Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Oh Ever Neglected Blog, How You Ebb and Flow

Sometimes I basically forget that this thing exists, but then old posts pop up on my Facebook memories and I remember how much I love looking back.  I still have a few Italy posts to do... yikes lol.  I feel like I should probably condense them, but there's just so many photos.  I can't even think about all the Hawaii pics yet!

I cannot believe 2017 is just around the corner.  I'm honestly pretty done with 2016, the last few months have been rough.  October was filled with family grief when we lost both my dad's brother Dennis and his mother Valerie within a month's time.  Still can't believe they are both gone.

Then at the beginning of November, Dave came down on his ankle wrong playing football with some of my coworkers which resulted in him fracturing his fibula head and tearing multiple ligaments in his leg including the one that holds your tibia and fibula together.  He had surgery a week later to insert some screws to hold his bones in place.  He's officially allowed to start putting weight on it tomorrow and should be able to lose his crutches completely very soon (Merry Christmas to him... and me!), but he will have a second surgery in 6 weeks to remove the screws and he'll still be in a boot for another 3 months.  So far he's healing well, but it's a slow process and it has been quite an adjustment.

And if all that wasn't enough, November 8th was a nightmare that keeps getting scarier every day.  Enough said.

I'm really looking forward to that fresh start feel of a new year.  But things haven't been all bad!

I've been making it to the gym pretty consistently and the past week has been awesome.  On Friday we retested a benchmark workout called Fran (21-15-9 thrusters and pull ups).  When we did it last October I was coming back from PT and some serious carb loading in Italy.  I felt weak and nervous and did it in 8:16 with only 45# on the bar.  This year I was excited, because I knew no matter what I was PRing since I was doing it Rx with 65#.  I felt strong during the workout and the thrusters went really well.  I did most of my pull ups 2 at a time.  I finished in 7:29 and was on top of the world!

Yes, that's my "top of the world" face.  And no, that's not my boob.

Tuesday night I had another great night at the gym.  We retested our unbroken wall ball max.  Last year I had a goal of doing 20 and I made it to 30, but admitted that I could've probably done more.  This year my goal was 40 and I ended up doing 43!  I was really proud of myself.  Then we built to a heavy double back squat and I did 200#!  That's only 5 lbs under the max I hit at the CF Total, so my coach told me my max is probably even higher.  The WOD was an 8 minute AMRAP of 10 double unders, 3 chest to bar pull ups, 20 dubs, 6 C2B, 30, 9... and so on.  I crushed the chest to bar pull ups and my dubs were great too!  I got through the round of 50 dubs and finished 8 of the pull ups for 188 reps total.  Thinking back to the CF Open in February & March, I know I've grown so much.  I got my first C2B ever during 16.1 and now they aren't even a question.  And I did 16.2 twice (twice ugh!), just trying to get through the 50 double unders, tripping up every 2 or 3 reps and now I can fly through them.  I love seeing measurable progress and I left the gym feeling so amazing!

And last but not least, the gym has been running a 32 calorie challenge on the assault bike.  It sounded horrible from everyone that tried it and I'm still not really sure how I was convinced, but tonight I stopped by just to complete the challenge and my coach couldn't have been more excited.

Coach Erin trying to get everyone on the assault bike.

I had never even sat on the thing before, but as soon as I warmed up on it a little I knew it was going to burn my thighs.  I had zero expectations, I literally just wanted to finish.  I started strong, but soon enough the fatigue was taking over.  I was about half way when I seriously thought about quitting.  I think I might have if Wes wasn't standing next to me repeating "you got this" over and over and over.  I had 10 calories left and it seemed like my legs weren't really working anymore.  I felt like I was going slow as molasses.  But one by one, the calories ticked away.  At 1:55 I felt the sweet relief of flopping off the bike onto the floor.  And then I felt the worst pain that CrossFit has ever delivered.  My quads felt like they were stuck in a horrible cramp.  I tried different positions, but nothing gave me any relief.  I was rolling around, writhing in pain wondering if my legs would feel normal again.  Finally, about 10 minutes later I peeled myself off the floor.  And guess what... turns out I beat all the other girls, including my coach (who is a beast)!  I still can't believe it!

