Category Archives: weekend review

Long overdue post – Weekend Update!

I’m pretty sure this might be the longest span of time between my posts. It’s not that things haven’t been happening in my life – just one of those times where too much is happening and I don’t have any time to process it all. OR, the things that are happening are not really that interesting for the John Q Public. Yah – mostly work stuff. Just super busy with appointments, meetings, and events. See? Not all that interesting.

I did have a great weekend though! Since I last posted I’ve celebrated my 2nd wedding anniversary – YAY! And we had a chance to get out of town this past weekend to the mountains/Lake Lure area and really enjoyed ourselves. I found a nice cabin that allowed doggy visitors, so we did a big family trip and Yoshi & Peach got to come along for the first time ever. I seriously think we had more packed in the car for the dogs than we brought for ourselves. I was really worried about how they’d do on a weekend trip with no fenced in backyard and you know, someone elses’ furniture to chew on.

We were pleasantly surprised. They did great! We spent Saturday hiking in Chimney Rock Park with the pups, and it’s amazing how many people love dogs. We met a lot of folks simply because we had Yoshi & Peach with us and everyone wanted to pet them or make fun of Yoshi’s heavy mouth breathing ways. They were really the worst behaved in the parking lot and I thought we were in for a really long and frustrating day. But once they calmed down a bit – it went smoothly. We did about a thousand stairs to the top of Chimney Rock and Yoshi wanted to race up every single flight of them. We also had a chance to go to the water fall and enjoy a cool mist for a few minutes.

Another first was taking the dogs to eat with us at a place with a dog friendly patio called Old Rock Cafe. They again impressed us with their calmness. Perhaps they are growing up after all! It gives me hope for a new couch in my future that isn’t being held together by a fleece blanket. And hope for a nicer rug in some of our rooms that won’t be unraveled in the time span of one work day. We recently bought a very cheap rug to “test” in our den area. The last 2 rugs didn’t survive very long, so why spend money? So far, so good.

A perfect spot for drinks and conversation.

We enjoyed the front porch and I drank mimosas and the hubby drank his beer and we just relaxed. It was far enough removed from anything resembling city – that it gave us a chance to just tune out from work and daily life and just rest. I think we both desperately needed this weekend of quiet and the beautiful outdoors.

It was also nice to be doing something active on the weekend. So often when you think “vacation” you end up being super lazy and eating a bunch of bad food. So I was happy that we picked a great spot to relax, but a place that also gave us great access to hiking and being outside! It was a great way to balance out “vacation.”






Here are a few pics of our weekend!

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Finding the Magic Again

At one point in my life, a piano looked gigantic to me. Trying to play a chord stretched my little hands beyond their reach and I stumbled across those ivory keys, hitting a few wrong notes until I finally got there. I remember being a little scared of my first piano teacher – scared that I wasn’t learning quickly enough, that my timing would be off – or that she would tell me I wasn’t going to make it as a piano student (she never said any of those things). I was only in first grade and it was a big undertaking to learn how to play the piano. But I wanted to learn desperately. My aunt played (and taught piano) and I wanted to be just like her. It seemed to come to her so naturally, her fingers flowing over the keys, making the magic happen.

I took piano lessons for 11 years. I went through phases where I didn’t want to practice and it felt like a waste of my time. And other times when playing piano was the only thing I could think to do to just get away from it all. Finding myself at the piano in an empty house singing sad love songs and ignoring the tears falling down my cheek – it was like therapy. I also have fond memories of my younger sister and I sitting at the piano together – playing and singing Disney songs, or a tune from Little Orphan Annie. The music would fill up our house and mom my would never tell us to stop because it meant a lot to her that we were putting to good use all those piano lessons she paid for along the way. I recently sat down at my old piano in my parents house with my 6 year old niece and we played and sang those same old Disney tunes. It made me realize that I needed to play again.

When I left for college – I didn’t realize how much I missed my piano. I found myself in the basement of the music building on our college campus once and there were all these pianos just sitting there and I realized that part of me was missing. But life went on, and I played piano when I visited my parents during holiday breaks. But mostly, I didn’t play the piano anymore.

