults got together and played a game of volleyball (with some hilarious sideline commentary by the ever energetic Carter) in the backyard for a bit, while the kids jumped on the trampoline and did flips off the water fountain into the pool. So much fun was had! I can’t wait for our next gym pool party and spending time with some of the best people I know!

 

Broad Ripple & Baseball

Josh and I follow RP (Renaissance Periodization) templates for our meals. RP is the best program we’ve found so far (and believe me, we’ve tried everything- not tracking anything, just counting calories, Paleo, IIFYM, the list goes on). The templates are set up according to if you’re male or female and what your weight is. There are massing (muscle gain) or cutting (fat loss) templates. Each template comes with a list of “approved” (aka recommended) foods and the breakdown of what to eat when. The templates show how many ounces of protein, grams of carbs, and servings of fats and vegetables to eat for each meal throughout the day, according to whether it’s a rest day or a workout day. Nutrient timing comes into play as well and the templates have options for eating based around any time of day you workout. It takes ALL the guesswork out of what to eat and when! It’s been a lifesaver for sure. We have gone through two cuts along with maintenance phases. Currently, we’re on our fourth week of maintenance after our second cut. Throughout our whole time on RP, both Josh and I have PR’ed on multiple lifts, increased endurance, improved body weight movements, and seen body composition changes. Neither cut was 100% compliant, because life. There were holidays and birthdays, cupcakes and pizza. There was also a lot of white rice, chicken, and broccoli and saying “no, thank you” to offers of eating out. RP has helped me learn how to find the balance between enjoying food and fueling my body to be the best it can be. I guess I wanted to say all this because so many people struggle to be healthy and juggle all of life’s activities at the same time. But you don’t have to be perfect all the time. Eating one cupcake won’t make you fat, just like eating one cup of broccoli won’t make you healthy. So enjoy that piece of cake on your birthday and get right back to eating healthy as soon as you can. Continue to make healthy choices each day, choices that you can maintain for the rest of your life. Pretty soon it won’t even feel like a choice has to be made, it will just become second nature to eat healthy and feel the best you’ve ever felt.

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This weekend was the perfect example of balance. Josh and I have been having an ongoing conversation about this whole balancing life with eating healthy thing and with being on maintenance it’s been easier and easier to have cheats here and there. I mean, you all know how much I love food…especially sushi. And cake. And most especially cake from the Cake Bake Shop. So, Saturday was an incredible day because I got to eat sushi and Cake Bake Shop cake! We met up with Des, Chris, Kalee, and Jeffrey at Sushi Bar in Broad Ripple to celebrate Kalee’s birthday. Did we stress about going out with friends and eating sushi and cake? Nope, because we chose to eat healthy leading up to dinner then shared our sushi rolls and one piece of cake (Ok, maybe a peppermint iced brownie too). The rolls were quite yummy. We got the Christmas roll (spicy tuna, avocado, and tobiko) and the Valentine’s roll (tuna wrapped with crab meat topped with spicy mayo). The weather was so pretty, so after dinner we walked the few blocks up to Cake Bake for the best part of the night! Broad Ripple is such a cute area, full of boutiques, bars, coffee shops, and restaurants. On the way to Cake Bake, we stopped in at Broad Ripple Vintage. Completely not what I expected, but they had a very eclectic collection from floor to ceiling of vintage clothes, jewelry, and accessories that would be perfect for costume parties. We finally made our way to Cake Bake and went right in to check it out. It is a little girl’s dream (I can’t lie, it’s my dream as an adult woman) walking in to see the shop decorated with pink, princess pigs, flowers, and a cherry blossom tree. They have every dessert you can imagine- brownies, macarons, dessert bars, cakelettes, cakes, pies, and cookies- displayed in a beautiful glass case! And everything (the desserts and the decorations) is covered in glitter! Deciding what to eat is always such a tough choice because everything looks so delicious and decadent. Josh and I ordered a princess bar (a brownie topped with peppermint buttercream) and a slice of cookie dough cake. The cookie dough cake was delightful- there were three layers of vanilla mini chocolate chip cake filled with chocolate ganache, vanilla buttercream, and gooey chocolate chip cookie dough, complete with a mini chocolate chip cookie on top. We all ordered a different slice of cake, so of course we had to pass our plates around for everyone to try. We tried the lemon cake, the raspberry champagne cake, the Earl’s Court chocolate cake, and the peanut butter, honey, marshmallow, and banana cake. They were all so delicious and the perfect end to our trip to Broad Ripple. I promise, you will never leave there disappointed. It’s impossible. So plan a trip there now!

Josh and I woke up early on Sunday and headed over to Cincinnati with my family for the Reds/Cubs game. While I don’t watch any baseball and don’t know much about the sport, there’s just something about sitting in a ball park with the smell of peanuts and popcorn in the air singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” with the crowd. The game was actually super fun and the Reds pulled off a win which made the guys in my family very happy. My brother-in-law, Tommy, caught a fly ball off Ben Zobrist (a Cubs player) which was such a cool experience. I’ve been a few sections over from people that have caught fly balls, but never actually known someone or been next to someone who has caught one! Another great part of the ball park (for Josh and I) was they allow soft coolers, so we planned ahead and packed lunch meat, grape tomatoes, and cucumbers to eat there so there would be no worries about what to eat from the concession stands if we got hungry.  You CAN eat healthy and still do fun stuff with your friends and family! It’s crazy, I know! Believe me, it was not at all easy to sit and watch my whole family enjoy ooey gooey oh-so-cheesy brick oven pizza at Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria later at dinner while Josh and I ate our tiny side salads with dressing on the side, but it is worth it to us to try to find that balance and be healthy.

 


PS how sweet is Rocko? He wouldn’t leave my side after we got home from the baseball game, he missed us so much!

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