Well Christmas is only days away.  I'm looking forward to homemade pierogies, lots of family time, and a music filled Christmas Eve service.  I hope you enjoy every moment and have a lovely holiday!

Merry Christmas <3

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The CrossFit Total & Halloween

Well this post is a little over a whole week late, but I had the workouts all typed up and obviously I need to share our Halloween costumes, so let's just pretend that I posted this a week ago ;)

M - Rest day

T - 0.6 mi walk + CrossFit
  • Weightlifting: Shoulder Press (5 at 40%, 5 at 50%, 5 at 60%) - I did 35#, 45#, and 50#.  It's a deload week since we're doing the CrossFit Total on Friday.  These lifts felt good, but I had a little wrist pain on my heaviest set.
  • Metcon: For Time
    • 100 Double Unders
    • 50 Deadlifts (185/125)
    • 25 Chest to Bar Pull Ups
    • (15 Min Cap)
I killed it on the dubs!  It took me just over 2 minutes to complete 100 (with stopping to tie my stupid shoe in the middle) and they felt great.  I was feeling worried about the volume of deadlifts, so I went with 105# and they were fine.  The chest to bar pull ups were grueling to rep out one at a time, but soon enough, at 10:02, I was done.
  • After Party: Tabata (4 minutes, 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest)
    • Odds: Handstand Hold
    • Evens: Hollow Body Rock
W - CrossFit (6 am!)
  • Weightlifting: Snatch (EMOM 9: 3 reps) - I lifted 65 lbs and tried to focus on my form.
  • Metcon: On minute 10 begin... 8 Rounds For Time:
    • 4 Burpees
    • 6 Kettlebell Swings (53/35)
    • 8 Wall Balls (20/14)
Knowing the Total is coming up and I had been at the gym 12 hours beforehand, I opted to keep the workout light with the 26# kettlebell and a 10# medicine ball.  The kettlebell swings were crazy light and I used that as my rest period.  I remember when I didn't think I could swing the 35# and now it feels normal!  Throwing the med ball was a lot easier without those extra 4 lbs, but the squats still got me going.  I finished in 9:55!
T - Rest day

F - 0.6 mi walk + CrossFit
  • Weightlifting: The CrossFit Total
    • Back Squat (1 Rep Max)
    • Shoulder Press (1 Rep Max)
    • Deadlift (1 Rep Max)
My only goal for the Total was to hit a 200 lbs back squat!  I hadn't done a lot of pressing through the cycle and I avoid heavy deadlifts most of the time, but I've been doing plenty of squatting and last time I tried 200 I got stuck in the bottom.  For the Total you get 3 official attempts at each lift.  The first attempt is supposed to be something you can hit for 3 reps.  My squats felt great warming up and I opened with 191# (all my weights are odd because the women's bar is 33 lbs, so I added two 1 lb plates to get to an interval of 5... but then realized halfway through the Total that the clips I use are 0.5 lbs each).  Next I went for 201# and it felt great.  I finished with 206# and it was pretty hard, but I got it!
I think the shoulder press was everyone's least favorite.  As my coach says, it's not a sexy lift.  It gets heavy really quickly and you either have it, or you don't.  My previous PR was  85# (which honestly might have been only 83, I don't remember), so I was hoping to beat that, but I really didn't have high expectations.  I did 81# as a warm up and it felt pretty hard, so I did it again as my first attempt.  Next I did 86# and honestly wasn't sure I was going to hit it.  I got it up for a sad 1# PR.  I tried 91# but got stuck halfway and it wasn't happening.  Maybe I'll try for 88 next time lol.
I had zero expectations for my deadlift.  My only goal was not to hurt myself and feel like a cripple all weekend.  I figured I'd warm up slowly and see how I felt and stop as soon as it felt risky.  I was pretty excited when I easily picked up 211#, since my last recorded PR was 205# (which was years ago).  My first recorded attempt was at 221# and it felt challenging but really good.  I put 10 more lbs on the bar for my second attempt, but as soon as I started lifting it, I decided it wasn't a good idea and I immediately dropped it.  I think I could've lifted it and I don't even think I necessarily felt pain, it just didn't feel right, so I said no thank you!  I pulled 5 lbs off the bar and did 226# for my final attempt.  I was SO excited to be able to pull some heavy deadlifts without hurting myself.  My back felt completely fine the next day!  I had scheduled a precautionary trip to the chiropractor Saturday morning just in case I was in a bad place, but instead I got an "icing on the cake" adjustment and my body felt great!
My total lifted weight was 518#, heck yes.
S - Rest day