A little piece of my heart

Now that I have my own house, my parents offered to give me my piano. Neither of them play – so it was just sitting there, unused aside from the times my sister and I visit their house for Christmas or Thanksgiving. Finally, the exchange happened this weekend and now I have a piano in my house again. Growing up, I always wanted a house with a piano room – somewhere I could go and just shut the door and play and sing at the top of my lungs. I also wanted a black baby grand and I don’t quite have that yet – but just having my old piano back is a huge step in the right direction. Seeing it in my house is like having a little piece of my childhood again, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until now. I sat down last night to play a few songs from the music my mom had brought with her – it was old stuff like the “hit songs” when I was in high school, but I still enjoyed playing them. They are like little memories that I get to re-live as I start playing those old chords again.

I’m not quite the player I once was, but I’m working on it. It’s going to take some practice to be the confident pianist I was in high school. But as I was playing last night, I felt those notes in my soul and the music soothed me in a way that I haven’t  been soothed in a very long time. I can’t describe the feeling I get when I play – sometimes it just feels like emotions coming from my fingertips when I hit my stride and let go of the technique and just play from my heart. My piano teacher used to tell me that I had the heart of an artist when I played. That often I would play notes that weren’t on the sheet, adding in volume and extra beats to add to the piece. I don’t even know how or why I would do this – I just felt it and my fingers just did it automatically. My piano teacher called it “artistic license” and I was okay with that, I liked the idea of having passion and heart for the music. It made me feel talented.

I’m looking forward to the day when I feel that sensation again – the magic from my fingertips, the day when I can play with all the drama and creativity I once did and not feel like a kid who has forgotten how to tie his shoelaces. Something that was so second nature to me for so long seems a little blurry to me now and that makes me sad. But more so…determined to find my voice again. This time, just for me. Not because I have a piano lesson or a concert to perform in – just because I want to play because it makes my heart happy.

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Waking Up The Dead

I never could relate very much to those people who seemed so “in tune” with their bodies and their senses. People who taste something and can say things like, “Is their aspartame in that?” or “wow, is that a bit of brown sugar?”

I would look at them in confusion and have to look at the actual ingredients in order to confirm or deny. I’d think: Really,? How do you taste things like that?

It’s like my senses have been dead all this time. Totally and completely rendered useless by eating fake ingredients and “filler” items filled with wheat and grains.

Tastebuds: A little reminder for you…

Doing this whole wheat free thing is changing me – it’s like I’m waking up all my previously dead senses. It’s weirdly exciting to be able to identify more flavors naturally. To appreciate real food. It’s also scary to think that for a long time, I wasn’t really aware of how salty something was, or how overly sweet things were. They just were categorized in my mind as “snacky” or “dessert!” I had a hard time discerning when something was sweet vs. sour, or rich in flavor. I’ve also just become more aware of how I feel after I eat something that is either “good for me” or “off track.”

A Few Instances

I’ve noticed a considerable decrease in my need for salt over the past few weeks. I come from a family of “salters” – and my hubby used to hassle me about it all the time. I made a major effort to decrease my need to salt things over the last few years – but it was more because I knew I shouldn’t eat so much salt, not because I didn’t want it. But this month – I just don’t need as much. I don’t want things to be so salty. And for really what may be the first time in my life I’ve said this: Sometimes, things are TOO salty!

For instance, the other night I went out with my good friend to catch up – we had some wine and ordered a few appetizers to share. It was pretty limited because I’m on a no wheat thing and she’s doing no dairy. Fortunately, they had some olives and smoked almonds – so that’s what we ordered. I’m not a huge fan of almonds, but compared to some of the other choices, it seemed like the safest bet. They were actually pretty good – but way too salty. I found myself wanting to roll them around on a napkin first (which I didn’t really do because it was a nice place and I didn’t want people to look at me weird).

This weekend – we had sort of a crazy few days of eating “out of the ordinary” because we visited my family (Unless you consider eating ice cream cake “ordinary” of course).

At the beginning of our challenge – hubby and I agreed we would have 2 cheat days where you could eat whatever you wanted with no judgement from the other.  I hadn’t cheated until this weekend and I just took both my cheat days in a row and now it’s over with. The weird part? I’m glad that I won’t be cheating any this week – because I actually feel sort of crappy today.

Sort of like a fog is in my brain, and despite having more sleep than usual (like 8.5 hours) – I woke up groggy and tired. And I’m still tired now even after a cup of coffee. *sigh*

I felt sort of like that yesterday when I woke up as well. My husband and I kept saying – why are we tired? We both slept a decent amount! It wasn’t until this morning  we realized we were feeling the impact of eating “off plan.” After all, I had bread last night! We went out for our city’s restaurant week where a bunch of nice places offer a 3 course meal for $30/person. So it’s a good chance to try a new place, or a place that you wouldn’t normally be able to afford. It was DELICIOUS, but I did order for my first course this Crab Pimento Cheese dip and it came with pita chips. Of course, they also brought bread to our table and since I was cheating – I had a slice. It was weird – it tasted super sweet to me.

So – that was my cheat yesterday. The day before we had 2 slices of oreo cookie ice cream cake (it was my nephew’s birthday and NO the 2 slices were not in a row!). And I guess I’m paying the price today. Weird how just a few weeks can really change your body, your senses, and create a lot of awareness about how your body is impacted by certain ingredients. It’s like I’m having this new awareness ABOUT my new level of awareness and it’s sort of cool. Things are starting to come together – the pieces of the puzzle (if you will) are starting to form a picture.

I’m learning to listen to my body. And while that may not always be enough to get me to actually make the BEST decision – it’s way better than I was before! And I know that there is something to this when my husband actually says this morning: “Have you noticed me snoring at night lately? I know I snored last night because my throat hurts.” And I realized – he hasn’t been snoring as much since we started this whole thing – almost like he could breathe better while avoiding the wheat products. And last night – he had wheat and work up with a sore throat from snoring. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

I guess sometimes we don’t even realize we are harming our bodies, or are suffering unnecessarily until you actually change something and realize you feel better without it. Despite feeling a little foggy today – this new understanding about my body and how different food impacts it has never been clearer. Best thing of all: I’m totally looking forward to all my wheat free meals this week because I know they will help me feel more focused at work, more energetic during the day/during my workouts and help me to avoid senseless snacking on bad for me foods.

It’s almost like magic – except it’s real. Real Food, who would have thought?

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Weekend Review: A hike, a few stings and some other things.

It feels good to say I have officially completed my Summer Push Challenge. 90 Day, 6 workouts a day and then add at least 12 more workouts (to count for my weekly TurboKick class i teach) and you have the minimum of workouts I accomplished over the last 12 weeks. That’s right, about 84 workouts! Mega proud? Absolutely!

In order to “celebrate” my accomplishment, I only thought it fitting to do something active as a way to say “YAY me!” We went for a hike at a near-by trail where my husband often rides his bike or trail runs. Because of the never ending rain and thunderstorms this past week, we didn’t want to risk driving somewhere semi far away with both dogs in tow only to find that it was too muddy to hike. The trail wasn’t too bad, even though the humidity made it feel like we were swimming through warm water the whole way. We only did about 3 miles (our dogs aren’t ready for much more than that – I know, shame on us!).

It felt good to just be doing something good for us as a way to celebrate an accomplishment. So often, my celebration would be food related or going and having a drink somewhere fancy. But this way way better, and I think we are going to try and make it a weekly event with the pups. It’s good for them, healthy for us – and gives us a chance to be outdoors and together. Win, win, win, right?

Unfortunately, I was attacked by some bees on our hike – so as my co-worker so eloquently put it today – “You look like someone socked you in the face, what happened?” So, apparently it’s pretty noticeable to someone other than me. But it feels like my jaw has a growth on it and it’s sore to touch. The little suckers also got me on my side – so that is super pleasant as well. As if I don’t have a constant case of the “itchy- scratchies” (NEOpets, anyone? No? Just me, I guess) due to allergies and skin issues anyway – these stings are like icing on a not-allowed in the first place cake.

Apparently, my husband “did not believe me” that there were bees swarming around me as he was trying to clear a tree from the trail. It went something like this:

Me: “Ahhh! There’s a bee!” (dancing around trying to wave a bee away from my face piece)
Him: “I don’t see any bees” (as he continues to move a giant tree from the trail)
Me: “Ahhhhh – there are MORE bees! Go!!!”
Him: “I really don’t think there are any bees.  I don’t see them.”
Me: “They are on me, they are on Peach (me swatting them away from my dog and myself trying to run)”
Me: “Too late! Too late! They got me!” (grabbing my face and side and running away).