S - Lots of dancing and walking at a Halloween party, my phone counted over 9,000 steps between midnight and when I went to bed!

The weekend was awesome.  Friday night started with CF and then Dave and I went to grab a bite at our favorite local bar, McKenzies.  Apparently we haven't been there in a while (and we were going pretty regularly last football season) because the bartenders asked us where we've been lol.  I got a delicious roasted beet salad for dinner.

Saturday we got up and headed to my parents' house for the day.  I cooked a turkey with my mom, Dave helped his dad install a new oil tank, and we watched the Penn State game, go Lions!

Saturday night was our big Halloween party!  I've always been pretty into putting Halloween costumes together and Dave is usually just happy he doesn't have to come up with anything.  He's been pretty tolerant of all the ridiculous things I've come up with and the make up that has gone along with them.

So this year I was really excited when I figured out what we were going to be and he was on board!

We're Sharknado if you don't get it lol.  A lot of people (my mom!) kept asking me why I was forcing Dave to wear such a ridiculous costume, but it turned out that Left Shark was the hit of the party on Saturday!  A little before 11 pm, we arrived at the Battleship NJ for an epic party called PEX.  Michelle and Alex have been trying to get us to attend a PEX event for a while, but it never worked out and I'm so glad we finally went and convinced our friend Kraemer to come too.  There were fire spinners, multiple dance floors with awesome DJs, aerial performers, a brass band with a drum line, and you could explore the inside of the battleship too.  The weather was seriously perfect and we had a blast.  We met tons of people with amazing costumes, broke into random songs with strangers, danced our asses off, and could not stop laughing at Dave's hilarious moves in the huge costume.

Since the event ran till 4 am, we all got about 2 hours of sleep (or less) and Sunday was rough.  We hung around Alex and Michelle's place in the city most of the day watching football and eating cheesesteaks until we finally collected ourselves, rode the train to Lansdale and picked up the dogs from my parents'.  By the time we actually got home, it was 9 pm and our power was out, so I just headed straight to bed.

Monday was Halloween Round 3!  Shayna and Kyle had organized a Halloween scavenger hunt through Phoenixville and served some yummy food at their place beforehand.  I probably didn't need to do any more drinking on Monday night after I was still feeling pretty awful, but YOLO.  I was pretty proud of my crafting... and the fact that my costume actually survived 3 different parties.

The scavenger hunt was a riot.  Phoenixville was pretty beat, but we brought the party ourselves.  Our team won the hunt and Dave and I won best costume!  Another awesome Halloween in the books :)

Did you do anything fun for Halloween?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sore Legs, Saying Goodbye, & Celebrating 1

I think I'm done naming these posts "Weekly Workouts + Blah Blah Blah" because they're really all I'm posting these days aside from some random Whole30 posts and vacation recaps.