I guess he believed me then.

He is always excited about something! Treat! Frisbee! Water! Bedtime! Really.


Other than a brilliant reminder that bee stings really freaking hurt, the hike went well. I only slid in the mud a few times, and we got a laugh out of watching how different our dogs are. Yoshi, our big brown lab, could hardly be restrained from jumping into the creek whenever we crossed. Muddy pathway? No problem – he plowed through. We even had to go a different way once because it was a small ledge over a creek and we were SURE he would jump in and take us all with him.

Doesn’t she look so regal?

On the other hand – we have (princess) Peach (a lab/pit/boxer/whoknowswhat mix) who did everything she could to walk around any watery areas, and pranced across the bridges avoiding that filthy creek water as quickly as she could. She is seriously ridiculous. The last week I’ve been trying to catch her when she “goes to do her  business” because she is so prissy she won’t go and pee (or poop) in the yard when it’s wet and muddy. So where does she go? On our cement porch area. FAIL!

Anyway – the dogs had a good time, and other than the bee attack, I did, too. And now my hubby feels really bad that he didn’t believe me about the bees. And there is a certain satisfaction to being right, no matter the cost, right? 🙂

I did a self assessment test today during lunch at the gym for my “new workout program” I am starting. I’ll have full details on that tomorrow for anyone who is interested. It’s cool because for about 99% of this program – you can do it at home, outside, or in your gym with basically no equipment.

Currently Reading..


I’m also still reading more about the Paleo/Primal lifestyle and I’m currently soaking up information from Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint. He has an EXCELLENT website with tons of great articles on nutrition and exercise called:

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View from the Hill

A little scenery along the way…


I had a great weekend visiting my friend in DC. We did basically the opposite of any sightseeing. The picture you see here was literally taken from the car window as we were driving back from a lunch place down on H street.

I have been to DC a few times before, and we did some of the touristy stuff during that trip – and once was enough for me. So many people!

Instead, we spent the weekend checking out some local bars and restaurants, watching “Once Upon a Time” via Hulu Plus, and waiting for a server to notice us at the restaurant across the street during the 3 times we went there this weekend. It was awesome (well, not the terrible service, but the low key weekend in general!).

Mainly, I just relaxed. It was nice to get away for a weekend and not have chores or any major responsibilities. No schedule and really nothing to keep me from doing whatever/whenever with the exception of my 2 workouts that had to happen during the 3 days I was there.

I realized a few things while I was there:

1) Eating no wheat and therefore very little carbs and drinking wine during happy hour = not good. I was literally in bed by 9pm on Friday night. WINNER! Right?

2) Bringing your water bottle with you on a trip is the best idea ever. I stayed totally hydrated (with the exception of our happy hour bar hopping afternoon). I will be doing this for my next trip for sure.

3) Avoiding grains/wheat wasn’t really that bad, even while eating out over the weekend. I had things like steak and eggs for breakfast, a gluten free turkey meatloaf and broccoli for lunch. The only place that gave me a bit of trouble was a bar – but I just ordered a hamburger and removed the bun. I felt like a lot of places offered potatoes as the side option – so I probably indulged in potatoes a bit more than I should. But – these are a “in moderation” food, so I’ll just lay off them this week.

I drank wine instead of beer (even though they had some wheat beer that I would have loved to try), I woke up and exercised in my friends living room while her cats hid from me in total fear.

When I stepped on the scale this morning so I could assess the damage of “vacation weekend,” my jaw dropped when I didn’t gain any weight. Wow.

So I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for not letting vacation totally derail me from my healthy habits as it normally does. I’m hopeful to see another loss on the scale on Friday (my formal “write it down” weigh in day).

I’m a little tired at work today. My flight was delayed last night several times – and I didn’t end up being home until about 10pm.

In other exciting news – this is WEEK 12 of my Summer Push Series. So I’m embarking on my LAST week of the TurboFire 12 week program. I can’t hardly believe it. The time has flown. It really makes me think about the difference between just DOING something versus thinking about doing something. I’m so glad I made the choice to do my summer challenge…and it led me to yet another challenge in the midst of it. So exciting!

I am excited to share with you my final report over the weekend as I take my 90 day photos and measurements. I know that i FEEL way better, and that is a major takeaway.

I guess it’s time to start thinking about…what next for my work outs?



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Weekend Review: The Wheat Wean

Well – somehow it’s Monday again. Today I’m checking in from a brand new location – my office is under construction so we got moved to a newer (and much sleeker) building on campus.  So while I don’t miss the mildew smell of my old office, it’s weird being totally by myself in this new office. Welcome to my July,  I guess! After a bit of a rocky start this morning, I’m feeling more “tuned in.”

Weekend Review

So this weekend was a success, I believe. I finished the book Wheat Belly in record time. Some of it was a little dry (no pun intended), but I found Part 3 of the book to be more hands on and helpful in terms of a game plan for moving more towards a wheat free lifestyle. And I was wondering if I had just read part 3 of the book, would I have been as inclined to jump toward this radical change? Reading the first two parts of the book where you get a really in depth look at the scientific changes modern day wheat has gone through, and studies of how it impacts your body and brain – it really made me want to just start making some changes immediately.

The Wheat Wean

Shocking, but it seems very true!

This week starts a wean away from wheat week. I am not sure how I’ll react as some people say they go through major withdrawal symptoms. But this weekend, I ate basically wheat free and I was super surprised at how little food I needed to feel full.  For breakfast both days I did an egg based scramble – with veggies, fresh herbs and some meat (shrimp once, turkey sausage the next). And I seriously was full well past my normal span of time from when I eat my wheat based breakfast option.

On both days – I didnt’ really eat a real lunch. I snacked on things like nuts, string cheese and olives. Carrots & hummus. And I was good to go. I even worked out twice on Sunday (my TurboFire work and then I went to the Y with my neighbors as one of them teaches Pilates there – so we went to check it out).  I’m completely weirded out by it already – how can this sort of stuff fill me up?

I will say that I completely overheated on Saturday – I went to see a movie (Magic Mike – stop judging me!) and it was like the theatre didn’t have the AC on – and I was SOOOOOOO freaking hot. And while I wasn’t hungry going into the movie – I was really hungry by the time I got home. But the hubby was over at a neighbors house, and then it was decided that we would bring our dinner over to their house and grill out together…and as soon as I ate I felt absolutely terrible. I had to get home quick because I thought I was going to be sick. I never was – but I had the worst stomach pains ever. YUCK!

It passed once I fell asleep, and I’m still not sure what happened or what I ate that set me off.  Probably just a combo of being hungry & overheated.

Wheat Free Recipes

I got really excited about finding yummy wheat-free recipes this weekend as well. Fortunately, Wheat Belly had some great recipes – so I picked out a few of those to try this week. I took my time at the grocery store – inspecting the ingredients list of all the items – and I’m proud to say the only “processed” thing I bought this week was some chex mix for the hubby.

Normally, the hubs does our cooking, but he went on this 30 mile mountain bike ride yesterday out of town and ended up taking way longer than expected. So I had to cook all our meals. I’m not going to brag until I taste lunch today and tomorrow – but I was pretty freaking impressed with myself. (UPDATE: Just heated up my Pecan Encrusted Chicken with Bacon Brussell Sprouts and I’m officially bragging – recipe to come!).

New Things I did this Weekend:

  • I ground pecans in our food processor (okay, so I may have had to watch 2 youtube videos on how to work a food processor).
  • I learned how to prep & cook brussell sprouts
  • I went to the Y & did a Pilates class for the first time in like 5 years
  • I made a healthy and non processed Cinnamon Cashew Popcorn snack & it turned out great!
  • I actually made a “breaded” chicken breast starting with raw chicken – cut it and trimmed it, pounded it out flat and used my ground pecan mix to bread it.

Wow – I’m like a beast in the kitchen these days. My hubby was UBER impressed with me. Now – I’m just waiting on him to tell me how he liked the Pecan Chicken today & then I’ll know for sure that I’m an awesome chef.

I’ll post some recipes later this week so if you want to give it a go – you can. Even if you aren’t opposed to eating wheat – these recipes were still delicious!

Next week will be the beginning of my 30 day Food Challenge. If anyone wants to go along with me – feel free to write me on FB, leave a comment – etc and tell me about your plans! More on this as the week continues! You can make your 30 days be about whatever you want – it just has to be a 30 day commitment to change your diet up in some way!