M - 0.7 mi walk + CrossFit
  • Weightlifting: Back Squat (5 x 2) - I did 135, 155, 170, 180, 190.  The 2 at 180 felt great, the 2 at 190 were a little bit of a struggle but I know I'm going to hit that 200 soon.  We have the CrossFit Total programmed for next Friday (max deadlift, back squat, and shoulder press) and I'm hoping to hit it then!
  • Metcon: Time - Every 3 Minutes x 5
    • 200m Run
    • 15 Wall Balls (20/14)
My goal was to get under 2 minutes (and not get last place for the day) and I did it!  My first two rounds were 1:38 and my last three rounds I finished in 1:49, talk about consistent.  I really focused on pacing myself so I could last through all 5 rounds and I think I did a great job.  My runs was super consistent aside from my last run, which was the fastest and really helped me to not blow my time on that last round.
  • After Party: Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM) for 5, 20 Sit Ups - These were hard and I was very aware of my lower back during them.  I ended up skimping on a few rounds and finished 75 out of 100.
T - 0.7 mi walk
W - CrossFit (at 6 am!)
  • Metcon: AMRAP - Rounds and Reps
    • EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute)
    • Min 1-8: 3 Deadlifts at ~70-80% of 3 Rep Max
    • Min 9-?: Death by Bar Facing Burpees
My back hasn't been feeling super great since vacation so I went super light with my deadlifts.  I haven't tested my max in years, but I know it's over 200 lbs so I should've been lifting at least 140#.  I stuck with 105# and focused on my form and working on putting the bar down in between sets (I typically just drop it from the top to avoid any additional stress on my back, but I know I have to actually put it down for the Total).  The real fun started when the burpees began!  Death by means you do 1 burpee the first minute, 2 burpees the second minute, and so on until you don't finish the prescribed amount within the minute.  I was trying to work on improving my efficiency in the early rounds, but by the end I was just exhausted.  I finished round 10 and got 9 in the 11th round.
Th - Rest day, actually does scrubbing baseboards count?

F - 0.7 mi walk + CrossFit (another 6 am class!)
  • Hero WOD Holleyman (Modified)
    • U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Aaron N. Holleyman, 27, of Glasgow, Montana, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was killed on August 30, 2004, when his military vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Khutayiah, Iraq. He is survived by his daughters Shelby and Erin, son Zachary, parents Ross and Glenda, and siblings Kelly and Daniel.
    • 30 Rounds for Time
    • 5 Wall Balls (20/14)
    • 3 Hand Release Push Ups
    • 1 Power Clean (175/125)
The actual prescribed workout has handstand push ups instead of hand release and the power clean weights are 225/155, but my coach made our modified version the Rx and the actual prescribed version the Rx+.  125# is only 20 lbs under my max clean, so although I probably could've done it, 30 rounds is A LOT. I went with 110# which ended up being perfect, it was challenging throughout but my coach said all of my lifts looked consistent.  I enjoyed the rep scheme, the small number of each movement at a time was nice.
Somehow around round 10, I got it in my head that there were only 20 rounds.  I was like Yeah! Halfway! and then I looked at the clock and I was like no, that doesn't make any sense and realized I was really only 1/3 of the way done.  Fun times.  Did I mention 30 rounds is A LOT?  Towards the end my legs started to feel sore, hamstrings, quads, and glutes (keep growing please lol).
My original goal was to get under 40 minutes.  Once I started and saw my pace, I wanted to beat 35 minutes so I was pumped when I finished at 33:19!
S - Rest day

S - Rest day

My weekend was a busy one that started with getting our carpets cleaned as an early Christmas gift from my in laws.  They look amazing!

We spent our Friday evening at the gym celebrating our coaches birthday, cheering on people doing the grueling workout, and stuffing our face with lots of treats and Chipotle catering.

Saturday was a long day that started with saying goodbye to my Grammy.  The service was really nice and my dad's eulogy was perfect.  But the whole thing was sort of weird because throughout the mass I kept feeling déjà vu from my uncle Dennis's memorial a month and a half ago.  Same place, same priest, same singer, some of the same songs.  It was odd and made it extra sad.  Hopefully my family won't be coming together in this manner for a long time.

The day continued with a trip into Philly. We headed to Michelle and Alex's apartment to finish up our Halloween costumes before heading to our friend Sarah's party.  I can't believe I didn't take any photos all night but I promise to get some good shots next weekend.  Can you find me and Dave and guess what we are?

Photo from Taylor, thank you!

On Sunday I headed to church and then made my way to a beautiful park for Leah's son's 1st birthday party.  It was a little breezy but the weather was perfect otherwise and it was great to catch up with a bunch of friends and their super cute kiddos.  Happy Birthday Reese!

Life is hard when you're 1!

Thanks for the pic Jen!

Sunday concluded with more catching up with friends, cooking my lunch for for the next two days, and watching two episodes of Westworld.

Is anybody else watching HBO's new creepy drama?!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fish Taco Lettuce Wraps + 5 More Easy Whole30 Dinners

Take me back, wahhhhhhhh.

September is long gone and our amazing trip to Hawaii has been over for 3 weeks.  I'm still dreaming of the pristine beaches and turquoise water... and endless sushi, loaded kalua pork fries, and pina coladas.  It's really no surprise that when vacation ended, I was unable to flip the switch back to sensible eating.  So after consuming 4 slices of pizza during a lunch meeting at work, I decided that it was time!

Tis the season for weekends full of Halloween parties and Thanksgiving feasts, so I honestly couldn't find any time to do a Whole30 (21, 14, 10... anything).  But because I believe something is always better than nothing, I am doing a Whole5!  It sounded kind of dumb when I first thought of it, but I'm excited for a quick kick in the pants!  I'm hoping to debloat a little and get back in a healthy eating frame of mind.

I'm really excited about my menu for the week, it's full of delicious favorites!  I didn't realize until afterwards that it was full of ground meat, but I like all the recipes so much I didn't want to change any and it will allow me to buy organic without spending a fortune.


  • Fish Taco Lettuce Wraps with Cilantro Lime Slaw and Pineapple Salsa (recipe below!)

Apparently I've never felt compelled to take a photo of these meatballs.  Although they are delicious, they look pretty unattractive.  Maroon sun dried tomatoes + green basil = brown pile on top of your meatballs lol.  Don't judge the pesto goodness by its gross appearance!




And now, time for a new recipe!

Because ain't nobody got time fo making their own Paleo tortillas or breading and frying fish.  Like most of my recipes, this one is pretty loose.  I generally don't measure things while I'm cooking and to be honest, I don't really think you can mess this one up!  Just remember to taste things as you go and don't start with a heavy hand, you can always add more later.

- 1 lb of cod filet (or tilapia, mahi mahi, whatever you like)
- Lime juice
- Salt & pepper
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Chipotle powder
- Cumin
- Cayenne

Cilantro Lime Slaw:
- Thinly sliced cabbage (shortcut: use a bag of coleslaw mix)
- Thinly sliced carrot
- Lime juice
- Chopped cilantro
- Salt & pepper

Homemade Pineapple Salsa:
- Diced pineapple
- Diced tomato
- Diced onion
- Minced jalapeno (optional)
- Lime juice
- Chopped cilantro
- Salt & pepper

- Romaine, iceberg, or butter lettuce for wraps
- Avocado
- Hot sauce (optional)

1. Cover fish with a splash of EVOO and squirt of lime juice and then sprinkle a generous portion of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chipotle powder, cumin, and cayenne on both sides.
2. Place in the oven at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes (or until fish begins to easily flake with a fork).
3. In a bowl, combine all slaw ingredients and place in the fridge.
4. In a bowl, combine all salsa ingredients and place in the fridge.
5. Prep lettuce wraps & slice avocado.
6. Pile all ingredients in lettuce wraps and prepare for a delicious messy feast!

Anybody interested in joining me for 5 days of clean eating?  It's only 5 days!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Our Trip to Italy Part 6: A Rainy Day at the Colosseum

Ok, I know it's been over a year since our trip.  And I know you would probably rather see pictures from Hawaii.  But I have to finish these!  There only a few left, I promise!

Catching up?