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Weekend Mashup

Okay – it’s been a few days. During the summer we work half day Friday’s and every other Friday I have this huge project that has to be finished before I head out, so I didn’t get my normal lunch break time to catch up on blogs, write a post, etc. So I’ll do my typical “Results Friday” and “Weekend Review” all in one today and then hopefully I’ll be back on track!

So…I finished up my EIGHTH week on TURBOfire this weekend. Sort of hard to believe. I took my 60 day check in pictures over the weekend, and as I was examining them closely last night – I could see some changes in the shape of my body from Day 1 to Day 60. I haven’t seen a huge decrease in pounds this month. I know I had a few out of control weekends with my birthday and a few other celebrations this month – so my goal for month 3 is to really focus in on the food part of my life in addition to keeping up my workouts. I’m going to count my weight/measurements from this Friday’s results because I’m continually reminded of how I’m an idiot and scheduled my results weeks during the week that most women experience intense fluctuation in their weight. Oh the fun! BUT, on Friday i was only 1 pound heavier than my lowest weight so far on the program…so I think that is good news for my “official results” this week.

Today’s YAY moment: Today my chiropractor told me I was shrinking. So that made me feel like I’m still on track with people around me noticing changes. I also saw a friend I hadn’t seen in several months over the weekend and she commented on my “changes” as well. So double yay!

The Weekend

Seriously yummy.

As for my weekend – I was planning on some pool time with some friends on Friday, but it didn’t work out (as in, I was in my bathing suit already but it didn’t work out) so I decided to pretend my yard was a pool and I sat on my deck, put on sunscreen and read a book. I also fixed myself a White Trash Sangria (my new easy fav) and turned on some music. It wasn’t QUITE the same, but it was a nice relaxing afternoon. When hubs got home, we went for dinner to our favorite Mexican Restaurant – Taqueria Mexico. It’s seriously delicious, cheap, and the staff there are so friendly. We have gone enough times that when we arrive the waitresses know what I want to drink. Fortunately for our waistlines, we don’t go anywhere close to as often as we used to go – it’s definitely your splurge meal, but so worth it. I will probably do a more legit/full review of this place soon if you want to know more. But it’s totally worth a check out if you are a local!

We came back home and enjoyed a drink on the deck, but I was really good and just had a glass of white wine (as opposed to a whole bottle!). The hubs works on Saturdays so I got up and made the workout happen (last one of the week – woot woot!) and went to a baby baptism for a friend. I had never been to one before, so that was an interesting experience. Of course we had a reception afterward, so I had some homemade lasagna and a piece of cake. Double bad! But I had only had a granola bar for breakfast and I did my workout already – so it could have been worse I suppose.

I decided to do our grocery shopping on Saturday solo so that we could fast forward through cooking our meals for the week as we wanted Sunday to be our fun day. This week’s meals include:

Summer Squash Lasagna (Tried it today, will post about it later this week if you want to make it!)
Easy Sandwich + lite Caesar Salad
Shrimp & Black Bean Salad (haven’t tried it yet, I will let you know!)
Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Rice & Squash

So I think the menu sounds pretty appetizing this week. We had neighbors over for an impromptu cook-out – and had a blast. I can’t say this enough – I love my neighbors. They’ve turned into a little bit of extended family and I really love knowing that if I needed something or just needed a friend I could go knock on their door and be welcomed.

Sunday was the MOST fun though. We went to the Light Rail Restaurant for breakfast with our neighbors before we headed out to Carowinds (local themepark) for the day. Again, if you are local, you should check it out. It looks and sounds like a weird place – but breakfast all day long and it’s simple, cheap, and yummy.  Afterwards we headed out to the park (we got season passes this year and I want to go 4-5 times to really get monies worth) where we spent most the day at the water park and had a blast. I always forget how much I love water slides – they just make you feel like a kid again. We went on a couple of roller coasters and my throat still sort of hurts today from the amount of screaming AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS I did on the Intimidator. Seriously – even if you just watch the first 30 seconds of this video you will see why I almost died this weekend. The drop was UNBELIEVABLE.

I had a great weekend, and finally got my day off from working out yesterday. Back on track today and looking forward to starting MONTH THREE of my summer push series. What’s on your agenda for the week?




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