We started our day off with breakfast at a lovely cafe down the street, which was included in our hotel stay.  We sat in the window and enjoyed cappuccinos with ham and cheese sandwiches and pastries.

Our first activity of the day was the Baths of Caracalla.  It would've been a 3 mile walk from our hotel and we knew we had plenty of walking to do later, so we decided to save our legs and take a cab.  The weather was looking pretty iffy and the baths were almost empty while we were there.  It was pretty cool to picture how grand it must have been back in the day, but I think we would've gotten more out of this with a tour guide.

Our next stop was Palatine Hill, the Forum, and the Colosseum.  Our tour started soon after we arrived and we headed into the ruins.  Our tour guide was awesome and super knowledgeable.  It was raining on and off during our entire tour, but it wasn't too bad.

Afterwards we headed into the Colosseum.  We had booked the underground tour that was supposed to take us down below the floor, but due to the rain they were not allowing anyone to go there.  It was kind of a bummer and some people in our tour were pissed about it, but you can't control the weather and the tour group gave us a small refund.  Our tour did include exclusive access to the arena floor and the third tier as well.

The Colosseum was awesome!  I was truly in awe of the scale of such a project built so long ago.  Our tour guide told us that the large gladiator games were only held about once a month because they were so expensive and that everything was free to the public, fresh water, large feasts, and epic entertainment.  She told us that they brought in animals from all over the world and after they were killed in the arena they would distribute the meat to the people for them to cook right then and there.  They would basically have a big tailgating party around the outside.  She also told us this lead to a few fires in the Colosseum, but because the building was designed so well not one person died while evacuating.

Being on the arena floor was really cool.  They rebuilt a portion of it to give you an idea of what it would've looked like.

Next stop, second tier.

When we got up to the third tier, the sky completely opened up on us, it was pouring and super windy!  The timing was kind of hilarious.  But the views were worth getting wet for!

After we finished up, we had planned to check out a few more things like an open air market and the Pantheon, but we were soaked (mostly Dave, Mr. I Don't Need an Umbrella), starving, and over it.  We trekked back the 2 miles to our hotel and decided to grab some lunch at the super cute place directly next to our hotel, Mimi e Coco.

Dave ran up and changed into a fresh pair of clothes, but I was feeling ok.  After our iffy dinner the night before, I was feeling like I needed some veggies in my life and kinda sick of wine (in Italy, I know... the horror).  I ordered a yummy vodka drink and we split a tuna salad and a veggie pizza that seriously hit the spot!

We were having a really nice time people watching and hanging out.  I was probably on my second drink, but I wouldn't really say that I was drunk when I went to push my chair back a little and instead knocked our entire table over, putting the majority of Dave's wine all down his front!  I was fairly mortified, but the table was pretty wobbly and the waitress came out and said I was not the first person to do it.  She splashed some water on the ground and brought us new drinks and Dave went up to our room to change his clothes, again!

Eventually we headed up to our room to shower and relax.  We drank a bunch of wine and lounged and then eventually enjoyed some prosecco in the courtyard before we headed off to dinner.

Earlier in the day we told Traiano about our little dinner experience, so he insisted that we go enjoy a less "traditional" dinner at one of his favorite places.  He told us that he was friends with the owner, but not because he was friends with someone who owned a restaurant, but because he had gone there so much that he became friends with the owner.

Our dinner at Cybo was one of the highlights of our entire trip!  When we arrived they were still prepping our table, so we sat down at the bar where we were treated with complimentary champagne.

A few minutes later we were seated at our table right in the front window.  The bar had an extensive cocktail list and my coconut mojito was one of the best drinks I've ever had.

Dave started with cheese filled pasta with bacon and I went with the shrimp risotto.  Both dishes melted in your mouth.

Next Dave ordered a medley of seafood and I got the salmon.  Everything was just perfect.

Our meal concluded with the best tiramisu I've ever tasted with a coffee ganache.

It was such a wonderful meal, quite the redemption from the night before!

To be continued...

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